An Antarctic grand Finale – Brown Bluff and Goudier Islands

We sailed overnight through the Bramsfield Strait to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and Brown Bluff. Very appropriately named due to the tall brown volcanic tuff cliffs. With a dusting of fresh snow overnight it looked like a painting. And yes there were penguins. I mostly ignored them and climbed up a steep and loose moraine ridge to get some views of a terminal glacier moraine, the penguins on the volcanic cinder beach, the nearby Weddell sea and what looked like red penguins , being the passengers of the ship on the beach I was up so far.

As we went back for a cruise around in the Zodiacs some of those still on land went for a swim seeing they had a nice beach there. unFortunately I missed out on that polar plunge.

Next and last stop Goudier Island, which was going to be the last stop on my Antarctic Adventure. It was getting colder with ice forming on the decks. I spent some time up there as there were reports of whales. I did see a tail fluke and a couple of dorsal fins of in the distance. We got in the Zodiacs and headed over to the Island and the landing was around a corner of a small headland in a bay about 5 or 6 meters wide between various size rocks. A few chunks of ice the size of large eskis or coolers had to be pushed out of the way with larger chunks and a couple of small bergs, one with a Leopard seal on it, were floating about also. A close eye was kept on these to make sure we could still get off the beach.

Once again there were penguins. Lots of penguins. The last estimate was about 27000 or so. Chinstraps, Gentoos and Adelie all together. The sound, smell and sights was almost overwhelming in a good and fascinating way. Then it was back onboard the Zodiacs through the ice for a final trip around the area and back to the ship. Around the back of a small iceberg we came across a Leopard Seal dispatching the rest of a penguin. Amazing David Attenborough like vision of it tearing the penguin apart by grabbing a piece in its powerful jaws and flicking his head and the penguin vigorously. Amazing to see and almost impossible to photograph due to the speed and only being a few meters from the Zodiac.

In the distance a whale was spotted so we motored towards the area. On the way there we could see the tail flukes pop up so it had dived. This happened a couple of times. Then suddenly one popped up right in front of us, then another one. They took a couple of breaths and then dived showing us their flukes on the way down. We motored towards another area and unexpectedly were surrounded by whales with 2 or 3 either side of us. I was standing at the time in order to be able to get better photos and videos when 2 more whales surfaced only a few meters in front of the Zodiac and dived heading straight towards us. At that stage I thought I had better sit down just in case we got bumped, but all good.

What a day. What a day!

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