Photos and commentary from Feldman family vacations.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Port Lockroy, Lemaire Channel & Booth Island

From Antarctica
Sunrise: 0452
Sunset: 2206

Port Lockroy started as a British base in 1944 and operated for eighteen years. The main building was restored in 1996 and operates as a historic reminder of the early days of Antarctic exploration and an official post office. We sent our granddaughter a post card from there so she will have the Antarctica post mark and a picture of a penguin. Mike visited this site but I stayed behind and worked out in the ship’s gym which is fully equipped. I was feeling sluggish from the large meals we get every day. Mike saw some whale bones and Gentoo penguins on nearby Jougla Point.

Then we set sail through picturesque Peltier Channel arriving at the northern end of the Lemaire Channel. We finally anchored at Booth Island. This is a historic location of the famous Charcot Expedition and for Mike and I another OMG moment. Two other couples and one gentleman joined us on the Zodiac ride around the Island. Weather was nice and waters calm. First we saw two Minke whales that swam quite close to our boat. About ten minutes later,  a Leopard Seal appeared at the back of the Zodiac – he surfaced and stared at us. The guide turned the motor on low and this fellow looked to be about thirty feet long, weighing about six hundred pounds (they can weigh up to 900 pounds) - Mike felt like the leopard seal's head looks like a serpent . This leopard seal seemed to be very curious about us. He swam under us and went from side to side – each time lifting his head out of the water – staring at us. The seal swam with us for about eight to ten minutes. Later, I found out that some of the seals have actually taken a bite out of the side of the rubber Zodiac and they measured the bite to be about eighteen inches (between upper and lower canine teeth). No one has ever been hurt but these animals are predators so I moved away from the side of the Zodiac when he was circling. It was a thrilling experience to be that close to a wild animal however. We lived to tell the tale!!


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