On Live Voyage Reports: Day 5 – Brilliant Sunlight, Beautiful Bay, Awesome Antarctica

Note: Yesterday’s live report was delayed because of challenging internet … okay, time to fess up. Internet was fine. Yesterday’s live report was delayed because Antarctica is so friggin’ awesome (to use the words of my teenage son). Specifically, yesterday’s report was delayed because of the time I spent 1) climbing mountains, 2) admiring penguins, 3) spotting seals, 4) trying my best to absorb some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen (a friend from Greenland saw my postings on Facebook and thought that I was back up there – indeed Greenland comes close to matching Antarctica’s beauty in my cruising experience). Back to the list of excuses, 5) zigzagging on zodiacs through ice-choked Paradise Bay and along massive glacial faces, 6) watching the sunset at some ungodly hour (it never gets completely dark), 7) enjoying lunch under sunny skies at the Outdoor Grill, 8) getting a haircut (thanks Kiah!) 9) sipping a glass of champagne as sparkly as the glint of the sun reflecting off the chunks of ice floating in Cuverville Bay (photos below), 10) pausing for high tea served in the Panorama Lounge, 11) talking about glaciers and wildlife with the extremely informed and ever-affable expedition team, 12) breathing — just breathing — no mobile phones, no network “news,” no distraction from meaningless crap — just taking deep and sustained breaths of refreshing Antarctic air. So now that you know the real reasons for the delay, without further adieu, I present to you yesterday’s report … please forgive any errors … I am journalistically trained and know what I am doing … just totally absorbed in moments of grandeur in a place that is, in words that do seem appropriate, even if a bit juvenile, friggin’ awesome.

Cruising Silver Explorer to Antarctica. @ 2013 Ralph Grizzle

 We saw many tabular icebergs during our voyage yesterday. @ 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Last night there were two standing ovations in Silver Explorer’s dining room — and neither was for the chef (although he certainly deserved applause).

On both the port and starboard sides of the ship, visible through the dining room’s large windows, humpback whales repeatedly submerged, blew spouts, surfaced, fluked their tails and flapped their flippers, a performance that lasted for a good 15 minutes. Diners stood up from their tables, me among them, rushed to one side of the dining room, then the other. The mood was a mix of marvel and merriment.

Captain Adam Boczek slowed the vessel and turned it so that we could enjoy the spectacle taking place among icebergs and blue sky. There were oohs and aahs as well as cheerful applause each time the whales fluked or appeared to wave to us with flaps of their flippers.

It was an evening to remember on a voyage that has been punctuated by peak experiences. The trip thus far has been so rich in activities and exposure to spectacle that it is hard to believe that we are not quite midway through the voyage.

Read the full story on Live Voyage Reports.