The first iceberg of our Antarctic voyage is in sight! It was spotted at 10:24 a.m. on our third day sailing from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia. It’s a beauty, too; towering, with gorgeous blue depths where waves crash over its submerged ledges. This is a chunk of the massive glaciers that pour off the edges of the Antarctic continent and it has drifted northwest over a thousand miles on the currents.
Early this morning, I was awakened by an loud knock on my door and a shout of, “Whales!” I pulled on some warm layers and hurried to the bridge to join a few folks identifying the blows of humpback whales to starboard. Over about fifteen minutes we counted probably 8 whales including a mother and calf pair.
Then in the far distance, the remote and forbidding Shag Rocks appeared on the horizon. The veteran staff say this was the best weather they’ve ever seen at this spot and the captain circled the islands. Blue-eyed shags (cormorants) flew close overhead on their way to and from their nests on the crags.
Just a few miles after Shag Rocks, we passed what was possibly the first Southern Right Whale this voyage has ever seen. I didn’t see the whale myself but from the photos of the flukes I’m certain it was not a humpback.
We are still excited about the rare whale sighting, and now there’s ice!
I’ve seen small icebergs off tidewater glaciers in Southeast Alaska but this lone berg is far bigger, and it’s not even that big by Antarctic standards.
I’m really in the Southern Ocean now.