South Shetland Islands, Elephant Island

The day started in the best possible way when I dazed and confused had my morning coffee and tried to wake up noticed that we had company of a pack of killer whales. I should have learned now to always bring my camera but I haven’t and I thought that if I run down to grab it I will miss them, now afterwards I know I had time to get the camera but well well.

The sea is probably filled with Krill here because it was a lot of penguins in the water and of course, the killer whales who were practicing on hunting together. Really, I mean really cool to see and they stayed around the ship during my whole breakfast. Later on we had to stop the engines for a short maintenance job and at that time a minke whale and a dwarf minke whale decided to visit us. Feels almost like it was planned since our service stop but still, it is wild animals and apparently the dwarf minke is really rare to see. This time I had my camera but the pictures only show the reflections of the sun in the water.

We have now passed latitude 60S and are officially in Antarctica. South Orkney Islands had to be canceled because of the pack ice and instead we went to Point Wild, Elephant island. This is a really inhospitable place with just rocks and cliffs, snow, ice and nothing to stop the wind between here and south america. Interesting story though is that it was just here that Shackleton’s men took cover when their ship Endurance sank. Shackleton took a life boat and headed north towards South Georgia to get help while the majority of his men stayed here. It is almost the same trip as we came by but in opposite direction and for us it took 2 days, for Shackleton it took 17 days. He did however succeed and after 4 months his men could be saved from Elephant Island.

Today there is a monument to remember this incredible story on the site, of the captain who actually saved the men but besides that its nothing more than rocks, ice and a whole lot of penguins. To survive here for four months is unbelievable and I think I would maybe handle a week, at most.

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