November 24th - Elephant Island

We arrived at Elephant Island at about breakfast time.

Our first views of the island as we sailed along the southern shore.

There was still quite a wind, so we didn't think the scout party would be reporting back favourably. Some of the passengers are getting tired of being stuck on the ship, but I am not. There is still the novelty of being onboard such a luxurious vessel and there is nothing at all we can do about the weather. As expected, they announced that we couldn't go ashore, which was disappointing, but we could do a Zodiac tour, one group after another.

Waiting, at anchor, for the scouting party to return and let us know if we could go on the Zodiacs.

We, the Rockhoppers, were second to go and we were sure the weather would worsen before it was our turn. We sat with many of the other passengers in the Observation Lounge and had a very early lunch. I ate very little, just in case! The Rockhoppers were called and I went nervously towards the reception area to board the Zodiac. It was still windy with a fairly large swell. We had to dress extra warmly as we would be in the boat for an hour and a quarter. Robin Aiello was our driver and guide and I didn't enjoy the bumpy fast ride towards the shore. We then slowed down close to the island and could see chinstraps and some macaroni penguins. There were many glaciers, some retreating, and we spent some time observing and taking photographs.

The Rockhopper penguins clinging to sides of the rocks. It never ceased to amaze us how they were able to ride the waves on to the rocks without getting injured, or killed.

The ride back to the ship was much smoother and drier, and we managed to disembark after a couple of attempts in the heaving sea. Back on board, we were given hot bouillon to warm us up, as we immediately left Elephant Island to head for Paulet Island.

Our last look at Elephant Island, in glorious sunshine, as we headed for Antarctica!

At the briefing, we were told about the plans for tomorrow, which will be a very full day. We will reach Antarctica proper, going to the Antarctic Sound and Brown Bluff. Robin West told us to go on deck tonight at about 8 or 9 o'clock to see large icebergs, and then at about midnight, as we enter the Sound, we will be starting to sail through ice. We will be up very early (sunrise is 3.09!) as the Rockhoppers are going ashore at 6am, then swapping over with the Chinstraps and doing a Zodiac cruise. We will be back at 9.30 to go to Paulet Island, which is a volcano. We had a good dinner with Jane and Foster and Robin and Eileen McDonald. Later, we passed fabulous icebergs. It was about 11pm, but we had to go straight to sleep to prepare for our early start in the morning.

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