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Antarctic Expedition Day 5

November 16, 2013

The weather turned bad again, but we did make our anchorage at Paradise Harbor (which is not really a harbor) so we could go ashore. On the way, a pod of orcas (killer whales) was spotted off the port bow, so we took some time to watch them. There were at least 5 of them, maybe more, and they came so close to the boat that we could hear them breathing each time they surfaced.

It was my turn to go mountaineering this morning so I got my harness and ice axe then set off on the zodiac to a steep little mountain covered in ice. We all tied up to one another and headed up in the falling snow.  About half way up it was determined that the conditions were too dangerous and we could not continue safely. Instead, we did an exercise simulating various scenarios of falling and sliding down the mountain- with all gear, with ice axe only, and with nothing at all. It was incredible to slide down the steep slope and be able to stop myself, even at high speed. While we were up there it continued to snow, and we heard the thunderous crack and splash of a calving glacier somewhere nearby, but it was too foggy to see it.

We made it back to the ship for a late lunch and set out for our next destination, an Argentinian research base. I’ve decided to stay on board instead of going ashore, as it was pretty damn cold and it’s still snowing. We will stay here tonight and then continue south in the morning.

Tags: antarctica, expedition, travel

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