Drifting at Perch Island

Just when I wonder how can this continent top this beauty – it does it again! We arrived just off of Perch Island, one of the many Fish Islands which are surrounded with incredible mountains, glaciers and, of course, icebergs!

While Mom went on shore to view the Penguins, I went on a Kayak ride. My kayak partner (Kathleen) and I headed out to see an interesting iceberg that caught our attention. It was great:t to be low in the water right next to the ice. Icebergs make a whole chorus of sounds that include a soft popping as melting releases trapped gases, clucking as the small broken pieces of ice collide into each other and then more ominous thunderclaps as new icebergs calve off of their glaciers. Kathleen and I quickly lost interest in paddling and enjoyed looking around listening to the ice around us. Our peaceful morning was suddenly interrupted by a shining dark head that emerged from the water and snorted at us from about 5 feet away.

Leopard seals, like the friend that was visiting us, are one of the top predators in Antarctica. They eat most everything from penguins, seals and have even attacked humans and zodiac boats. While it was amazing to see the power of his body swimming below and around our very small kayak, I will admit that at first it was a bit scary. It turned out that this vicious, but beautiful creature was just curious about this kayak in his neighborhood that was not paddling.

The leopard seal eventually left us along on our journey drifting with the ice and many others from our group had similar exciting encounters – so perhaps it was not just our kayaks unique disdain for using effort.

We eventually drifted back to the ship to the very exciting news that we are going to try to cross the Antarctic circle this afternoon!

-Colin

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