Running out of Superlatives....

Steve Powell
Wed 12 Jan 2011 16:22

I knew months ago when I started using words like, fantastic, incredible, perfect, unbelievable, amazing, in my blog that I would eventually come South and run out of superlatives. Well, I guess today it happened. I am completely and utterly ‘gob smacked’. There, there’s a new one!

The last couple of days have been..... Astonishing! Haven’t used that one yet. We spent a great day on Monday at anchor in Deception Island, we managed a few very important repair jobs in the morning then spent the afternoon on the beach with the Penguins. Yes, we have beaches, all be it this one is black lava sand, and the Penguins love it because the hot spring water seeping out of the still active volcano give a water line of hot water for about 18 inches out. Sauna time for the Chin Strap Penguins.

Chin Strap Penguins chilling on the beach which has an 18 inch rim of sauna temperature spring water, on Deception Island.

We set very early Tuesday morning in near perfect conditions, sunshine and wind. The moment we came out Deception Island, through Neptune’s Bellow, the aptly name gap into the volcano, we were greeted by whales and penguins. Penguins swimming are hilarious, they jump like dolphins, but it’s more of a little hop out of the water, then every few minutes they all stop, pop their heads up to check where their going. Then off they go again, ‘hopping’ across the ocean.

The rest of the day we were entertained by whales. But the two ‘Pro’ photographers onboard were upstaged by young Chris with his “Box Brownie” who was the only one to get a picture of a whale broaching.(Right) Mike and I were down below trying to get warm after a 2 hour ‘Ice Berg’ watch, well that’s our excuse.

And Ice Bergs there were, hundreds of them, and nasty little ‘growlers’, large chunks of ice , often weighting several tons, that have broken off an ice berg and are floating just below the surface and very difficult to see, anyone of which could easily rip the bottom out of UHURU. Which is a rather sobering thought while you are on watch, tends to focus the mind.

The ultimate video game, “Growler Slalom”, but the ‘game over’ option is rather scary.

Massive Ice Bergs everywhere but the real threat is the growlers.

Buzz avoids another growler, this one at least was visible. And exploring a ice bound bay looking for a safe anchorage for the night.

We are all still pinching ourselves, we just can’t believe this place, and the fact hat we are here. It is universally agreed that it doesn't matter how much we try we will never be able to explain what it’s really like. Even Mike’s great pictures and my humble attempt at a blog, can not come close to explaining what it’s really like. How do you adequately describe the feeling of sailing along under a deep blue sky, with the wind whistling through the rigging, little Penguins ‘hopping’ along side, birds circling constantly, whales popping up every now and then, all with the “ever present danger of...... Growlers”.  And I don’t care who you are but every now and then that very deep and dark thought will creep up on you. ‘We are at the end of the world down here, and if anything goes wrong........’ Well lets not finish that thought, but I am sure everyone who has ever come down here must have it.

It was recently pointed out in an email to me that the photography on the blog has improved dramatically recently, this is all down to Brother Mike who has been leaping about manically filling up his hard drives. The sailing pics above were taken by him and Chris out on the tender.

This is them ‘catching a little air’ while chasing us down.

Hopefully more great pics to come, and as for the unkind remarks about my earlier efforts, I know where you live Mr Fine!! :-)

By the way if you were ‘wondering’ about my ‘Wondering Albatross’, from the last blog, he is actually a rather inquisitive ‘Wandering Albatross’.

Well I’ve got to go now, there is so much I’ve missed out it’s tragic. We spent last night at anchor in total seclusion, behind Cape Hershall, the remotest anchorage I have ever experienced.

Sorry about the lack of unused superlatives but it’s getting very difficult. If anyone would care to donate a few for future use I’d be very grateful.

Luv from all

12th January 2011

P.S.  One more Penguin pic........