Video of our sailing through the Lemaire Channel:
And cruising around our zodiacs afterwards:
We woke up the next morning near the British-operated Fort Lockroy. There we got the much-coveted passport stamps for Antarctica:
We also finally saw our first sunlight in days:
Everytime we thought we saw something pretty, something else would catch our attention:
Icebergs, sea ice, pack ice — in shapes of every imaginable form:
We sounded the blowhorn to nearby ships just to say hi:
And we kept sailing north:
We then landed at Paradise Harbor of the main Antarctic continent, where we hiked up to its highest point:
Took in the views:
Most of us chose to slide — or sled (if you brought a plastic garbage bag) — down afterwards:
Witnessed epic avalanches and glaciers calving:
And cruised around in our zodiacs in the harbor:
We were treated to an outdoor subzero BBQ on the ship’s deck upon our return:
But to put a bizarre twist to the celebrations, the Chinese side of the ship asked me to write American wedding vows for a Chinese mainlander couple who wanted to get married on the ship’s deck, with the vows delivered by our Russian captain.
It was pretty weird:
Our group then caught the bouquet, apparently to the Chinese passengers’ dismay:
And with said bouquet, posed for more group photos after the BBQ-Wedding Ceremony:
That night, we got even weirder at the bar when the rest of the ship went to sleep. One of the customers from the Chinese side of the ship stole a chunk of glacier ice from Antarctica and was trying to make me make drinks with it. Inappropriate.
Then he and Gareth started dancing on the bar. Okay.
And finally, one of our customers — he who shall not be named — decided to get drunker than all of us. Fine. But when he disappeared for a bit too long, we feared he went overboard. When I opened the door to the stairwell to look for him, it was like witnessing the Elevator of Blood scene from The Shining: the entire hallway leading to the stairwell was covered in red vomit, and last night’s half-digested dinner extended all the way down the stairwell from the bar’s 5th deck to the bottom deck quarters. I walked into a scene of an Antarctica horror movie and I realized we had made a terrible mistake letting this guy drink more than the rest of us.
We eventually found him wandering about the hallway denying that he did anything. So we played it diplomatically: “It doesn’t matter whether you did it or not. Either way we need to clean this place up.”
God, it stank. And I definitely slept in that night.
And speaking of NSFW, the next day we do the polar plunge (aka skinny dipping)…you have been doubly warned!
– At time of posting in Paradise Harbor, it was n/a – Humidity: n/a | Wind Speed: n/a | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy