We had been in Antarctica for 4 days now, but we still had not set foot on the actual continent. For fellow checklisters out there, this was an important aspect of the trip, and not one that weather always allows for.
However, we were in luck and had beautiful weather our last day. Finally, we were going to set foot on the continent of Antarctica!
Kevin understood that we were not die-hard kayakers and that we wanted the full experience - by land AND by water. He did a really great job of splitting our excursions so that we had enought time to really explore by kayak, but also to get to experience what everyone else did on shore.
That morning, while everyone else headed off right away for their landing at Almirante Brown Station, we hit the water and had an hour of epic kayaking in Skorntorp Cove of Paradise Harbour (this was the location of my close enounter of the flippered kind).
After kayaking, we headed for shore. As the zodiac pulled up, I stepped out and stepped foot onto my 6th continent! How amazing!
It was a beautiful landing site! We were told that if we could hike fast, we had just enough time to make it to the top of the mountain (hill) and back before it would be time to leave. It would be challenging and slick in the kayaking booties, but we were welcome to try.
Most of the kayakers opted to stay at the bottom and hang out with the locals:
But not being one to turn down an opportunity, I grabbed a set of hiking poles and started the ascent. It was steep, and it was slick, but it wasn't too tough of a climb. I may have had to crawl at a couple of points, but I made it to the top!
This was another one of those places where the photos do not do justice to the amazing views:
I savored the view from the top for a few minutes, and then started making my way back down to the landing site. The way down was a bit more trecherous in the booties, and I may have fallen a few times, but I survived and made it back to the ship in one piece.
Our morning excursion had been so early that it was pre-breakfast, so we had a huge brunch on board before making our next continent landing in the afternoon. Again, the non-kayakers headed straight to shore in Anvord Bay while the kayakers headed out into Neko Harbour.
After communing with the humpback whales for an hour or so, I got to set foot on the continent for my second and final time! Many of the kayakers skipped the landing, but I wanted one last chance to see the penguins and spend some time with Ben.
Anvord Bay was the hilarious scene of toddler penguins chasing their parents, being scolded and then starting all over again.
I did not make it to the top of the hill here (though I'm told it is amazing), and opted to just enjoy the wildlife and amazing views from the top of a smaller hill instead:
Ben and I stayed until the final call to head back to the ship, enjoying every last possible moment of this experience together