Posts for December, 2019


An apology and an update

Posted Friday 6th Dec, 2019

I must start with an apology to readers who have subscribed to get email updates from the whiteacorn site. Over the last few weeks I have been doing some updates to the site in preparation for future adventures and the process of testing those updates has resulted in some junk posts being released into the world and clutering up your email inbox. I am sorry for that sloppiness

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Waiting (Ushuaia, Argentina)

Journal entry for Tuesday 17th Dec, 2019 (day 5, miles 0)

If we were mountaineers preparing for a major climb we would say that this has been an extended, and somewhat relaxed, approach march as we left Seattle almost a week ago and yet we only join our cruise boat tomorrow. This slow travel to Ushuaia is partly a realization a few months back that our bodies no longer handle long days and nights of flying without the need for a rest, and partly a result of airline pricing policy. We are going to spend 3+ weeks in Lima after this cruise and we did not want to string together a number of one-way airline tickets. Hence we settled for a SEATC-Lima return followed by a Lima-Ushuaia return. Thus we took the opportunity to break our southward journey for a few days in Lima and catch up with our son and his wife; who you might recall from previous posts live in the seaside suburb of Miraflores. We spent a couple of pleasant warm days there staying at Hotel Antigua a nice boutique hotel a few blocks from the Miraflores escapement.

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Departure (Aboard the Greg Mortimer, Southern Ocean)

Journal entry for Wednesday 18th Dec, 2019 (day 8, miles 0)

It is finally boarding day, though not without some twists and turns. Check out of the hotel at 11:00am, wait around for a "city tour" starting at 13:00 and finally at 16:00 we are at the port boarding our ship the Greg Mortimer, and getting the first look at our cabin and the other ship board facilities.

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Briefings (Aboard The Greg Mortimer, Southern Ocean)

Journal entry for Thursday 19th Dec, 2019 (day 9, miles 0)

Our first full day aboard the vessel was given over to all kinds of briefings, including an intro to IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) and their rules regarding the expected behaviour of tourists like us while ashore and afloat in the Antarctic Region.

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First Landfall (Aitcho Barrientos Is, South Shetland Islands)

Journal entry for Friday 20th Dec, 2019 (day 10, miles 0)

This afternoon was really quite exciting, our first opportunity to go ashore and start filling our SD Cards with photos of the local wildlife. The location is a place called Aitcho Barrientos, Island which is part of the South Shetland Islands. It seems that the first word in the Islands name started out as an acronym HO, for hyrological observatory.

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First steps on The Antarctic Continent (Cierva Cove, Antarctica)

Journal entry for Saturday 21st Dec, 2019 (day 11, miles 0)

Mid morning our vessel anchored in Cierva Cove within sight of the Argentine Antarctic Base called Primavera (the last photo in the first group below). The cove is surrounded by glaciated mountains and the cove itself was crowded with floating ice of various sizes. We spent a couple of hours touring around the bay in Zodiacs getting a firsthand look at all that ice.

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Useful Island (Useful Island, Antarctica)

Journal entry for Sunday 22nd Dec, 2019 (day 12, miles 0)

The first excursion of the day was a landing on the strangley named Useful Island. Our guides speculated that the name was derived from the fact that the summit of this island provided whalers of a previous era a good vantage point from which to watch for whales. On shore we saw a number of nesting colonies of Gentoo Penguins, though we could smell them long before we could see them. As you will notice from the photos, the penguins nest on rock outcroppings. Their nests are made of small stones which they collect one by one. All of this to keep the eggs dry. The pink coloration on those rock outcroppings is penguin dung or guano.

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Farthest South (Lemaire Channel, Antarctica)

Journal entry for Monday 23rd Dec, 2019 (day 13, miles 0)

Today was a big day as the last excursion of the day was to be at the expeditions Farthest Point South. It was also a big day because it started earlier than usual with a ship wide wakeup call at 6:00 am that encouraged us all to "get outside and watch our passage through the Lemaire Channel".

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A Post Office (Neko Harbor, Antarctica)

Journal entry for Tuesday 24th Dec, 2019 (day 14, miles 0)

This morning we made a landing at Neko Harbor a small beach in Andvord Bay on the west side of the Antarctic Continent. The harbor is named after a Scottish Whaling ship which operated in the area between 1911 and 1924. We landed on the small beach south of a huge glacier, observed the Gentoo penguin colonies that occupy the small number of rock out croppings, and walked up a large snow slope on the southern side of the harbor. For the more adventurous of the guests this snow slope offered the opportinty to do a bit of bum-sliding down the steep face of the snow ridge. Nina, my guardian angle reminded me that this activity was probably not for me as I am still only 6 weeks into recovery from neck surgery.

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Christmas Day (Enterprise Island, Antarctica)

Journal entry for Wednesday 25th Dec, 2019 (day 15, miles 0)

Christmas day offered no rest from the excitement of cruising amongst the ice and animals in our trusty little Zodiacs. This time the location was Foyn Harbor, Enterprise Island which in addition to providing a great display of ice and animals is the last home of the Norwegian Whale Factory ship the Governoren which caught fire after spending an entire summer harvesting whale oil. In response to the fire the Captain ran the burning ship aground thereby saving all of the 85 crew but loosing the entire summers harvest.

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