Our morning started off with beautiful views of more tabular icebergs and blue skies. As we positioned ourselves in the middle of the Danger Islands, where around two million pairs of Adélie penguins are nesting, we did a Zodiac circumnavigation of Heroína Island. With snowy sheathbills pecking in the tidal zone and several species of petrels overhead, we explored the rocky shoreline and the dramatic southwest cliffs of the island. As we entered the lagoon on the north side, practically an amphitheater full of penguins, three friendly Vikings welcomed us with hot chocolate.

After a splendid morning at Heroína, we made our way towards Tay Head, named after Scotland’s Firth of Tay. Suddenly, Bud’s calm voice sounded over the PA system–orcas ahead! From the outside deck, we were met with views of a whole pack of killer whales–probably 15-20 individuals–contentedly feeding and occasionally spy-hopping. What an incredible site to witness! We stayed with these magnificent creatures for about half an hour before we set our course toward the next destination.

At the moonlike beach of Tay Head, we were welcomed by sleepy Weddell seals and great numbers of nesting Adélie penguins on the opposite shore. The occasional gentoo also made an appearance. Kayakers got in the water for an adventurous afternoon amongst blue icebergs and porpoising penguins.

What better way to end another incredible day in Antarctica than with a plunge in the ice cold waters! Accompanied by music, cheers from the staff, and our lovely hotel department, many guests took a dip in the pool followed by a hot drink and, of course, a shot of vodka.