Jan 5th Saturday
Fish Islands to Tuxen
We woke to a brilliantly clear morning. Today we are going around the Fish Islands on the zodiacs, they are putting the entire zodiac fleet in the water and hope all passengers with join them. Ben was our zodiac driver. His engine’s battery is having problems so a mechanic came with us. There were 10 people on our zodiac. Ben said we would be ice pushing, he’d leave the big ice breaking to the ship. We left in the zodiac about 9:15 and returned to the Ocean Nova about 11:30. They tried to have us all on the same ice float for a photo but only one landing spot seemed stable enough. So after 4 boats left the remaining 3 landed on the ice float. We took group shots as well as family shots with the Adventure Life flag. It was quite warm (40˚F) so Kevin took off his hat, coat and even threatened to take of his rain proof pants. Pam shed her beanie, and under layer. Chris go out of his under liner that he was wearing. After that we went for wildlife. We managed to locate 10 crab eater seals, and a few solitary penguins and then a group of 9 penguins. We watched the penguins jump off the iceberg and swam to the next iceberg. They were great fun to watch. 3 zodiacs were in the area so the penguins would head to the south side and see the next zodiac, then they would head for another side only to see another zodiac, finally they decided they were safe. After that we headed through the denser ice field. Mauricio told all the zodiac drivers to follow him and head back to the ship. Our zodiac was to bring up the rear, which we ended up doing since our motor stopped and they had to manually start the engine. Since we didn’t follow right behind the other 6 zodiacs were had to push ice for ourselves. When the zodiacs go over the ice/icebergs sometimes the ice ends up interfering with the motor’s turning ability. The driver then has to go in reverse or take a paddle to get rid of the ice build-up.
At lunch they announced that the weather was turning so we wouldn’t be landing at Prospect Point for fear that the winds might pick up and move the ice so it might create a wedge around the ship, preventing its movement. They suggested we go to the Promenade Deck to watch the Ocean Nova ice break. The captain just tried a large ice float and go into it about the length of the ship before deciding to back up and go around the massive ice float.
Tuxen is a point on the continent of Antarctica; it is a rocky outcropping that the skua and penguins have manage to make their nest along the ridge. The staff is always happy to make our time special. Tonight they brought champagne over so we could toast to our stepping foot on the continent. We climbed a short hill so see the rookery a little close but it was precarious so only the really brave went to the far outlook point. Because of the nesting penguins all around the area we didn’t stray very far from our landing point.