This morning, we arrived to Cierva Cove which impressed us with the vastness of the landscape and the size of the icebergs. Although news of a 6:00 a.m. breakfast was not met with enthusiasm last night, all agreed that this spectacular location for Zodiac cruises was absolutely worth it! While cruising, we saw a leopard seal and several Weddell seals resting on ice and penguins hopping on and off bergy bits. We spent some time at the front of the glacier, as close as we could safely get. We even witnessed a collapse that generated a wave we could feel!

After getting back on the boat, we heard from naturalist Karen about how science was done on ships before modern scientific stations were established in Antarctica. She told fun stories that really brought in the historic aspect of our voyage – like fish samples being eaten by ship cats!

In the afternoon, we visited a gentoo penguin colony on Danco Island. Due to a very snow-heavy spring, the birds laid their eggs on cold snow, resulting in a failed breeding season. We were comforted when Martin let us know that, in general, gentoo penguin populations are doing well in Antarctica.

And, of course, Merry Christmas! We had some snow today. We are anticipating an exciting treat – a Filipino dinner that the wonderful crew of the ship is making for us. In addition, to get us all into the Antarctic holiday spirit, our guests Anna Demers and Ryan Urban came up with alternative words to “The Twelve days of Christmas” based on some of the things we have seen so far on the trip. Perhaps it will become a regular carol in your home! Merry Christmas!

One leopard (seal) on an iceberg

Two Swedish shelters

Three tabulars

Four ammonites

Five humpback whales

Six skuas a laying

Seven shags a swimming

Eight Weddells sleeping

Nine lichens growing

Ten penguins porpoising

Eleven (trillion) krill being eaten

Twelve bergy bits bumping