Antarctica - Day 8: Danco Island & Wilhelmina Bay
Today was a relatively uneventful day, if there is such a thing in Antarctica! We woke up to Shane's voice at 6:00 AM as we were nearing our first stop for the day, Danco Island. The island is pretty small, but has a relatively steep incline once you land. I knew that I likely wasn't going to go onto land at this site, and, perfectly content with my accomplishment of going onto the mainland the day prior, I was enjoying exploring the surrounding area from the comforts of the zodiac. The island itself is home to ~1,600 pairs of gentoo penguins and was originally home to a British research station until 1959 when the geological research and surveying that the station was built for was completed.
The main draw of Danco Island is the beautiful glaciers surrounding it. Some of them reminded me of the structure in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The water, once again, was like glass and the clouds gave an almost ominous feel, especially when the cloud coverage really built up. The blue hues from the glaciers were so powerful, the pictures below don't give them justice.
The people on our zodiac were much more into photos than other zodiacs, so we were really able to get some nice family photos.
At one point, we pulled next to another zodiac and this picture was taken. I was quite impressed that the person that took the picture straddled both boats when taking it!
We spent the afternoon on a zodiac cruise of Wilhelmina Bay, which was named after the Queen of the Netherlands from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s.
I had some fun with my camera and took a picture of this raft with the ship in the background with ominous weather all around.
There was not much wildlife to see, but we did find a few seals on icebergs in the same area. Our zodiac driver was able to spend a few minutes with each one and, since our group size was small, we were able to move around and really get some of my favorite pictures of wildlife so far. For the first time, I was also able to take my semi-professional camera out which gave me a fantastic zoom ability.
On the way back to the ship we saw a few whales, but they just stayed there for a bit before going underwater. The eerie weather and icebergs were quite cool!