Saturday, July 6, 2024

Antarctica 2023 ✈ Day 9: Port Lockroy • Damoy Point

Antarctica had always felt like a distant and unreachable bucket list destination, not just because of its geographical location, but more so because it is so expensive. Honestly, I never thought it'd be possible for me to check off this bucket list item but we decided to make this trip happen and celebrated our 10th anniversary with an extraordinary adventure to the end of the earth - Antarctica! I am so grateful for the opportunity to finally step foot on my 7th continent and to experience this incredible journey with our moms.

13D12N Antarctica Cruise - Oceanwide Basecamp Expedition
4 December 2023: Cuverville Island
5-7 December 2023: Drake Passage & Disembarkation

3 December 2023 (Sun): Day 9 - Port Lockroy & Damoy Point

We had been very lucky with the weather so far and our 6th full day in Antarctica was even better with a clear sunny day!

Buffet breakfast at 7am. After 9 days, I finally decided to take photos of the breakfast offerings (instead of my usual instant noodles).

Started off the day at 8.30am with a zodiac cruise at Port Lockroy/Jougla. Our expedition guide for this zodiac cruise was Lucia.

Juan, the photographer happened to be hanging around our zodiac so Lucia conveniently asked him to take this photo for us. For those who've been following days 5-6, you'd have read that Juan was our favorite guide but Lucia also quickly became one of our favorites. Thanks to my kaypo instinct and 'verification' on instagram, I figured out that both of them are a couple. :P

Spotted gentoo penguins preening themselves in the water. 

We cruised around Port Lockroy, the first British permanent base in Antarctica, also a museum and post office. Usually, cruiseship guests are allowed to visit this facility, but due to avian flu, the resident workers on Port Lockroy preferred to avoid this, and came onboard our ship instead.

Spotted our first fur seal!

It was our turn for landing at 9.40am. We saw some whale bones scattered around the landing area and we were given time to do a walk to see the penguin colonies.

Spotted a few weddell seals taking nap, unbothered by the people around them as usual.

Were we penguined-out yet? Nope not yet. 

We were very entertained by the penguins stealing rocks and mating. Penguins are so clumsy and funny!

Spotted a penguin egg! 

Returned to the ship at 11am and the staff from Port Lockroy came onboard to give a presentation about the work they do and their daily life in Antarctica. They also brought all sorts of souvenirs for guests to buy, and I took the opportunity to send a postcard from Antarctica. 

I went up to the deck before lunch and was amazed by this breathtaking view of Luigi Peak and the Seven SIsters Mountains! You can see the scale of these mountains as compared to the zodiacs. Antarctica is unreal! 

Can't believe I was the only person on the deck enjoying these amazing views!

Buffet lunch with a view. We also spotted a humpback whale from the dining room.

Started our afternoon with a zodiac cruise at Damoy Point at 2.45pm. The weather was absolutely beautiful...warm sunny weather with clear blue skies! Definitely one of the best weather we had throughout this trip. Our expedition guide for the zodiac cruise was Anthonie.

As if Antarctica couldn't get any better...we saw a perfect Sun Halo!! This is also called 22° halo, an optical phenomenon that consists of a halo with an apparent radius of approximately 22° around the sun, produced by light interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere.

This was our final afternoon zodiac cruise on this trip so we were savoring every moment we could.

This iceberg is so unique! How did that piece of 'boulder' ended up on there?

Decided to play with my phone's portrait mode with some shots of our guide, Anthonie.

Spotted the staffs kayaking. It's nice they gave the staff the opportunity to kayak on this last session.

We cruised around for about 1hr 15min and got a preview of our landing site.

It was our turn for landing at 4pm. We visited the Damoy Point hut that was used for several years as a British summer air facility and transit station for scientific personnel. This hut was well equipped and available to be used in case of emergency.

Took some photos around the hut before starting our snowshoe hike around the island.

This was probably one of our longest hike/walk on the trip (excluding the mountaineering day).

Only 3 of us went for the hike as mom didn't want to risk hurting her knees so she opted out and waited for us around the hut.

The sunny weather and uphill hike made us feel warm for the first time in Antarctica. Many started taking off their jackets along the hike. We were sweating for the first time in!

The surrounding was so white it could blind our eyes if we didn't have sunglasses on.

How far did we hike?? A pretty good bit...that hut in the bottom photos was where we started.

Hiked up to the higher viewpoint for a panoramic view of this entire beautiful!!

One problem with blue skies and beautiful weather, I took way too many photos!

These penguins have an amazing view!

Returned to the ship at 5.30pm after our last afternoon landing. So thankful for the amazing weather on our last afternoon landing in Antarctica.

Back in the lounge at 6.30pm for the daily recap. Adam informed us that we'd be starting our morning activity earlier as we are trying to get ahead of the bad weather. Yes, after 6 days of good weather in Antarctica, we're gonna be 'paying for it' on our way back.

Love the coffee and hot water machine in the lounge. Some snacks are also served during the daily recap. 

Buffet dinner with a view at 7pm. 

Went out on the deck at 9pm to enjoy our final sunset in Antarctica. Spotted Seabourn's Pursuit ship in the distance.

Can't believe our Antarctica expedition is almost coming to an end. We were definitely trying to soak up every last bit of our experience and time in Antarctica. 

Visited the bridge again to check out the views and had a good chat with the 3rd officer, Archer, who is from the Phillippines. We asked if it's harder to sail in Asia or Antarctica, and he said in Antarctica you have to watch for icebergs, but in Asia you have to watch for fishing!

More profiles of the expedition guides on our cruise.

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