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Damoy Point

This morning the schedule was to begin the day with zodiac cruises. Paul and I were one of the first groups to go out to explore the waters around Damoy Point. This ended up being one of the coolest parts of the whole trip. As we cruised around we saw tons of penguins, both on land and swimming in the waters around us. When we got near land we caught a glimpse of a couple crabeater seals lounging out on an iceberg. As we were trying to get a good view of them, all of the sudden a leopard seal started swimming around our boat and the other zodiacs near us. It would dive under and then pop it's head up to check us out. At one point it swam right under our boat, giving us a great view of it through the crystal clear water. It was surreal to see one of these creatures in real life when you are used to just thinking that's one of those animals that you only see on nature documentaries. Shortly after that experience, our time was up and we drove back to the ship, spotting more swimming penguins along the way. While we were out cruising around, the expedition team had begun setting up a landing. Since we didn't have a landing the past two days they were dead set on getting us on land today. Although there was no ideal spot for landing, they were able to set one up and remove some of the snow at where we would disembark. Due to the rough terrain, it was difficult for some of the lower mobility passengers to get on land, but the crew did a good job helping everyone and helped prevent injuries. At this landing we wandered around getting some good views of the gentoo penguins wandering about on their penguin highway. We were slated to go on a science boat today too, which departed at a specific time. We were a little bit rushed for time since disembarking at the landing zone took longer than expected, but we still got about half an hour to check out the penguins. Afterward, the science boat came and picked us up at the landing zone since we had one of the crew let them know we were on land and not on the ship. On the science boat we took a couple measurements including the density of phytoplankton taken a couple different ways. The cool part was that the crew member was able to use his underwater drone to see what kind of life we could find under the water. It was pretty cool to be able to explore this regularly inaccessible habitat through the lens of the drone. Later that day there was a science lecture onboard reviewing the video from the drone and examining the water samples we collected. It was nice to be able to get all three activities done today after a couple days of bad conditions preventing most excursions. We wished we could have spent some more time on land, but were grateful for the time we got and the incredible zodiac cruise from the morning.

Our journey had a couple days left, but the rest consisted mostly of traveling back through the drake passage, disembarking in Ushuaia, Argentina, wandering around there for an hour or so, taking a charter flight to Buenos Aires and catching our connecting flight home from there. This was an incredible opportunity for both of us. We got to see a part of the world that many don't get to see in exploring Chile, specifically the lesser inhabited southern parts. And we got to see the part of the world that even a smaller amount of people get to see in traveling through the Drake Passage to Antarctica. I highly recommend anyone who has the opportunity to visit this alien continent to jump at the opportunity.

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