Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica, Antarctica
We got up today for another good breakfast, and probably had our last peaceful night’s sleep before hitting the Drake Passage again. Breakfast has definitely become my favorite meal of the day on the ship. There are always eggs of some sort, fresh fruit, and usually a pancake or french toast thrown in for good measure. That fueled me up for the day that started out with an excursion to Half Moon Island to see a different species of penguins today. We finally got to see some chinstraps.
These are called chinstraps because the top of their head is black, their face is white, and they have a little black line that looks like a chinstrap holding a helmet on. We were told that these penguins have more attitude than the other species, so I was hoping to see penguin fights or something. We didn’t. They were pretty much like the gentoos, just a little different looking. We also got to see a single macaroni penguin who clearly got lost and decided to hang out with the chinstraps for the day. This was definitely the coolest looking penguin we saw. It has these big yellow eyebrows that make it stick out amongst all the other penguins.
We went back to the ship for lunch, and then had a little time to rest before our next excursion. Our last trip to land on Antarctica was to Barrientos Island where we got to see something completely new. We first got to land and saw more gentoos, and chinstrap penguins, but then came a whole new animal for us. We encountered a huge group of elephant seals! There were some baby ones, and some really big ones, all just chilling on the beach and in the snow. There were lots of penguins around in the same area too, so it was cool to see how they interacted. It’s not like the seals were going to eat the penguins, but it looked like they got a little annoyed when the penguins got too close to them. The seals made sure they penguins knew how they felt by burping and farting all the time. They are pretty gross animals actually.
We got back onto the ship for the last time, and could finally leave our boots and wet skins. It was nice to be able to hand those over and not have our room cluttered with big red wet suits. After we all got back on board and could shower and get a bit more comfortable, everyone on the ship went upstairs to have a good bye toast to Antarctica. We all shared some champagne, and some of us tried to drink as much as possible while the bottles were going around. The bartenders didn’t look overly impressed, but we had a good time. We all went out on the deck to have our group picture taken as well, so that’ll be a nice way to remember all the people on this ship, most of whom we never spoke to at all.
We went down for dinner to find that another rowdy group had taken our ten person table over, and we had to move to a different table. We were not impressed, and thought we were going to have to start a fight, but then we realized it was only a table, and we should just sit somewhere else. A bit of an anticlimax, I know. We found a six person table, and realized that we were actually much better suited to that anyway. We have had this small six person group for a while now, but every night we had four randoms sitting at our table. This way we could just enjoy dinner with the six of us and not have to make small talk with whoever got stuck sitting at the end of our table. Jackpot!
After dinner we all headed up to the bar, as usual, and tonight they were putting on a game of Pictionary. It was a very strange game of Pictionary though, because there was almost no drawing at all. They had three different categories, drawing, poetry, and interpretive dance. Almost no one picked the drawing cards, so they were all giving their clues as poems, which ended up just being a clue for the word, but without saying the word. Or they were doing interpretive dance, which is exactly what it sounds like. And they were very funny. Ainsley was on fire in our game, and thanks to her we won it! Our prize was a patch for the ship we are on, but I had already bought one in the gift shop a couple of days ago. That was pointless.
We stayed up at the bar until 1am drinking and having a good time while the ship started rocking as we entered the Drake Passage. Not sure what the next two days are going to be like on the ship, but I’m guessing it’ll be pretty relaxing. Ryan and I are just praying that we get to see some more dishes go flying or people falling over on the ship. That’s hilarious!!