We are very early in the season and that means changes in plans to what happens on any one day. Our original landing area was iced in, so another area was selected, also a no go. Then plans were made to go ashore at a very rarely visited Ukrainian research station, which was where the original measurements showing the hole in the ozone layer were taken.
Because of a change in time when they could accommodate us, we sailed into the pack ice for an extremely unusual stop. We would get to walk out onto the pack ice directly from the ship. Being here this early in the season brings opportunities, both bad, as in yesterdays cancelling of all activities, and good such as today's once in a lifetime walk on the ice directly from the ship.
A small section of the breakfast buffet.
We enjoy attending the morning briefing, as do many others.
Run the ship into the ice until it stoops.
Linda wasn't about to fall.
I owe Linda to post this one. She looked at this section of ice and said "It's exactly what happens with plate tectonics."
The members of the expedition team always wear yellow. Sometimes they even have fun playing.
But before everyone could go out on the ice they had to test it to make sure it was thick enough to hold everyone. The first member of the team out on the ice was named Linda, so this ice shelf was named Linda shelf.
Besides the photos being very slow to upload, they are also not always in the right order. This one was taken earlier in the day that's Linda's silhouette in the window and an iceberg that she is looking at. To imagine how big it is we are on deck eight.
The ship approaching the Linda I shelf
The ship pushing its way into the Linda a shelf as seen from our balcony
A penguin colony on the ice shelf. Our presence didn't seem to bother them at all.
Looking back towards the open water.
Like I said earlier, the photos are all in the right order, and I'm not going to take all the time required to put them in the right order as I'm already a day late posting this.
I'm not going to say that you get used to the low temperatures, but it's so easy to slide open the patio door, step out on the balcony and take a few pictures.
The expedition team out on the ice before they allowed any of us to disembark
Looking down at the first group lined up to go out onto the Linda ice shelf. After we were all back on board the ship they announced it was the first time that they had ever been able to put out the passenger ramp onto the ice to disembark people. Before they'd always had to be loaded onto the zodiacs and ferried over to an ice shelf. Our ship is brand-new and it can obviously do things their other ships couldn't.
We were in the last group to go out onto the ice, this is the second group going out. By the time we were out on the ice the snow had been trampled into slush in some areas. The ice itself was between 1 foot and 2 foot thick. It took a number of hours to get everyone out on to the ice, as there are 480 passengers on board and this is the one time that everyone was able to leave the ship. There is one lady that has to use a walker to get around but it was very gratifying to see how all the crew helped her down the ramp and out onto the ice even though she didn't venture very far out onto the ice that huge smile on her face was awesome.
There are things that go on while the other groups are off the ship, in this case Linda was part of a craft group that made it a penguin.
The photo of a chinstrap penguin Linda used, and the finished product. She's sure there's no way it's going to make it home without the wings getting broken off, but rest assured that great effort will be made to glue them back on.
This photo taken from our balcony gives an idea of how large the ice shelf was.
This penguin got curious to see what was happening on the ice.
We had to laugh because the people had to stay inside the red cones and just after this the penguin made a detour out to the red cone then went all the way up to the front of the ship and made a right turn and crossed in front of the ship all the time outside the red cone area.
More of Linda's plate tectonics.
This is Antarctica.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!!!
Linda really likes her new hat.
I will admit that when we looked at the ship jammed in the ice I had thoughts of Sir John Franklin's 1845-1846 ill-fated expedition to the Arctic in the Erebus and Terror that resulted in all hands perishing.
Having fun on the ice.
If the crew can do it I can do.
Everything went together to get this awesome shot of the sun above our suite. The arrow is pointing to it
The gap in the ice shelf when the ship backed out of it.
Heading off to the Ukraine research station.
Penguins are everywhere.
Enjoying a shot of vodka that is made right here. It sure beats anything we've ever bought in the US.
Tunnel through the snow.
In case you missed it, the homemade vodka was awesome. Even more awesome was the fact that it took me to swallows, while Linda took it all in one swallow. Married for 52 years and she still has things up her sleeve that I didn't know about her.
It was really cold on the ride back to the ship as our selfie of the day shows.
You think with all the close and layers that the cold wouldn't seep through, but on those zodiac rides when the wind is blowing 30+ miles an hour besides the speed of the zodiac, the wind doesn't pay any attention to the fact that are close are supposed to be wind resistant.
There is no actual entertainment on board, but for the first time during the trip the waiters were putting on some ?Entertainment?. I will see exactly what the meaning was of how our waiter was dressed, but everyone was sure laughing at his antics. We always try to sit in the same area as our assigned dinner table, so we've gotten to know Art fairly well. What makes it really nice is when we walk in for the evening meal and he's already got our wine ready. His reward at the end of the trip will be very much deserved.