In 2007 I had the unbelievable professional opportunity to do a 21-day cruise to the Antarctic Peninsular, South Georgia and The Falkland Islands before heading north to Buenos Aires with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ expedition ship HANSEATIC. The desire to return has been growing over the years, and although there’s no firm plan yet I have decided to define my focus: Yes, I will return to Antarctica, and it will be with Véronique.
Not many words in this blogpost. It’s all about the pictures. Enjoy!
My 2007 cruise started in Ushuaia and ended in Buenos Aires.
Sailing the infamous Drake Passage. Lucky us, it was the Drake Lake, not the Drake Shake.
Our first Zodiac landing on Half Moon Island.
I still remember my happiness and my surprise. “So, this is Antarctica?”
The weather can change quickly.
Paradise Harbor, Danco Coast, with the Argentinean base ” Estación Científica Almirante Brown”.
My “first” penguin on this cruise is a cute Chinstrap on Half Moon Island.
One of my most exotic places to have a drink: the Errera Channel.
Close encounters with a whale.
Chasing Ice: observing glacier calving from a Zodiac is breathtaking.
The HANSEATIC at anchor near Neko Island
Landing on Petermann Island
Wildlife and wild life
Ship photoshoot in the Lemaire Channel (known as the “Kodak Gap” because of it is simply picture perfect.
Bad weather for cruise director and Zodiac driver.
Deception Island: the name finds its origin in the volcanic origin of the island where the beach is black and the water warm.
Long time ago Deception Island was a home for the whaling and fur sealing industry. The factory ruins are a sinister testimony of the sad massacres.
Chinstrap penguins in a snowstorm. Aitcho Island
Elephant Island in photogenic bad weather.
Sailing along the South Orkney Islands. Bad weather but beautiful icebergs.
A wrecked whaling ship, Grytviken, South Georgia.
Grytviken’s church and rusted whaling installations
Expedition leader David Fletcher and Captain Ulf Wolter paying tribute to Sir Ernest Shackleton, the proper way: everybody has to drink from the bottle of Rum while standing around Shackleton’s grave.
Too rough for a landing on Salisbury Plain. But what a landscape!
King penguins are enjoying a swim as if it was the French Riviera.
Fortuna Bay. Yes, penguins are not shy and very curious
Sea Elephant, Gold Bay
Sea Elephants are huge and make a lot of noise
A most impressive King Penguin rookery, as big as a football field. Gold Harbour, South Georgia.
The march of the penguins. (by coincidence the flag was just behind).
Young elephant seals
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands. How British can it get?
Hiking on the Falklands.
The Falkland Islands are full of wildlife too
This amazing cruise I did with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. More information via this link: HANSEATIC
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have a second expedition cruise ship, the BREMEN.
Other possibilities are:
The FRAM is the expedition vessel from Norwegian Hurtigruten.
French company Ponant has three (soon four) luxury expedition yachts specially built for cruises in these remote waters: LE BOREAL, L’AUSTRAL, LE SOLEAL and LE LYRIAL (under construction).
Silversea Cruises has dedicated expedition ships, also very recommended.
Seabourn uses the SEABOURN QUEST which has been equiped with Zodiacs to make landings possible, even if she has not really been built as an expedition vessel.
Dutch company Oceanwide Expeditions has a wonderful array of expedition trips with less luxury, more adventure and going to even more remote places, just as does competitor Quark Expeditions.
When seeing my little overview you might think it is very crowded in Antarctica. I can assure you: it is not. During my 21-day cruise I saw two other ships…
Photos and text: Mike