The World's Antarctica Journey: Iceberg graveyards and penguin rafts
The day after Christmas found us back in the Gerlache Strait where we anchored off Cuverville Island. One of the Expedition Team members spent three summers here doing research on penguins for her PhD several years ago. We stopped here in 2010 and my fondest memory is the slide down the icy hill.
Today we were in the Zodiac with the geologist and had a 30-minute tour of icebergs which was fascinating. He termed this area as the graveyard for icebergs. They accumulate in this bay with no way out. One of the first things we saw was a large berg beginning to “roll”, which they do with wind and water action. The left side slowly lowered for a few seconds and then righted itself. Pretty sobering had we been closer.
As we wandered on, he told us about the lines on the ice which indicated that part had been in the water and the “scallop” and “wave” patterns on the surface were done while the ice was under water. A huge percentage (sometimes as much as 90%) of the icebergs are submerged.
Today’s directions, when we were dropped at the beach, were to not walk to the left. This is where much of the research was done and the scientists are now trying to determine the effect of humans on the penguins. So, the colonies on the left are being kept segregated from visitors while the ones to the right seem very comfortable with people milling about.
Back to the Ship for the welcome hot chocolate and then lunch in Fredy’s. Afterward I did my daily walk alone.
There was another Zodiac cruise in the afternoon, so off we went for a trip with the Security fellow. The skies were darkening but we were rewarded with a sighting of penguin “rafts” which is when they swim together looking for food.
Further on someone spotted a group of seals lying on a couple of “bergy bits”.
These are the fairly common “crab-eating” seals.
On our way back to the Ship we had a great view of it peeking out from a huge iceberg.