Jan 11: Danger and Paulet Islands

Sunrise: 3:05am Sunset:: 10:41pm

This is true Nature land! Like the ice, the weather can be very unpredictable. The gentle roll on the ship during the night was quickly replaced with a "dip and dive" as the winds picked up and the currents became stronger in the morning. What was suppose to be a "nice day for a zodiac cruise" around Danger Island was replaced with a three hour sail farther down the coastline hoping for calmer waters around Paulet Island. It would have been very unsafe to try to zodiac around Danger Island. The wind was pushing the waves higher and higher -- when navigation of the mother ship becomes difficult due to the current, any thought of a zodiac bouncing around in the water was impossible to comprehend. Mother Nature had decided that she did not want intruders on her northern island. Any attempt to defeat her was quickly abandoned. You don't play with Mother Nature!

The morning excursion was replaced by a lecture from the Guest Lecturer on board, Fen Montaigne, the author of "Fraser's Penguins". He is a journalist and had spent time in Antarctica with Bill Fraser, a renown scientist who has been studying the penguins of Antarctica for over 30 years. Montaigne's book chronicles his time spent on the White Continent assisting Fraser in his research as well as absorbing the elements of this area that creates a desire to return.

After "threading the needle" through the many icebergs and ice floats, the ship arrives at Paulet Island and basically "beaches" itself a few yards off shore. Paulet Island is the home of a very large Adelie Penguin rookery. The terrain appears to have a black, white and pink blanket spread out over the beach and up the hillside. At closer look one sees that the blanket is in motion -- even closer look reveals the thousands upon thousands of penguins "tidying up" their homes and preparing for company. The only part ignored is the pink guano that has taken over the rocks. As the zodiacs began to land on shore, the penguins quickly sent out their welcoming committee and general escort to the middle of the rookery. Again we were asked to keep at least 15 feet away from the rookery, especially any nest. Again , however-- the penguins didn't get that memo. It is here also that Carl Larson and his men found themselves after their ship was crushed by the ice in the 1900s. Larson was originally suppose to assist the Swedish geologist, Otto Nordenskjoeldan who had set up camp for the winter. Today it is merely a pile of stones depicting the outline of the structure.

Whether it be strolling among the many penguins or skimming across the water in a zodiac, the sights were beyond words again. The mere vastness of untouched Nature is overwhelming. When looking out over the horizon it looks almost unreal. The blue in the icebergs creates an art gallery show floating across the sea. The penguin's the lack of fear of outsiders encourages a feeling of oneness among the crowd. This landscape is one of Mother Nature's best pieces of artwork. She had really outdone herself here in the Northwest Weddell Sea.

Ice Sightings



Watching for Killer Whales







Thread That Needle


Landing Party

Scouts Mapping Trail

Backup Lookouts

This Way You Red Jackets

Lunch Time

Late Morning Nap

Okay, I'll take a Bath!


Let's Go Swimming

Last One in is a Loser!

Okay -- Time to Go

The Rare Red Variety1


Bud -- Chief Expedition Leader