Even at dinner we sensed we had arrived in a beautiful place; this was the serene Wilhelmina Bay. It soon became evident the Captain was taking the ship for a scenic navigation around the Bay. This is an important breeding ground for cetaceans such as Humpback and Minke whales and we hoped to see some. After this morning’s wonderful encounter with the curious Minke Whale, I wanted to see what treats we might have in store this evening. We had spotted a Minke whale during dinner, but I wanted more – of course.
We are now settled into a smooth cruise around Wilhelmina Bay and the wonders are clear – no whales. I did see one frantic penguin on an ice sheet trying to run to the other side in fear of us maybe. But the spectacle was the sun on the landscape. Not to believed. Never to be forgotten. You can gather some idea from this video, and this video and this video.
Then the Captain had an idea and broadcast it. He wanted to see how the ship would go pushing a path through solid sea ice towards land – a little way. The ship made some considerable progress and at 9.30 at night – with lots of light for ages to come – the activity continued. Madness. Fabulous.
Now I see there has been a landing party on the ice – flags are in hand and they may be deciding whether to let us all off. The tenacity with which the Captain and the Expedition Leader try to find new experiences for us is second to none. Passion and devotion. I can only sing the praises of Ponant. For virtually everything.
Ahh the enterprise. The ideas. The action. A table has been set up on the thick sea ice and a drinks waiter is emptying Champagne into dozens of flutes that have been laid out row upon row. We, the passengers, are being called out onto the ice systematically in our colour groups. Brilliant. Fantastic. Marvellous. Everyone freshly showered, dry, warm and clean are donning the barely dirties and damp leggings, thermals, jackets, beanies, gloves and neck protection and plunging out into a ‘balmy’ summer evening in the Antarctic – where the wind is the softest breeze at 4km/hr, and the water is silky and almost still. Inspired. Well done Ponant! Tomorrow night we will have left Antarctica and be on route to Argentina, so this is a perfect ‘night cap’ for the whole trip.
Superb end to the day.