Speaking of lectures and speakers…we were guided by over a dozen experts with over 300 year of experience. Multiple talks all day long. Interestingly, our expedition leader is from Roslyn in WA state. As of this posting, we are now south of the Shetland Islands and we are heading as far south as possible on Wednesday depending on the ice conditions. We went through our safety briefing and training for the zodiac tours and landings. We of course needed a detailed briefing of the UN regulations and treaties before departing the ship. No snickers or Twinkies for snacks to share with the penguins for some reason. I guess taking some packets of Gu and Gatorade on shore for a 5K run is not a good idea…the real question is how many layers of clothing should be worn. It is very cold without a doubt, but how many layers is always perplexing most.
Without a doubt, snow pants or rain pants are critics’ for the zodiac rides. A&K provides waterproof and warm winter jackets for everyone, but the one downside is that you look like everyone else. Each expedition is approximately 1.5 hours onshore. Based on the treaty, only 100 people can be onshore at the same time. They also provide backpacks so your hands are always free to get in and out of the zodiacs. I am not sure how some people are going to be capable in getting in and out of these boats since they cannot even climb stairs on the ship, but…I guess we will see.
This morning, when on the treadmill with the ship’s captain in the small gym, we spotted numerous whales of many different species. The captain is very energetic and commands the gym like the bridge every morning ? The whale sightings continued all day long. After a little while, you stop looking because you have already seen dozens and you start to expect to see all kinds of wildlife. Did you know a group of penguins is called a “rookery”? They are very curious and friendly compared to the grumpy elephant seals.