11.30 AM: Lunch is served buffet-style in the dining room, which is right down the hall from our room (score). After lunch, we set off for another landing to see Gentoo penguins on Ardley Island, where there isn’t much (any, actually) snow.
We learn two things from our first experience with penguins:
- They’re just as cute as I’ve always imagined.
- Guano smells like crap, literally. Unfortunately, my backpack continues to carry the scent of guano even when we’re back on the ship.
Additionally, the crew teaches us the proper way to walk in a single-file line when on-shore (I feel like I’m in elementary school again), so as not to disturb/destroy the wildlife.
4.00 PM: The first of many lectures aboard the Ocean Nova. Miguel teaches us about the many different penguins of the Antarctic. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing any emperor or king penguins, as they live way inland, but we’ll still get to see a nice variety of smaller penguins on our journey.
7.30 PM: First dinner on board! Very festive, like lunch, since it’s Christmas Eve.
The ship begins its travel through the Bransfield Straight, which has some… wavy waters, to put it mildly. Noticed during dinner that one by one, people were disappearing to their rooms. Eventually departed after the main course. Note to self: When one of the excursion leaders “suggests” that people take motion sickness medication… it’s probably best to take heed. Thank god we flew to Antarctica instead of crossing the Drake Passage, or the Drake Shake.