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Julie 's HomeAntarcticaMy first landing on the Antarctic Continent

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My first landing on the Antarctic Continent |

Well day four was greeted by us preparing to make our first landing at Couverville Island. The light here is amazing against the ice and water. Fab sunrises to wake up to at our usual 5.30am starts. So off we got ready with our waterproofs and wellies and life jackets and headed down the gangway into zodiacs which brought us from the ship to the island. What happens on the way, only it starts snowing. The first time this season apparently. It rarely happens here. The snow just lasts for tens of thousands of years as the air is so dry. It takes 10,000 years for one snow flake to travel from the South Pole to the edge of Antarctica. Mad. Also can you believe that Antarctica is the highest continent of all with ice depths in places reaching to 2 or 3 miles in depth. Isn´t that mad! Anyway, here we were with the snow at Couverville Island which has a Gentoo penguin rookery. How about heaven passing though gorgeous icebergs and landing with all these baby chicks that are nearly fully grown and are learning how to swim. Amazing to watch them tease their mothers for food or moving pebbles from a to b with their beaks or even come up at bite your trousers to check you out. They may never have seen a human before so are so so curious and have no fear. We of course would always respect that this is their home and we were visitors there so would never do anything to cause them harm. All boots sanitised before each landing and no plastic or food or extras were allowed on land at anytime. The chicks were developing their adult feathers so some looked so so cute and funny. Thousands of them around us. Lots of other birds on the island too like Skuas who nearly attached Eimear and I at one stage. One very protective mother we think. Scary though....Funny to watch about 5 penguins try to get up on an iceberg but continue to try and try and try. Wow, you could spend hours here just soaking it all in but the fingers and toes do feel the cold after a few hours... An amazing first landing.

In the afternoon after passing through the beautiful narrow strait, the Erera Channel, we made our first continental landing at Neko Harbour. How cool! Let me set the scene, A fjord valley with crystal clear water, a blue sky with great light allowing you to see 40 miles away no bother and surrounded by snow capped peaks while the sun shone. Then to land amongst icebergs all around the beach with a glacier in turquoise colours to climb and plenty of Gentoo penguins to greet us. Heaven. After posing for photos on icebergs in Eimear, Anne and Julie style to commemorate our first Antarctic continental landing, we hiked up the pristine glacier. From the top, the people below looked like dots and the 100m long boat looked like a ship inside one of those ornaments that snows when you shake it with it placed in the most picturesque snow environments. After a few snowball fights and of course the attempt at a snowman we made our way back to the ship reluctantly to recap and memorise all the emotional feelings one gets from a truly amazing day like today.

Locations Visited: None specified.

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