**Nope. It’s to Christmas again. I’m still posting from my Antarctica Adventure. I’m just doing it day by day, like I wrote it on the OT, so’s not to overwhelm you. Read on.
It’s probably safe to say no one has had a Christmas quite like ours. We woke up bright and early (of course, it’s always bright, whether it’s early or late) in Mikkelsen Harbor. Within minutes, Laura was talking on the radio with the captain and crew of a National Geographic cruise ship. They invited at least Fede and Laura onboard to inspect some of their equipment, and the rest of us took that as an invitation for all of us.
We went up the back stairwells to the bridge and oohed and ahhed over their cool equipment and roomy pilot house. We went down through the dining areas and probably looked a bit like a zoo animal parade. Some of the passengers didn’t quite get it. One asked me why we were down here in a sailboat. “Sailing,” I said. “But why??” she asked. I spoke slowly and told her we were there doing the same thing they were. Visiting Antarctica. She still didn’t seem convinced, but was probably embarrassed to ask a third time. It was a fun pre-breakfast adventure, and I’ll always think of the smell of frying butter in the kitchen whenever I think of Nat Geo from now on. I think they were having Crepes Suzettes.
We hopped back on the Ocean Tramp, and it wasn’t long before our boat smelled like frying butter, too. French Toast a la Miguel. Our French guy didn’t know “french toast” until Laura explained it’s “Pain Perdu.” Lost bread. As in stale bread that finds itself again in a wash of eggs and butter. It smelled way better (and probably tasted way better) than the Crepes Suzette on the Nat Geo ship.
Whale experiment number 3 was a control experiment. We dropped clay into the water, to see if the whales would come to it like they came to the krill a couple of days ago. They turned up their gigantic noses and swam away. So far, the experiments are going great. It’s a really fun part of the adventure, making science happen. We did experiment number 4 in the afternoon, this time another krill spill over the side. It started great, with the humpbacks turning toward the stinkiness, but then they turned away and swam off. We all thought it was a bummer, but Bertrand pointed out that it’s not a negative thing because the experiment isn’t to PROVE whales can smell, but to see if they do. We live to krill another day.
The scenery today was indescribable through the Graham Passage and the Strait of Gerlache. Between the soaring, freeform icebergs all around us and the flatter bergs peppered with seals and penguins, it was Antarctic overload.
The seals lay like giant, adorable sausages on the ice bergs, always with that little smile on their faces, even when they’re sleeping. I just want to squeeze one.
We watched a half-dozen Gentoo penguins run back and forth on the iceberg, trying to work up the courage to leap into the ocean. They didn’t do it, despite shouts of encouragement from us. Of course, as someone pointed out, they were probably shouting at us to take the leap as well. Five of us did (not me!).
Maybe next time. Maybe not. It’ll be a game time decision, but it doesn’t look that awesome to me, especially watching thin Katherine shiver for hours after.
We anchored in Foyn Harbor on Enterprise island. Our idea was to anchor to a partially-sunken whaling ship, the Govenoren. Its cargo of whale oil caught fire back in 1915, and the captain purposely grounded it, to save the crew. When we came around the corner, there were already two sailboats anchored there. After some negotiating in French, they grudgingly agreed to let us squeeze between them. Not a lot of smiling among these crews. They didn’t even respond to our “Merry Christmas’s.” They were probably bummed to see a bunch of Americans, (etc) pulling up. Fun stoppers.
We had little smatterings of Christmas all day long on the boat. Stockings with submarinos in the morning. Submarinos are little chocolate…. submarines that you stir hot milk with to make hot chocolate. II’s a great Argentine tradition, in my opinion.
Christmas on the Ocean Tramp was a festive occasion. Lots of food, wine, a Christmas Around the World Quiz (which my partner, Meryl, and I won) (Luckily, there were a lot of movie questions for me, and she is inexplicably good with world trivia), and presents. Christmas, Antarctica style.