Today was our last day of getting geared up for the chilly outdoors. Some of my fellow passengers were talking about how sad they were that this was our last land day. I was strongly in denial! I wanted many more days like this.
Our morning started with another zodiac adventure – this time in Cierva Cove. What none of us knew was that today was to be a very special day indeed.
I’d signed up to the ship’s Citizen Watch program for the morning. Our zodiac left the ship last which turned out to be very fortuitous…
First came the humpback whales. Sighted near the kayakers they gave a great display of blowing and flipping their tail flues at us. They gave many a lazy flue – all of the excitement of the dive but with none of the payoff. The kayakers had the incredible experience of a very close encounter with these stunning creatures.
As we were excitingly chatting on the zodiac along came a Minke whale . . .
Pablo was the whale whisperer as the whale started to follow his zodiac. She dove and played, drawing all of the other zodiacs closer. With engines turned off the whale took the time to play and dive and awe us all. This kind of encounter was a rarity so everyone, from guests to crew, were delighted.
She came so close to our zodiac that I could’ve reached out and touched her (I didn’t of course as that is against the rules for protection of wildlife).
The Minke whale went off in search of larger, more aquatic playmates and we continued our zodiac cruise, astounded at our good luck.
We enjoyed the icebergs that filled Cierva Cove. Some had calved off the glaciers in the cove and some had been blown in from Gerlache Strait.
“Look to the shore, it’s a leopard seal” called Hannah, our expedition leader.
I’d heard of the leopard seals fearsome reputation, they have no natural predators, so was excited to catch a glimpse. One of the seals had other ideas.
Did I mention that they are also known for their curiosity? The seal made a bee line for our boat.
He swam right up to our zodiac and proceeded to dive in and around the boat, showing us his full length – he was as long as the boat – and beautiful colouring.
His eyes were on us the whole time and he was the most beautiful creature.
This photo won me the Wildlife section of the photography competition that was held on board our ship at the end of the cruise.