The day began with Seabourn Quest maneuvering into Maxwell Bay on the south side of King George Island. This cosmopolitan bay is home to shore stations operated by Argentina, Chile, China, Korea, Russia, and Uruguay. Situated above the bay is an airstrip operated by Chile , and it was from here that a guest and her spouse were transported to Punta Arenas in order to receive medical attention. Alongside the Seabourn Quest were a military vessel from Uruguay and a supply ship from Brazil. The Brazilians are in the process of rebuilding their station in the neighboring bay, which was destroyed by fire three years ago.
Once the patient was safely in the air, Seabourn Quest set sail and headed down Bransfield Strait and into the northern reaches of Gerlache Strait. Instead of landing at Neko Harbor, we enjoyed a beautiful day of sightseeing. The weather was fine with light winds and thin clouds masking portions of a blue sky. We passed Deception Island to port, partially hidden in its own cloudbank, and saw several humpback whales while transiting Bransfield Strait. We rounded the prominent head of Trinity Island (1693-m, 3691-feet) as the Bransfield narrowed into the Gerlache. Soon after, we were treated with a spectacular view as the sun dipped behind Brabant Island and cast the last of its light on the icy slopes of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The fading light danced off an increasing number of small icebergs further adding to the enchantment of the evening. We were reluctant to retire to our suites with the sunrise less than four hours away and the promise of another light show, but we needed to be ready for a possible landing further down the Gerlache after tomorrow’s breakfast.
Today was also Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., and many guests celebrated this holiday with a turkey dinner complete “with all the fixin’s.” Indeed it was a day to give thanks for being alive!
~ Dr. Roger Hewitt
Tags: Antarctic Dispatch