Journey to the white continent – Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica
How do you describe an experience which is so unique that you cannot find the right words for it? Since I am still missing the right expression for this extraordinary journey, I will give you below a first small summary of our voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. We spent 18 days with 87 passengers on board of the MV Sea Spirit in antarctic waters.
On the ocean
My mood during the trip resembled the shape of a wave: during the passages on open sea between our different destinations my spirit reached it’s lowest point. Seasickness had me under control. Luckily it wasn’t this bad that I just wanted to die, but during the sea passage from South Georgia to Antarctica I felt so bad that I did not left the bed. Despite the stormy ocean and squalls with Beaufort 11, Manu proved herself as extremely seaworthy and recorded the following clip:
The maximum of the wave, which is the culmination of happiness, were all the other things. The expedition team consisted of fantastic people: Birgit hiked to the North Pole and crossed Greenland. Jonathan did two overwinter survival in Antarctica. Maarten sailed from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and nearly died in a 48 hours continuous storm. Experiences, stories that dumbfounded me! The expedition leader Anja held at 3:00 AM meetings with the captain and started to reschedule our journey according to the constantly changing weather situations. The rest of the crew, from the captain to the waiters, was very hearty, had also interesting stories to tell, and some people turned out to be conjuring entertainers. I think we were seldom during our recent trip around the world surrounded by so many interesting and friendly people.
The Falkland Islands or, as you better say in Argentina, Islas Malvinas
After two days at sea, we arrived at the western tongue of the Falkland Islands. We went ashore at West Point Island and visited Carcass Island. It was fantastic and the landscape seemed so glorious British: green meadows with sheep, blooming broom and the typical brick houses. Despite the familiar scenery we also experienced a first highlight: the black-browed Albatross colony on West Point Island including breeding Rockhopper Penguins … and we right in the middle. Everywhere it clucked and chirped. Albatrosses sailed skillfully over our heads, billed in love and sat on their eggs. All this took place on a cliff, against which the deep blue sea broke. From there hopped and waddled the little penguins in big leaps up the high rocks. What a display of strength. No wonder that the penguins are called Rockhopper. They had their nests between the huge albatrosses and dozily brooded on their eggs.
South Georgia – the penguin paradise
The journey from the Falklands to South Georgia took two more days. As we arrived we were greeted with fog and low clouds. But as we reached the second largest King Penguin colony in the world at Salisbury Plain at noon, we had blue sky and the sun was shining. Hundreds of Fur Seals made a landing with the Zodiacs difficult, but the expedition team mastered the challenge expertly. Once we had solid ground under our feet, we were surrounded by wild animals: sweet Elephant Seal pups with dark googly eyes, aggressive Fur Seals and of course the proud King Penguins. Surprisingly, the coastal region was already free of snow and after a short hike across meadows we reached the edge of the breeding colony of King Penguins: Animals as far as the eye can see (an estimated 60,000 breeding pairs). We simply stopped, watched and listened. Brown fluffy balls of wool ran around in circles between the adult penguins.
Antarctica – radiant white as far as the eye can see
Two days later, after a rough ride on the waves, we reached the Antarctic Peninsula and took shelter from the raging storm in Wilhelmina Bay. Nevertheless, during the crossing we have already seen impressive icebergs and it became suddenly much colder.
The next day brought us storybook like weather in Antartica with a clear blue sky over a white winter wonderland. The MV Sea Spirit anchored, framed by high, icy mountains, in Orne Harbour. We went ashore with the help of the Zodiacs. Snow crunched under our boots as we entered the 7th continent for the very first time. We hiked up a little mountain. From the ridge we could see our bay with the deep blue sea, small and gigantic icebergs, framed by a stunning mountain scenery full of snow. I did not knew that the Antarctic Peninsula had so many and imposing mountains to offer. I was speechless, we really made it to Antarctica. Holding hands, we enjoyed this moment before we went on and followed the ridge to a Chinstrap Penguin colony which breeds 200 m above sea level.
We spent two other incredibly satisfying days between white giants and the blue sea. On one day we were absolutley lucky as we sighted at least 12 Humpback Whales from our rubber dinghy.
Our cruise trip to Antarctica with Poseidon Expedition has made us every day speechless. With open mouths we admired an indescribable wildlife and experienced a beautiful, icy landscape. The expedition team and the rest of the crew of the MV Sea Spirit were the hardworking allies who made this grandiose spectacle to a safe and memorable experience. No nature documentary can convey, in which we dipped for ourselfs with all our senses.