Ted’s Travels Antarctica: Close encounter with a whale
I have just finished an Antarctica cruise on board of the Akademik loffe. Wow, what an experience. All the superlatives that one reads about the continent were there, towering glaciers, impressive wildlife, snow-covered landscapes, massive icebergs, the chilling air… and a lot more. “A picture is worth a thousand words” they say, well I took over a thousand photos on this trip (Look for the next slide night!).
The combination of setting foot on the continent, silently drifting on zodiacs and kayaks amongst ice bergs and whales, experiencing on board hospitality of the crew and cruising around the Antarctica Peninsula has been a major highlight for me.
I can easily tick all the boxes as excellent for comfort, hospitality, meals, lectures, safety instructions, including good fun on board with the One Ocean crew, who were always going out of their way to make everyone feel at home.
During the trip we had 4 perfect days, clear blue skies, bright sunshine, even the temperature was friendly to us rising all the way till 1 degree Celsius! Picture perfect days. However, on our last day in the Peninsula around Deception island was all the opposite.
The first 4 days, we sailed through the narrow channels of the Peninsula like Lemaire Chanel and Gerlache Straits. During the day we enjoyed the Antarctic amazing scenery followed by relaxing dinners with “good food, good wine and good company”. On one day we saw a Humpbacks, Orcas and Minke whales sharing the bay with some seals, and of course the penguins “porposing”.
On day 3 we were cruising around in our zodiacs around a bay in Gerlache Strait where had “close encounter with whale”. Mark, the captain and whale expert, spotted two whales sleeping in the distance and raced towards them, after switching off the engine we just drifted closer and closer to them. Mark told us they were “sleeping”, we could only see their humps. As we drifted closer they too were gliding towards us unaware of our presence. All of a sudden the zodiac bumped into one of them which made the whale jolt awake and immediately dove down. Thank goodness it didn’t lift its head up instead! It then circled around and underneath us. I was completely overwhelmed by the magnificent cetacean, with its giant tail and pectoral fins visible just below the surface!
As it passed underneath us I could just see the how big it was, it must have been over 40 feet! Words just fail me to describe the scene of this magnificent mammal swimming in around and underneath our zodiac.
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au