February 10, 2006
Antarctic Cruise Day 5
The Plan: View penguins and tour a Chilean research facility in Paradise Harbor.
After steaming all night, we pulled into Paradise Harbor this morning. When we anchored, it was raining, so I thought it would be a bad day, especially since my group was set to go to shore early again. Indeed, when I got onto the zodiac, I got poured on. I thought Antarctica was supposed to be the driest continent in the world.
After I got to the harbor, the weather quickly changed for the better. The sun came out, and the rain finally stopped. The penguins we saw were gentoos once again, but today they were extremely muddy from the rain. Still, they didn't seem to care much as they went about their business waddling around and molting.
Also at the harbor was a Chilean research base. I took a walk through the house that the military personnel spend their winters in, and it didn't look so bad. They had comfy couches, a big TV set, and a large stockpile of food and booze.
Once again, the area was very beautiful, and once again we had to leave too soon. It seemed like it was time to go almost as soon as we got there. This cruise has been so luxurious, yet we've been made to hurry the entire time. Over the last several months, I had gotten used to a simple-yet-thorough style of travel, so it was tough to leave so quickly. I reluctantly boarded the zodiac knowing that it would be the last time I would set foot on antarctic territory.
This afternoon, after leaving Paradise Harbor, I went to the stern of the ship for some whale watching. I only saw a few humpbacks from far away, so it was a little disappointing. I had heard that during previous trips, the whales came a lot closer to the ship. I guess the whales just aren't very active this time of year.
Later in the afternoon, I watched the second half of the Shackleton movie. I was really impressed that he was able to save his entire crew. The sad thing is that half the people on my ship probably think they are like Shackleton because they are going to Antarctica. While he went through more trials and tribulations than most could even imagine, we went to the continent in the utmost luxury.
The photo album for this entry is here.