Winter Wonderland, In Summer: Antarctica Explored, A Photo A Day

Gentoo Penguin Nests
Winter Wonderland, In Summer: Gentoo penguins at work and at play on a snowy day at Half Moon Island. Some of the penguins can be seen collecting stones to build circular nests, where they incubate eggs for about a month. © 2014 Avid Travel Media Inc.

It was snowing on the first day that we went ashore in Antarctica, which wasn’t unusual considering that it was December but a bit unusual given the fact that we were in the Southern Hemisphere at the beginning of the austral summer. But then, this was Antarctica, so snow was to be expected at any time of year.

With Seabourn Quest anchored off Half Moon Island, all guests who wished to do so were able to go ashore in Zodiacs. I bundled up in my parka, pulled on my gloves and headed to a staging area aft on Seabourn Quest where I would pull on my rubber boots and put on my inflatable life vest before heading downstairs to take a Zodiac ashore. Seabourn provides complimentary parkas and knit caps (wool beanies) that you’re free to take home at the end of your voyage. They make for great souvenirs and conversation-starters back home. Rubber boots can be rented on board, which is a huge convenience, as they are large and bulky and would take up considerable space in your luggage. The shops as Seabourn Square also have a good selection of winter wear, and in fact, I realized while browsing the shops that I could have skipped my run to REI before the trip.

With more than 400 guests on board, landings were staggered among five groups, the first of which began disembarkation at around 8 a.m. and the last of which zipped ashore at around 15:00. Each group was able to spend about 90 minutes ashore to admire thousands of penguins (Chinstrap and Gentoo) — as well as a few seals “hauled out” on the snow (the term means that the seals were resting between periods of foraging — diving as deep as 1,200 feet — for food).

I spent my time photographing and filming penguins, a wonderful way to spend a winter’s day — in summer. See Penguins Greet Guests On Half Moon Island: Exploring Antarctica On Seabourn Quest and Penguins To Make You Smile, Exploring Antarctica On Seabourn Quest.

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