Adventure2013’s sight-seeing tour continued on Christmas Eve-Eve. We made the short hop across Paradise Bay from our overnight stop with our new Chilean friends to Base Brown, an unoccupied Argentine base. The crew hiked up the hill together for stunning vistas and some excellent photography both of Elinca down below and vice versa.
Given the aesthetics of the base itself, some members of the crew decided that the base must have been named after the colour of paint used for the huts and not their talismanic Admiral.
After lunch we set off under engine south through the Ferguson channel, west across Gerlache straight and then north up the Neumayer channel to our anchorage, in yet another Gentoo penguin colony at Port Lockroy.
In the southern approaches of the Neumayer channel we found the densest ice that we have seen so far. At times, forced to stop to manoeuvre the iceberg past the bow, though often the best tactic was simply to apply some forward pressure to create a path. Judgment of which lumps of ice were ok to drive into and those to avoid was acquired quickly by the two-strong boathook team stationed on the bow. The entire operation was a five-person effort: two prodding ice at the bow; one perched on the boom for a better look-out to identify open ice leads; one on the helm; and one to communicate.
After two hours of careful tip-toeing the passage cleared, though the final approaches to Port Lockroy required yet more twists, turns and close-quarters boat handling to arrive safely. Fortunately with light winds the ice bergs simply rocked gently in the tide. Wind would have made progress yet more difficult, even if the incessant snow just added to the frozen experience.
We are now tucked up in a good anchorage, with four shore lines running around various rocks and boulders. These are chosen not only for their suitability to hold us in place, but also where they won’t upset the resident nesting penguins. Thanks to Dave, the staff skipper on Pelagic for his help and local knowledge.
Yesterday marked a crucial turning point in the trip so far. While, since September 24th our prevailing heading has been in a southerly or south-westerly direction, yesterday we came as far south as this group will go. It is likely that the second Antarctic leg will come further south in January, but from 64 degrees 58 minutes south, we are for the first time in 3 months able to use the other half of the ship’s compass.
Wishing everyone a merry Christmas and hope you enjoy the Elinca Christmas special!
Response to blog comment from Lara’s Mum:
Hi Mum!! Thanks for the Post, lovely to get a comment! Glad you like the blog :-). Merry Christmas, and more importantly Happy Birthday to you too! Miss you lots and looking forward to a hug when I get home! xxxxx
@ Julianna on the blog comments Re Cocktails at Enterprise harbour, from Tim:
Happy Christmas to you, Colin, and your Ma and Pa. I shall miss you all this new year, though the snow and ice will remind me of the last two.
The recommended cocktail list ran:
Chilean Pisco and Argentinean peach ‘tang’
Cape Verde Rum and freshly squeezed orange (we have boxes and boxes on board)
Anything with Brazilian Cacaca
All topped off with Glacier ice