20 Jan 2024

Navigating ice floes - Zodiac cruising through the Ross Sea

After a truly amazing day at Cape Adare, we made our way through the ice floes towards our next planned landing on Possession Island, an island claimed by Captain Clark Ross for Britain in 1841.

However, the drifting ice floes had other plans for us, so we continued our passage southwards along the Victoria Land coast towards Coulman Island. Although there are few landing sites on Coulman Island, a large Emperor Penguin colony is present on the fast ice between Coulman Island and the Antarctic continent. The calm seas and spectacular ice floes kept us entertained in the hope that we might spot an Emperor Penguin, alongside the ever-present Adélie Penguins. We were not disappointed as one lone Emperor Penguin posed for our keen photographers on board, and a small pod of distant Orcas added to the excitement. Although heavy pack ice prevented us from reaching the fast ice off Coulman Island, Zodiacs were launched after dinner to explore the ice floes.

The evening sunlight provided very special conditions with Snow Petrels, Skuas and Wilson's Storm Petrels flitting about with another lone Emperor Penguin on an ice floe. To our great surprise and to finish off another fantastic day in Antarctica, the Expedition Team leaders had set up a hot chocolate station on an ice floe before returning to Heritage Adventurer just before midnight.

Images © F. Wardle, Heritage Expeditions

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