Home > Dive Discovery Trip Reports

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp, On board the M/V Plancius
March 3-14 2015 Trip Report

Escorted by: Cindi LaRaia

Page Eight

Day 8 – Tuesday 10th March 2014
Lemaire Channel and Paradise Bay, Antarctica

GPS 08.00 Position: 064°59’S /063°46’W
Weather: Wind: E 4. Sea State: Calm. Weather: Overcast. Temperature: 0°C

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp, On board the M/V Plancius, March 3-14 2015 Trip Report - Page EightThis morning we were woken at 6:45 as we arrived at the entrance to the Lemaire Channel. It was a bit of a grey morning with some snow and some mist around the top of the mountains but it was certainly atmospheric as we made our way back into the Lemaire Channel to begin our cruise around to Paradise Bay. There were some impressive icebergs all along the channel and with a few sleeping Humpback whales lying at the surface there was plenty to see and photograph as we transited the channel.

At 8am breakfast was served and we made our way to the dining room to warm up and enjoy the beautiful views as we ate. From the Lemaire Channel we travelled across the bottom of the Gerlache Striat and into the Ferguson Channel that would lead us into Paradise Bay. We had hoped to see some whales in this are abut no such luck today but the scenery made up for the lack of whales. By 10am we were almost in position just off Almirante Brown where we planned to do a landing before lunch. The base, on this the Antarctic continent is an Argentinean base which is only visited by personnel during the summer months. There were no staff in place at this time and the only residents of the base were Gentoo penguins who had made their nests around the buildings and on the slopes beyond.

It was an easy landing straight onto the concrete walkway and up the steps to where the adult penguins were standing around moulting and the chicks were wandering around looking for mischief and entertainment. They certainly found it when we landed and came ashore and everyone had a good penguin experience as they came for a closer look, ignoring the 5 metre rule completely. From the landing area Wilson and Paul had flagged a safe route up the snow slope and on to the top of the peak which gave great views around the whole of Paradise Bay and the mountains beyond. It got a little crowded on the top but everyone had a chance to sit down and take in the stunning panoramic views. Back down at sea level there was time to walk out to the other buildings that make up the base and have some quiet time with the penguins.

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp, On board the M/V Plancius, March 3-14 2015 Trip Report - Page EightAt 12pm Erin and Ali took a small mountaineering group, along with Markus and Andrew back up towards the Ferguson Channel to drop them off for their afternoon ascent of Mount Banck, a 735 metre peak. The rest of us were all back on board by around 12:30 and, with time for a leisurely lunch and a post lunch snooze Plancius was very quiet until mid‐afternoon at which point the kayakers headed out into Skontorp Cove and the divers went out to the steep wall for their afternoon dive.

Once the kayakers and divers were off the ship we re‐positioned just off Stoney Point ready for our afternoon landing and cruise. The first four boat went ashore on Stoney Point where they were met by Ali and a group of Weddell seals that were hauled out on the snow at the foot of the slope. At this point we put on our snow shoes for the short walk up to the top of the snow field. It was an easy climb and the views from the top were spectacular with a glacier directly ahead of us and the bay area of Paradise Bay behind us. You don’t need to climb high for a good view here in Antarctica and after all the photos had been taken we had some minutes of ‘Antarctic Silence’, listening to the terns gulls and the cracking of the glacier. It was a lovely visit and we still had time for some exploration along the shore line with Gentoo penguins and Weddell seals.

After an hour or so, the cruising and landing groups swapped over and everyone got to enjoy the views from the top of the point and the ice and seals in the bay. Once group enjoyed time with a very friendly Crabeater seal that was jumping on and off an iceberg and generally showing off to the crowd!

Back at the landing site at Stoney Point preparations were underway for the ‘Polar Plunge’, a chilly swim from the shores of the Antarctic continent. There were around 25 willing participants and many more who classed this as a spectator sport only! It was a fantastic and entertaining experience for everyone and there were a few very cold fingers and toes by the end of the afternoon. Everyone was shuttled back to the ship as quickly as possible for a hot shower and hot drink. Well done to everyone that took part in the swim.

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp, On board the M/V Plancius, March 3-14 2015 Trip Report - Page Eight

<<  Previous Page | Next Page  >>