We have two landings today, Cuverville this morning and Port Lockroy this afternoon.
Cuverville has very large Gentoo penguin colony, and the water between Cuverville and Ronge Islands is also shallow and often traps icebergs. As a result, guests who have opted for kayaking and extended cruising are in for a treat this morning as they negotiate their way around the grounded and floating ice, and are also joined by humpback and minke whales, some almost close enough to touch! Some spot lepoard seals on ice. When you join an extended cruise you need to dress up in an all-in-one warm suit and it takes some effort - but it's worth it!
Those of us who go ashore have three options .... a walk up a fairly slippery slope with the penguins for a great view of the bay ... or take a left at the landing site where there are a couple of Skua chicks (Antarctic and Southern Skua) .... or turn right where you can visit the largest of the penguin colonies. The whole area is abundant with fluffy chicks who are moulting their downy feathers whilst waiting for their parents to come back and feed them. They form a penguin crèche and it is great to watch them get up to all sorts of antics. Some of us see an adult Skua attack a penguin chick and nearly succeed in carrying it off when the penguin parent appears and manages to fight off the Skua in the nick of time!
This afternoon we are in Port Lockroy – also called Base A, on Goudier Island. In 1944 the British set up two bases in the Peninsula, Base A and Base B at Whalers Bay on Deception Island, to establish a permanent presence in Antarctica. Port Lockroy is one of the most visited sites in Antarctica, perhaps not least because it is manned during the Antarctic summer and has a souvenir shop! There is a good selection of gifts, stamps and postcards, and a Post Office where you can post your mail. All proceeds go to the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, a non-profit organisation dedicated to conserving Port Lockroy and other historical sites in Antarctica. Suffice to say the Furlongs Family appear to spend more than adequately!
Photo of Port Lockroy / Shutterstock / Anton Ivanov