We finally set foot on the Antarctica continent.
Getting onto the land isn’t often an option as most of the shoreline are ice and rock cliffs. The landing was made more exciting by the fact that we had been prevented from an excursion that morning in Dorian Bay, on the other side of the Gerlache Straight. The winds had unexpected blown up to over 80 knots, and our morning excursion was cancelled. 80+ knots is a lot of wind, right on the break between a Category 1 and a Category 2 hurricane. This storm arrived rather suddenly, and it was preceded and followed by calm conditions. It was an example of the volatility of the Antarctic weather.
At Paradise Bay, when we made our landing in the afternoon, there is an occasionally used Argentine station called Almirante Brown. This station had a makeshift set of stairs and gentle slope, allowing us to get off the zodiacs. There’s a gentoo penguin colony at the old station. The kids and I hiked to the top of an overlook to view the bay. Katie went with the kayak crew and paddled around the bay.
From our vantage point in the overlook and from Katie’s vantage point in the water, we all had a tremendous experience landing on Antarctica. We even had the chance to witness a large and loud avalanche on a distant mountain. This wasn’t a glacier calving, a not unusual site, but a full blown avalanche. A huge cloud of snow sliding down a ravine to the water.
It was a great accomplishment to set foot on the continent.