First of many thousand of penguins (Kassi Miller)
The day began auspiciously, spirits high, previously wobbly legs now bolstered with sea legs. Breakfast was just that: the breaking of an almost 12 hour fast upon the sturdy One Ocean Navigator: eggs and toast, bacon and sausage: things that make sea legs stronger. Then a quick realization: today is the day we drop zodiacs and meet the land we have all traveled long and far to kneel upon, counts penguins upon, ski upon, kayak near, gesticulate upon, pray upon and… A landing on the continent! After breakfast, we're off the ship and cruising through Mikkelsen Harbor. Gentoo and Macaroni Penguins are everywhere - thousands upon thousands. And most of them are interested in breeding. Gangs of Cape Petrels fly overhead while Weddell Seals keep their eyes on the penguins. Antarctic Terns perch on the ice and keep their distance. We are intruders, but we don't care right now. We go slow and respectfully and let the wildlife come to us. After lunch, we take a zodiac cruise through Graham Passage where I take some of the most beautiful photographs of my life. Even with the cheapest camera amongst the group, the majesty of Antarctica shines through. One of the most exciting and awaited sights of the Antarctic Peninsula is the sight of the white souls of the ice, the Snow Petrel. We were extremely lucky to see them today while cruising the Graham Passage flying along the brash ice and against the glacier face. The passengers tell stories of their experiences after dinner in the lounge, toasting to the luck of perfect weather.
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