The expedition rooster wakes us up a bit earler than normally. The weather forecast for the Drake-Passage suggests an early departure, but we do not want to miss the opportunity to step on antarctic ground one more time and to say goodbye in a proper way.
After a little stroll up a snow field, we settle down on some rocky hills, enjoying fantastic views of the Melchior Islands: small, ice-covered islands with narrow sounds, surrounded by the wide-open Dallmann Bay. Icebergs are drifting here and there, and a whale is blowing in the distance. A moment of antarctic paradise.
Gallery – Melchior Islands – 31 January 2018
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Then the moment has come. The dingies are stowed away and the ship is made ready for the open sea. The anker is going up, and skipper Heinz is steering the ship out between the islands and into Dallmann Bay, the open sea just ahead of us. The sun is shining, there is almost no wind, just a moderate swell that reminds us that this is not a lake. Wide ice caps are shimmering in the sun behind us, and some Humpback whales come close to wave us goodbye with their flukes.
We have got a good 500 nautical miles between us and Cape Hoorn.