ANTARCTICA EXPEDITION CRUISE - JANUARY 24-FEBRUARY 4, 2022
In January 2021, Sandy and I booked passage with Viking Cruise Lines for a January 24-February 4, 2022 expedition cruise to Antarctica. The cruise embarked from Ushuaia, Argentina, sailing across the Drake Passage to reach the Antarctic Peninsula. Upon arriving at the Peninsula we explored both the Antarctic mainland and several Islands in the Antarctic Archipelago and then returned to Ushuaia for our flight home.
Our expedition ship was The Viking Octantis, which was built in late 2020. The ship was equipped with several Zodiac rubber-hulled boats for expedition landings, as well as two special-purpose craft for area exploration.
Several expert scientists were on board, including Lars Rasmussen, birder extraordinaire from Denmark, and Noah Stryker who was the 2015 World Birder of the Year. A variety of seabirds and penguins were observed and photographed, including: gray-headed albatross, black-browed albatross, giant petrels, snowy sheathbill, polar and brown skua, Antarctic tern, Antarctic shag, light-mantled albatross, a variety of storm petrels, gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins and one emperor penguin.
The scenery in Antarctica is spectacular. The immensity of glaciers and rock outcroppings are incredible. Icebergs are everywhere in the bays of the Peninsula, as the glaciers “calve” various sizes of ice into the sea.
Expeditions to landing sites were with the Zodiacs. Four landings were made during the expedition, with one landing on the mainland and three landings on islands in the Peninsula Archipelago. The photographs below show some of the beautiful scenery and wildlife that we observed.
The Viking Octantis is anchored in Dorian Bay for Zodiac landings at Damoy Point on Wiencke Island.
Gentoo penguin colony at Damoy Point.
Brown skua at Damoy Point.
Iceberg in Dorian Bay.
Exploring Hidden Bay
Glacier close to calving near Paradise Bay.
Emperor penguin spotted from the ship on an iceberg.
Gentoo penguin colony on Cuverville Island.
A Gentoo penguin makes his way down a colony path to the sea.
A snowy sheathbill is spotted at Base Brown, located on Paradise Bay.
A chinstrap penguin was spotted from a Zodiac on a rock outcropping in Paradise Bay.
Antarctic shags are spotted on a rock outcropping on Enterprise Island.
This crabeater seal was spotted taking a nap on Snow Island, which was our last expedition landing.
Snow Island is incredibly beautiful and is a perfect location to artfully depict with monochrome photography.