Today we are saying goodbye to Antarctica and all of its wonderful wilderness we were fortunate to enjoy for the past three-plus weeks. Conversations over breakfast were already nostalgic as we watched stunning icebergs and heard brash ice on the hull as we sailed by. Were we going to see more penguins porpoising alongside our ship? When? We had many questions of the day ahead and enormous gratitude for what we have experienced thus far.
We should have known. Antarctica continued to deliver during teatime, as Swedish pancakes threatened to distract us from the surroundings, an island emerged on the horizon. Scott Island and its trustworthy companion, Haggitt’s Pillar, stood in front of us like rocky sentinels of the Southern Ocean. Covered with an icecap, Scott Island was first named by Captain William Colbeck on Christmas Day of 1902. Antarctic petrels, prions, southern fulmars, Campbell black-browed and light-mantled albatrosses foraged from the very productive seas above the seamount under us. Humpback whales made their appearance to delight us and challenge our photographic skills once again.
The evening concluded with a silent auction for charity to support the work of the Antarctic Heritage Trust, a charity organization from New Zealand that cares for the conservation of the historic huts in the Ross Sea Region. Plenty of laughter and generous donations rolled in as we reminisced on the privilege we have had during this voyage to witness these ‘time capsules’ of polar legacy.