During lunch we travelled about 8 miles south to Charlotte Bay and made a zodiac landing on a pristine snow hill called Portal Point. Once we landed we immediately took to climbing the rise to the top of the hill. Walking in each other's footsteps made hiking a lot easier, as the footfalls were typically about six inches deep, but could drop you in to your thigh if you were unlucky or put your weight down too suddenly. This was actually a lot of fun since, with the exclusion of twisting an ankle or a knee, we could really romp. We were watertight and the weather in the direct sun was a balmy 40°F! Oh yes, we were one with the sunscreen.
Once we got to the top, we were treated to a vista of blues. The blue-white snow gave way to the deep blue seas, smattered with azure bergs spanning the bay to the deep snow-packed shores on the other side, sitting beneath an endless sky that rose from a pale blue to a deep blue field of bright white clouds. But see for yourself:
Rob congratulated us on setting foot on the continent proper (all our landings to that point had been on islands). As it turned out for six of us, Antarctica was our 7th (and last, naturally) continent, which was cause for much celebration and buffoonery, including making ourselves into a human 7 and hoisting a camera high over our heads on my monopod to take the shot.
Giddy at the weather and the sense of relief at actually being here we did what foxes will do in the snow: play!
And then (inevitably) the snow fighting began in earnest.
Truce! Time out for the group photo!
An hour or so later we drifted back to the zodiacs in ones and twos under the seemingly never-ending light. The trudge up the hill made for a much easier slide back down, feeling like kids yelling in the otherwise silent snow field.
Back to the zodiacs, we zipped back to the ship where it was (already?!) time to get ready for dinner.
But if you think the day was over just because we'd gone through a nearly uncharted strait, hit an iceberg, gone nose to nose with a leopard seal, visited some weddell seals, set foot on the 7th continent, climbed to the top of a snowpack and had a snow fight, then you forget that the days down here are 22 hours long, and it wasn't too long after dinner that we went out on another excursion to get up close and personal with a 90-year old shipwreck...
Read the next chapter: Day 2: Shipwreck
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Telling the Story posted Jan 10, 2009
Day 0: Positioning posted Jan 12, 2009
Leaving, on a jet plane posted Jan 12, 2009
Day 1: The Herc posted Jan 15, 2009
Day 1: Penguino posted Jan 16, 2009
Day 2: Chicken posted Jan 17, 2009
Day 2: Leopard posted Jan 19, 2009
» Day 2: Snow Day posted Jan 22, 2009
Day 2: Shipwreck posted Jan 26, 2009
Day 2: Totally Tabular posted Jan 27, 2009
Day 3: Gentoo Cute posted Jan 29, 2009
Day 3: Lichen Shag Glacier posted Feb 3, 2009
Day 3: Palmer Station Visit posted Feb 9, 2009
Day 4: Icy Penguins posted Feb 11, 2009
Day 4: Adelie Awesome posted Feb 15, 2009
Day 4: Leopard Seal Attack posted Feb 17, 2009
Day 4: Kayak posted Feb 19, 2009
Day 4: Vernadsky Station Visit posted Feb 23, 2009
Day 4: Vernadsky Sunset posted Feb 25, 2009
Day 5: Antarctic Circle posted Feb 27, 2009
Day 5: Polar Plunge posted Mar 5, 2009
Day 5: Mouth of The Gullet posted Mar 13, 2009
Day 5: Ice Camping posted Mar 18, 2009
Day 6: Flamingos on Ice posted Mar 20, 2009
Day 6: Mountain Climbing posted Mar 24, 2009
Day 6: Ice Textures posted Mar 26, 2009
Day 6: Antarctic New Years posted Apr 2, 2009
Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker posted Apr 9, 2009
Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 1 posted Apr 17, 2009
Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 2 posted Apr 21, 2009
Day 8: Bird Watching in the Fish Islands posted Apr 23, 2009
Day 8: Icee Day - Part 1 posted May 5, 2009
Day 8: Icee Day - Part 2 posted May 11, 2009
Day 9: Port Lockroy - Base A posted May 20, 2009
Bonus Chapter: Baby Penguins! posted May 21, 2009
Day 9: Antarctic Humpback Whales posted June 3, 2009
Day 9: Dallmann Butt Sliding posted June 11, 2009
Day 10: Birthday Whales posted June 23, 2009
Day 10: Hannah Point Part 1: The Birds posted July 15, 2009
Day 10: Hannah Point Part 2: Elephant Seals posted July 22, 2009
Day 10: Deception Island - Part 1: Walking on the Moon posted Dec 11, 2009
Day 10: Deception Island - Part 2: The Martian Chronicles of Oz posted Dec 15, 2009
Day 11: Emperor Penguins posted Jan 8, 2010
Day 12: Black and White and Pink All Over posted Aug 4, 2011
More chapters posted every few days...
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