Neko Harbor & Danco Island

“When your heart speaks, take good notes."
~Judith Campbell

Guest & Staff Photographing the Ice
An Antarctica Killer Whale
Up & at them early. The early bird catches the worm. Got a cuppa of green tea in my hand. The scenery is spectacular, passing through the Errera Channel at about 6:30 ish AM. It’s a relatively narrow passage with spectacular scenery, oh yes it is! I had quite the morning already. I got the pissed taken out of me for what I was wearing from the Captain Kruess (however, it reminded me of something Captain Kay would say to me) & had the staff crying laughing up there.  I got to see some WHALES, minks & orcas were the ones I saw.  There was a research vessel in the channel with a zodiac too.  It’s been a great morning.  However, navigating threw ice doesn’t bother me cos it reminds me being back in Tracy or Endicott Arm or Glacier Bay. Or the fact that my cabin is near where the anchor drops too sounds that I just brush off from being at sea so long.
Once out of the channel we will turn around the corner into Andvord Bay & continue toward the head of the fjord.  Along the side of the bay is Neko Harbor.  It’s filled with Gentoo Penguins. The landing is on the mainland of the Antarctic Peninsula. So technically on the continent not an island just after the Drake Passage, like my excursion yesterday. But yes, once again you can say that I have set foot on Antarctic soil. I did find myself hiking up a cliff while on shore in Neko Harbor & had some stunning panoramic views from the top. The penguins were quite playful too.  I can now officially say that I went hiking in Antarctica. After my nice hike, I boarded a Zodiac that the naturalist Doug who was captaining.  It was amazing to be amongst the sea ice where I saw a few species of seals & a mink whale.  It was also nice to get hot chocolate from Henry the hotel manager too.  They even had a Zodiac as a hot chocolate stop for the hour long Zodiac cruise. The icebergs are very big here I can’t believe it. I had a nice morning.
Panoramic Views
It’s nice to go ashore & to see some of the amazing things that this land has to offer. It’s even nice to have a National Geographic Photographer on board too. On this voyage Mark Thiessen is sailing on board. Each intermarry on the Explorer they have one.  It’s great if you ask me.   I have quite enjoyed my time talking to Mark & learning more about the filed.  It’s also nice to get photo tips from a pro too.  I did quite enjoy the photo walk with Mark yesterday. 
I’m not going to be shy when it comes to me being very excited to see the wildlife. Surprising that the penguins have been rather friendly & curious about humans. I’m working on my phobia of birds (I’m a whale lover & sea lions too), but these are rather unique to say the least. They can’t fly.  Oh well, I’m actually enjoying them. I have been laughing over their behavior. It’s like I’m actually in a nature documentary, the wildlife just comes to you. It’s great.  
A Crabeater Seal
During the afternoon the Explorer set sail back into the Errara Channel to a high round island called Danco.  Often expeditions have seen large icebergs in the channel just off of the island.  The icebergs are pretty sweet to watch. Only ten percent of them can you see cos the rest is underwater. The ice picks up every color except for blue.  The blue tint in the ocean is amazing.  It’s very pretty & almost looks tempting enough to go swimming. This afternoon I did enjoy hiking on Danco Island where I went up a rocky steep incline.  I did observe many Gentoo Penguins who were molting.  Ian the naturalist did an excellent lecture on penguins yesterday & was kind enough to explain that the penguins make their nest up in the high part of the cliffs & get their food from the sea. They are very fit for climbing thousand of meters.  Also, it’s very nice to be sailing again with Mike Greenfelder & the legendary Tom Ritchie. Also, from time to time I notice that there are a few repeat guests on board too.  However, there’s a few this time that recognized me, but I had to be reminded of them from a staff member on where that I know them from.  It’s always nice to see people recognizing me from pervious excursions.
Gentoo Penguins
This evening during recap (the staff gets together & makes a presentation on the highlights of the day during cocktail hour in the lounge) Bud the Expedition Leader (EL) invited a couple of researchers on board. They specialize in research for killer whales (or orcas) out in the Antarctica. It’s very interesting to hear about the tagging & tracking research. Also, they do it for minks & humpbacks as well.
I must admit that I’m a wee bit knacker by the hikes that I took today.Well, it’s off to continue south through the Gerlache Strait…uncharted land to me, it’s an expedition for sure… 

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