Cape Adare, the Entrance to the Ross Sea
We left the warm temperatures of Australia behind as we continued our journey south past the end of the Balleny Islands and onward towards our first destination of Cape Adare. We saw a few icebergs along the way, but it was otherwise a pretty quiet day, filled with lectures, photo workshops, and food.
The winds had been pretty fierce, which caused our speed to slow a bit, so we didn’t reach Cape Adare until shortly after noon on Sunday. This was supposed to be our first landing on the continent, but that plan was foiled by the ice that was still choking the shore.
However, the first rule of our expeditions is “flexibility is the key.” Even if we couldn’t land, there was nothing stopping us from Zodiac cruising and that is what we did once the little boats were in the water. The weather had improved immensely with blue skies and very little winds and we bobbed around for over an hour, in and out of the ice and watching the antics of some of the 280,000 pairs of Adelie penguins that make this the largest Adelie rookery in the world.
“In 1899, Carsten Bochgrevink and the 10 men of his Southern Cross Expedition spent a miserable winter on the pebbled shores of Ridley Beach at Cape Adare and became the first humans to winter-over on the continent. His base, the first buildings ever constructed in the Antarctic, still stands today as a lonely and redundant outpost of civilization.” The hut and one outbuilding standing on shore have been re-conditioned and all of the furnishings sent to New Zealand for refurbishment. Even though we couldn’t visit, we got a good view both from the Ship and the Zodiac.
It was a great afternoon on the water and we returned to the tradition of coffee and hot chocolate in the Plaza. The chocolate is sinfully rich and the cup doubles as a hand warmer. We thought it warm enough to attempt a walk on Deck 12 so we changed clothes and trudged upstairs. It was pretty nice and the views exquisite. That’s where we were when our departure commenced so there are a couple more pictures of the area.
Our heading was south and the plan was to stop at Cape Roget for more cruising this evening.