From Deception Island we sailed off towards Livingston Island within the South Shetland Islands, and specifically to Half Moon Bay. Seven species of birds breed on this island, so we were hopeful that such activity might be visible when we land.I watched the naturalists land and create pathways through the snow.
A small glacier emptied into the Bay onto thick sheet sea ice to the right of the landing spot.Later when early groups were making their way ashore, a large red-hulled ship came into the Bay. I suspect it was Argentinian come to monitor its outpost on shore (one roof of the building in the photo below displays the Argentinian flag).
I did not go ashore. After days of landings, the process of layering up and being bulky and inflexible has become second nature. That wasn’t my reason. I have a cold and with a sore throat, dry cough (which the asthma inhaler will kill), increased sensitivity to light, related mild headache and general malaise I went to bed. If I get hungry, I will get room service. Anyway, tonight will be the first without alcohol, and that’s how I plan to continue regardless of health. I have enjoyed all the fun I have had, but now my body is suffering. The old message is once again clear – only put in what is good for me. Of course, I realise this cold may have something to do with the incessant cougher in the next cabin – no doubt the air conditioning has spread his germs.
Earlier today I found I had made a true friendly connection when I had a knock on the door and Susan from Oklahoma had brought me sachets of powders that support the immune system. Orange flavoured with B vitamin, and operating something like Berocca tablets. It was very satisfying to be visited and we watched some whales together from my balcony for a bit.
I didn’t have the (mental) energy to take photos of Livingston Island’s rocky mountains and hills as we departed. I lay in bed and watched them as we passed by. They continued to be striking, startling, stunning and sensational. The consistency of the dramatic majesty of each peak, each hill, each shoreline remains undeniable. To some extent I was beginning to see them as all the same – I realised that without familiar frequent knowledge each would be unidentifiable in the future.
I have missed the Recap session this evening. Perhaps if I leave my cabin tomorrow others can fill me in on what I missed. Without doubt I want to hear about their experiences on land in the sparkling sun on pristine snow today.
After 6pm, the crew heaved the anchor at Half Moon Bay and we circled around the ship marked H41 with its deep red hull, before heading for the Nelson Strait and out into the Drake Passage.
The expectation is that we will reach Ushuaia, at the southern tip of Argentina, on Saturday around 2pm – that’s around 18 hours before I thought we were due in. Should we have done and seen more in Antarctica – have we got our money’s worth? Will this mean we can reclaim our passports and go ashore on Saturday, sleep overnight on the ship and then fly back to Buenos Aires on the Sunday? Is this a practical decision to cope with a dead body on board and anticipated paper work? I will never know.
Now at nearly 8pm the sea is an easy 2-3 metre swell. It seems we may be lucky with the seas and the weather as we head north. Currently we are sailing passed a few South Shetland Island islands and a few rocks (I wonder what the scientific definition of island is – when does a rock become an island?). I imagine this will be our last land until we reach the Beagle Channel close to Argentina and see more islands.
I have mixed feelings. I am sad that the good aspects of our daily routine are coming to an end. I am sad that The Great Adventure is virtually over. However, I am desperate to see forever sun. More than that, I am desperate to see green trees, grass and other plant life. The silvers, the greys and the whites have been stunningly beautiful, but I need more colour in my life.