Antarctica Diary – Saturday, December 2, 2023

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Today is our last full day on board the ship.

8:00 a.m. – I have yet to experience breakfast in The Restaurant so I figured I should do that today.  Of course, I ordered an omelet but I really wanted some pancakes so I ordered some blueberry as well as banana pancakes.  Super delicious!!!  This did not disappoint.

9:15 a.m. – One thing about this cruise itinerary is that they don’t always make it to the same locations due to weather, timing, water and ice conditions, etc.  Today we arrived at President’s Head Snow Island which is a location that they don’t visit too often.  Our weather has been almost perfect so this allowed us to get to this location.  This location is known for Elephant Seals and sure enough, there are quite a few just chilling on the beach.


Elephant Seals

We also find some carcasses of animals that are now meals for various birds as well as we get to see a whale bone.


Whale Bone

11:30 a.m. – I am back on the ship and thought I would join in the trivia fun in the Panoramic Lounge.  I am not a super trivia buff but our team does fairly well.

12:45 p.m. – Lunch time in The Restaurant and enjoy some lamb chops as well as pesto pasta.  I chat with some couples dining nearby and had a great time.

2:00 p.m. – We are approaching a place called Deception Island and it is hard for ships to get in and out of it safely.  It resembles a horseshoe shape and the opening isn’t super wide, plus there is a sunken ship below water that has to be accounted for.  They say that the winds and currents can be so strong that ships can get in and not be able to get back out for days.  It is pretty scenic and lots of people come out to view.  A lot of our travel advisors do as well so we take a group photo.


Signature Travel Advisors


Deception Island


3:15 p.m. We arrive inside of Deception Island and the place where we stop is called Whaler’s Bay.  This was a place in the early 1900’s that they would hunt whales and slaughter them for their oil but left much of the carcasses to waste on the beach & in the water.  Some various governments came in and cleaned up the area, while setting up a small village for this industry.  They have better equipment and storage tanks so that they can process more of the whale for essential purposes.

This island is actually an active volcano though it hasn’t erupted since the early 1970’s.  You can instantly feel how warm it is and see steam coming off the ground.


Steaming Ground at Whaler’s Bay


We get a tour of the area that used to be the village and once the tour is done, we can either head back to the Silver Endeavor or hike up the volcano.  I mistakenly thought that this would be an easy climb because it doesn’t look all that steep and the majority of it doesn’t have any snow on it.  However, this proved to be one of the most grueling climbs we have had yet.  The soil is sandy and rocky so it gives way under your boots, plus we are still wearing out knee-high rubber boots and not hiking shoes.


Rocky climb up the caldera


Add to it that the temperature is much warmer than we have become accustomed to and we are well overdressed.  We are taking off our hats, gloves, parkas, etc. and the extra heat makes it that much tougher.  I finally make it to the top of the Caldera and the views are well worth it.


Amazing view from the top.


5:30 p.m. – I get back to the ship and I am exhausted and sweaty.  Time for a shower and packing before dinner.

6:45 p.m. – Tonight we have a crew parade where they bring the crew out and we get to shower them with applause.  What a fantastic crew!!!  The expedition team was tremendous, the cruise host was amazing, the room staff & butlers are great and the bar staff never disappoints (the quickly learned that I enjoy Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale (Jack & Ginger) and have it ready for me each afternoon and evening in the Panoramic Lounge).  What an amazing team!

They also put on a quick little auction of a couple items to raise money for the crew fund.  This helps buy gear that they need but mainly for them to have parties and such while living on board.  One of the crew members is an artist and paints pictures on the navigational chart.  This sells for an incredible amount of $4,100.  They also auction off a propeller from one of the zodiacs that got stuck in the ice on the first day.  They damaged 3 props that day and this one they had the crew sign it.  This one sells for $1,100. Both pieces are pretty cool items from this journey.


Propeller with crew signatures


8:00 p.m. Dinner in The Restaurant tonight and we go with a seafood theme on the last night at sea.  Crab cakes, mushroom soup, halibut and scallops (these were amazing!!).

10:00 p.m. There is no trivia or games tonight, just live music.  I really have thoroughly enjoyed the music of the guitar and piano each night.  They sing some awesome songs and it’s been a blast hanging out with them.  Tonight, I am joined by my friends Mike and Jenny plus they introduce me to 2 other young couples.  We sit for a couple hours and enjoy lots of laughs, cruise discussions and stories about this trip.  What an awesome end to the cruise!

12:15 a.m. – I had better get to sleep so I can finish packing and get going tomorrow.  

Todd LangenekAntarctica Diary – Saturday, December 2, 2023

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