14 Feb 2024

Surrounded by stunning glacier ice - Zodiac cruising through Robertson Bay

Some of us were awake in the wee hours of the morning as Heritage Adventurer navigated through a band of pack ice and made a ship cruise into Robertson Bay. For most, it was an early call for breakfast as we arrived at Colbert Bay. We boarded the Zodiacs in absolutely perfect conditions, there was not a breath of wind and the sea was smooth.

The mountains rose above us straight out of the sea. They were layers of sandstone and mudstone folded into fantastic shapes and were artistically enhanced by a light dusting of snow, an example of geology at its finest.

When we finally looked away from the rocks, our eyes were captivated by the multiple shades of blue and sculptural shapes of the glacier ice. We observed newly fledged Adélie Penguin chicks floating on small bergy bits, and a couple of Weddell Seals raised their heads as we pulled into the shore near them. South Polar Skuas and Wilsons Storm Petrels flitted by and at the end of the cruise a pod of Orcas/Killer Whales made an appearance.

During lunch back on board Heritage Adventurer we retraced our steps, only to discover that Ridley Beach at Cape Adare was completely blocked by the ice and no landing was possible. However, we may get another chance on the return north.

Our Captain pushed his way back through the bands of pack ice, giving most of us our first experience of the capability of the ship in this environment. Along the way were many Adélie Penguins and our first sighting of an Emperor Penguin.

Images © M. Maloney, Heritage Expeditions

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