Let it Snow! Let it Snow!! Let it Snow!!!

By November 29, 2006Miscellaneous

The crew woke us up at 7 a.m. to have us observe an interesting formation on the sea: grease ice. As I may have mentioned in a past entry, in Antarctica, ice freezes at -1.8 degrees Celsius. But when its slightly warmer, ice begins to form on the water in small pieces, the effect of which is that the waves appear to flow like molasses. It looks as though there is a thin layer of oil slick on the ice. Hence. the name, grease ice.

This morning, our first zodiac excursion was to George’s Point, at the northern tip of Ronge Island, off the West Coast of Graham Land.

When we arrived at George’s Point it began to snow! Our outing there provided us the opportunity to observe more Chinstrap penguins and their stench was nearly unbearable. As the snow increased, a group of us decided to do what any self-respecting traveller would in the snows of Antarctica: We built a snowman! We also hiked up a small hill for a nice scenic view and then had some fun sledding our way down.

We returned from this excursion and found hot chocolate and brandy waiting for us on the boat and the captain proceeded to sail along through Paradise Harbour. Located behind Lemaire and Byrde Islands, and indenting the west coast of Grahamland between Duthiers and Leniz points, Paradise Harbour was named for the stunning scenery by the early whalers. Proceeding further, we sailed for the first time past a research station and later we were told of another research station, Almirante Brown, that was occupied by the Argentineans. This station was abandoned after a doctor stationed there, realizing he might have to spend a winter in Antarctica, burned it down!

Continuing onward, we made our way to Port Lockroy, one of Antarctica’s most historic locations. During the Second World War, the British Government dispatched a secret mission, code-named Operation Tabarin. Several small bases, including “Base A” at Port Lockroy, were established on the Antarctic Peninsula to report on enemy activities and provide weather reports. Port Lockroy is also unique in that you can mail postcards from this location and
have them stamped from Antarctica. Sure it might take six months to get to your destination, but how many of you can say that you’ve received a post card from Antarctica?

Following this visit, dinner was served and later all of the passengers competed in multiple-choice Antarctic trivia contest with the winner receiving a case of champagne. We lost.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, we do receive U.S. news updates on the boat and were saddened, just as you were, to hear Pamela Lee was filing for divorce.

Tune in tomorrow for an update on our travel adventures including a review of our visit to Deception Island and Half Moon Island.