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Blog: Waking up to the excitement of finally getting off the boat

Image Credit: The Jewels of Antarctica Team

This morning we arrived at Half Moon Island and awoke with the excitement of finally getting off the boat and being the first group to go kayaking.

After wrapping ourselves in dozens of layers of warmth, we squeezed ourselves into our neoprene suits, spray skirts, booties and life jackets we made our way to the  deck and our kayaks. After receiving instructions on how to steer and power them, we began the arduous task of lowering the kayaks into the water using ropes and sheer strength.

Our fearless leader Louise managed the process and a half an hour later we slithered from the zodiacs into our kayaks, some that were tandem and others single. Just as we started to get into a rhythm and enjoy ourselves the wind picked up and white caps appeared everywhere. Louise radioed in for a weather update. Unfortunately that meant we had to make our way back to the ship and cut our adventure a bit short. Then began the mission of raising the kayaks back onto the deck. What could have been a back breaking exercise was made much easier by a great team effort.

Once we confirmed that all passengers were back on board (a process that will be explained at a later time) we set sail for Deception Island. Four hours and a healthy lunch later we passed through Neptune’s Bellows and were given yet another opportunity to stretch our legs and go onshore. So happy to be on terra firma we all hiked up to Neptune’s Window, a rock face that forms part of an active volcano. As the intensity of the snow increased we were thrilled by some close encounters with penguins as well as other bird life that we have yet to identify.

After returning from our hike some of the team decided that a polar dip was a good idea. The rest of us thought they were crazy to subject themselves to sub zero temperatures but cheered them on with cameras at the ready.

'Stripped off our layers'

“We stripped off our layers, braced the cold and made a run for it. If I had hesitated, I probably would have changed my mind,” said Frida. “I thought this was the highlight of my day. It was very exciting and exhilarating and it wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be. I can’t wait to do it again,” said Taghrid.

“It was an invigorating experience that ‘literally took my breath away’ but one that could not be missed,” said Lara.

Julie and Astrid bravely joined Frida, Taghrid and Lara in the frigid waters while the rest of the team cheered them on from the shore, and greeted them with towels and hugs when they emerged.

The whole team felt that today was really the first day of their expedition, filled with exciting activities where they had the opportunity to push their limits as opposed to just getting here.

We have now set sail once again to our next destination, which is Water Boat Point and we can’t wait to see what it will bring.