The most amazing Humpback whale experience

Trip Start Aug 17, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Antarctica  , Antarctic Peninsula,
Monday, March 17, 2014

This morning we woke up and left the Gerlache straight and entered Cierva cove. This is the home of primavera a summer Argentinian base which the captain radioed to see if we could come inside and take a peek around. It seems like they had left for the winter so we just used the area around the base for our activities.

The wind and swell were down so we got the go ahead to go for a paddle. The scout zodiak said the ice around the island was really interesting so towards that we headed. On the way we stopped at an island and paddled around it to see what we could see. My excitement went into overdrive when our 3rd species of penguin appeared on the rocks-the chinstrap. These guys must be up there with my favourites, they just look so cool. For those that don't know they are called chinstraps because of a black line running underneath their chins. We watched these guys for a good period of time before we decided to head to the ice for a closer look.The brash ice was quite thick, but made kayaking really fun as we could smash through it and use the paddles to push it out of the way. We had to be careful however, not to launch on top of an iceberg as it made it unstable and susceptible to tipping. Apparently it hasn't been done in antarctic waters, but Brett and i did come really close a few times.

We paddled around for a bit and saw that a zodiak was checking out a seal hauled out on an iceberg. We all instantly thought leopard seal so we raced over to check him out. On our way there it started snowing which made for a stunning backdrop to this predator. No matter how many i see, im always intrigued by them. The snow caused a quickish ending to our adventure and we made our way back to the vessel.

We moved to charlotte bay a perfect place of unimaginable beauty, surrounded by glaciers, mountains, and snow. Being a bay, it provided perfect shelter which meant perfect kayaking conditions. I guess the whales like the calm waters too as we were greeted by and followed 6 humpbacks as they cruised around the bay.Being in kayaks it was proving a little hard to keep up with them, but more annoyingly, every time we spotted a whale and chased him down, we were followed by at least 3 zodiaks with their noisy engines which kept scaring them away, it really seemed like a lost cause for us, but we decided to hunker down and just wait quietly. What a perfect decision this proved to be as 2 whales surfaced just a few hundred metres from us. We carefully and quietly followed them, and got insanely close. They were curious now, and as the zodiaks starting piling in, we were treated to a natural spectacle that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Then the main show began as Brett and i approached and almost as if on queue, one of the two whales stuck his entire head out of the water within a metre of the front of our kayak. I had put my camera away at this point and i am so glad i did-other people were taking photos. It didn't end there. The curious whale lunged himself out giving us a full view of the entire front half of his body. Now the moment that shocked us all, tour guides inclusive, the whale spun a complete 360 and looked at every single one of us. While this was happening another whale lifted his body out of the water and with one last look at his tail fluke, they both disappeared, not to be seen again. Talk about a tear jerking experience.

Our return to the ship was slow as everyone was discussing the incredible moment that we all had the pleasure of witnessing. When we returned we had our daily recap with the expedition leader, john, who was in a zodiak right next me me when the whale show was occurring. We shared a moment where we fistbumped each other right as the whales appeared in front of us.

The evenings festivities began with Belinda the musician playing some Irish jigs in the bar to celebrate St pattys day. The evening continued quite late and everyone was getting involved with the festivities which topped off again the best day of my life.

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alex on

holy shit balls

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