Overnight we sailed south again and this morning find ourselves landing on the Antarctic Continent at Neko Harbour. Named after a whaling ship which anchored here in the early 1900’s, Neko is nestled at the bottom of scenic Andvord Bay which is surrounded by mountains and glaciers. All kinds of activity is taking place this morning … cruisers head out aboard the PolarCirkel boats, Kayakers start paddling and walkers make the landing and hike up the hill to the penguin rookery. The view from the top is simply magnificent and if you wish you may slide down the hill on your bum! It is quite steep and bumpy but a lot of guests have a go, ending up in a heap at the bottom. Considering the amount of laughter it is a surprise we ever managed to get to our feet again. PolarCirkel Cruisers apparently enjoyed very close encounters with a hump back whale so they return very happy too.
From Andvord Bay we sailed the Neumayer Channel towards Port Lockroy. The Neumayer is one of the most picturesque channels in the whole of the Antarctic Peninsula and the views are tremendous. We arrived at Port Lockroy late afternoon. It is an old British base set up in 1941 during Operation Tabarin. Two bases were established in the Peninsula to keep an eye on enemy shipping and destroy old fuel dumps. Port Lockroy was chosen as an important anchorage and a second base was established at Whalers Bay Deception Island. Port Lockroy was restored in the 1990s by the UK’s Antarctic Heritage Trust and has become one of the most visited sites in Antarctica. During Antarctica’s summer months it operates as a museum, kept much like it was in the 1950s, as well as a post office and souvenir shop with all proceeds going to the trust, a non-profit making organisation dedicated to preserving historical huts in Antarctica.
By chance the Furlongs Travel PolarCirckel landing group is first off this afternoon and naturally we think it is fitting the Brits land first! This also means we are first in the souvenir shop and although well stocked it looks nearly empty by the time we exit. It is going to be a struggle packing for the flight!
Port Lockroy is our last Antarctic landing this voyage and once everyone is back on board we start to sail north. Along the Neumayer Channel we stop to meet a sailing ship and welcome aboard a couple of their crew who are joining us up to Ushuaia. After dinner all the Furlongs family get together in the observation lounge for a drink prior to the FRAM CREW SHOW. The Pilipino staff present a song and dance show that is highly entertaining and well received. There is even a little audience participation!
Shortly after the crew show ends we leave the Antarctic Peninsula and head for the Drake. As we sail across last bay humpback whales cross our path as if to say goodbye. Fantastic!