Sunday, November 27, 2011


I will admit, if you had asked me two days ago when my next trip to Antarctica would be, I would have been hesitant to rush back down here.  But the last 24 hours have completely made up for the past 24 days of bad weather and gray skies!  I finally see now why people come to Antarctica!

It all started when the winds finally died down and we headed into back into the straits along the West Antarctica Peninsula.  Up until 24 hours ago, the colors of the sky ranged from dark gray to light gray.  But the sunset tonight painted the sky and snow-covered mountains in ribbons of red, yellow and purple.  It was amazing.

The beautiful sunset at midnight.

 The shades of pink and purple paint the sky and the mountain tops of Anvers Island.

 Big Melissa, Katie and Joe pose for a picture on the bridge during sunset.

But the beauty didn’t stop there.  During the late spring and summer here at 64°S, while the sun drops below the horizon for a couple hours, the skies never go fully dark.  The sun set around midnight, but the skies still sparkled in the brilliant blues and turquoises of twilight.  Around 2am, the sun began to poke back up over the horizon and filled the sky again with purples, pinks, reds, oranges and yellows.  The colors danced across the sky, the water, the mountains and the icebergs floating next to the boat.

The AMAZING colors of the twilight sky as the sun began to poke back over the horizon.

 As the sun began to rise, the blue and purples switched to reds and oranges.

 A group of porpoising penguins in the distance.

As the sun continued to rise, the scenery became more and more breathtaking.  We continued along the Gerlache Strait into Flanders Bay.  As the boat forged forward through the ice, we encountered penguins sitting out on ice rafts and even a crabeater seal (many more pics to come)!  We took the small boats out into the Bay to do some surveys and enjoyed our most beautiful day of the cruise!

Kari and Allen get the small boats ready for a day of surveys.
All in all, the scenery of today makes up for this cruise of ridiculously bad weather!  It was great to have our last day of science be such a beautiful day.  I now finally understand why people come to Antarctica!

Signing off for now…
Big Melissa

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