We leave the lovely bay with the whaling ship Guvernoren after two nights and continue to the south. The water in Wilhelmina Bay is lying like a mirror, the sun is warming us through a thin cover of clouds and icebergs are drifting silently. The only thing that is moving is us – and Humpback whales. Plenty of them! Soon we discover the first little group, and many more are to follow during the next couple of hours. There are groups form 2-3 to 6-7 animals, most of them pretty active. Wherever we look, there are backs and flukes breaking through the surface of the water. One is even jumping somewhere. Later, we have whales directly next to the boat. A very impressive experience, for all senses – including the smell 😉
Later in Gerlache Strait, it is quite windy, and Errera Channel is not the world’s best place today either. There are many Crabeater seals resting on ice floes, and once, a rare Snow petrels flies past the ship. More flukes of more Humpback whales.
Gallery – Wilhelmina Bay – Waterboat Point – 27 January 2018
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We drop anchor at Waterboat Point at the northern entrance to Paradise Harbour („Bay“), with additional shore lines so we should have a stable position for a good and calm night here. And we have a chance to visit Waterboat Point with its Chilean station and the Gentoo penguin colony where we see one of the famous leucistic penguins (they are mostly white, but they do have some pigment so they are no albinos). The chicks are still much smaller than in the South Shetland Islands further north. Here, they are mostly still together with one parent on the nest.
There was a remarkable adventure at Waterboat Point when two young British men wintered here in 1922. They were not marooned after a ship wreckage or so, it was they decision to stay here although conditions for their expedition were anything but ideal. Everybody knows Shackleton and Scott, but hands up – who knows Bagshawe and Lester? Well, maybe not quite the same league of explorers, but still, a great story of bravery worth remembering.