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La Maire Channel |

What another great and different day we had today. We passed through the LeMaire Channel last night so as to be ready for an early landing this morning. This was to our first Scientific Research centre. Vernedskey Station is run by the Ukrainians which was an old British base which concentrated on ozone and meteorological work and when they decided to end their time here, they sold it to the Ukrainians for 1 penny as long as they continued the research which they do. This penny is now framed in their pub! The old research house is now a museum. Funny to read old letters typed by the crew, logs of eating roast penguin on Christmas Day and seeing one of those old metal Guinness signs on a shelf all the way over here! Great to have a snoop around. Things left as they were back then. After a fab zodiac tour around what would be called an iceberg graveyard (hundreds of icebergs of all shapes and sizes) and even spotting an iceberg with an arch in the middle of it, we arrived at the current research centre. Got the full tour - radio transmission base to gym (with lots of female posters on the walls as you can imagine) and medical room to the store room. Can you believe that they get one delivery of food a year and the most recent one was made one month ago! Men stay here for a year at a time. They monitor not only the ozone layer but tides, and ocean height, and whether tourists are effecting the Antarctic environment etc. After posting a few postcards we had to visit their bar. Women get a free vodka. Oh, I forgot to mention, only if a bra is donated. Now Eimear did manage to get a vodka and am not saying whether she donated or not..... A great visit.

In the afternoon, we made a landing at the most southern point of our journey. An island (65´ South) which no one from our ship had been on before so lots of excitement around when landing on this island called Ducheyland Island. There were beautiful Adelie penguins moulting (as stressful as breeding for them that they loose the same amount of weight that is lost during 3 months of breeding in 3 weeks of moulting) and of course some Leopard and Fur seals and Skua birds. A great feeling. Then we had another fab zodiac tour which lead to finding an iceberg with a double arch. They completely take your breath away and one can never tire from seeing them. On return to the boat while the sun was setting, surrounded by a few icebergs we were treated to a BBQ on deck with a mulled wine reception to start with. Now that's what I call dining in paradise!

Locations Visited: None specified.

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