Jan 12: Gerlache Straits, Sunrise 3:01am, Sunset 10:40pm

Rock and Roll was the music of the night. Mother Nature was definitely in a dancing mood! She had invited Mr Wind to join her on the dance floor and off they went. Now, the ship is a very sturdy and well balanced ship, but it was no competition to these two elements. As they twirled around the dance floor the ship tossed and turned in an attempt to get out of their way. Unfortunately, the Explorer collided with Mother Nature on a number of occasions. The result of such was a sharp drop of the bow into the water or a liftoff high into the air. Of course, in the countries near Antarctica night life doesn't start until well after 9pm. These two dancers didn't want to break that tradition, so they delayed their whirling derby routine until just about the time everyone was headed to bed. That gentle roll of the last couple of nights that rocked one to sleep was replaced by a rock and roll with full gusto. Sleeping was a challenge in that as soon as one put his head down, the ship would lunge forward and down causing a sense of weightlessness with the body being elevated off the bed! The feeling was a little like riding in an elevator that kept going up and down the shaft in great speed.

Morning brought slightly calmer waters -- Mother Nature is still there but has convince the Wind to go take nap!

Destination: Gerlache Strait and the Danco Island. The wind during the night slowed the ship down, so the schedule of the day had to be adjusted. In actuality, the lack of a sound sleep during the night created an atmosphere of "let's just hang out" among the group. Activities planned for the morning have been pushed back to late afternoon or evening. This allowed the window of opportunity of having a photography lesson from Jim Richardson of National Geographic in the morning after breakfast. Great lecture with helpful hints.

Upon entering the Gerlache Strait a blanket of pure wonderment has come over the group. Both sides of the strait are lined with glaciers pouring down the sides of large rock cliffs. The colors of the sky, water and glaciers are intense. Words can not describe accurately what is here. The pictures do a better job, but even they can not capture it all. Breathtaking, amazing, overwhelming, phenomenal, -- these words don't even scratch the surface of what is surrounding us as we sail down the strait.

With everyone anxious to set foot on the mainland of Antarctica, the ship's route today includes a stop at Neko Harbor on the eastern side of Andvord Bay. It is a small harbor carved out to the sheer ice cliffs that line the coast. Mammoth glaciers as slowly sliding down the land only to "calf" a couple of icebergs creating a maze of ice floating in the water. The area is the home to a small gentoo penguin rookery situated up the ridge away from the water. At one time there use to also be an Argentinean research station, but was destroyed by the weather and then abandoned.

The sight from above was majestic. Once again words fail when trying to describe. For fun a group walked to the very top of the glacier and then sat down, legs extended, and "tobogganed" their way back to the beach!!

Entering Gerlache Straits

Gerlache Straits

Gerlache Straits

"Red Waddler" in Gerlache Straits

Nature at Her Best!

And Again



Nature at it Again

Loving This!!

Neko Harbor

Ice Float


And Another

Beauty All Around

Rough Water Ropes!

Neko Harbor

Neko Harbor from Above

Up the Glacier We Go

Gentoo Penguin Rookery

Paradise Harbor Glacier

A Little Closer