Day 20–Saunders Island

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Today we headed to Saunders Island. Even though I knew on Day 12 the dream was over, being in the snow and conditions in South Georgia hid that seeing penguins on bright green grass really brought that front and centre.

It’s a steep landscape here with a variety of bird life. It’s interesting to walk around the cliffs on such an angle with gum boots. Having skinny feet I’m slipping so far sideways in them I’m almost walking on the sides of the boots rather than any part of the sole.

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There’s a decent colonies of albatross here. They look a bit like giant seagulls from a distance. They make an amazing nest of mud that’s about a foot high.

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Up close they have the most amazing black teardrop feathers around their eyes that against their whisper white feathers makes it look like their eyes are always open.

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The Rock Hoppers are energetic little penguins. They leap from rock to rock and move at pace.

I missed the penguin briefing when I was sick so I really pick up a few names here and there but I prefer to refer to them as the levitating zombie penguins.

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I love their evil fiery eyes and their massive yellow tipped eyebrows. They looks like something that a friendlier looking penguin comes back as in Pet Semetery.

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All over the hills are these burrowed holes. They contain a bunch of these penguins which I will call the burrowing penguin.

I was a little cold as it is really windy here and destroys my fingers so I came back at lunch and enjoyed steak and chips for lunch and hung out in the lounge watching a few movies while John went back out.

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He shot a few other penguins. This one was pretty cool. You see a lot of them carrying rocks around and this one which I’ll call Lipstick Punk was no exception.

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John braved the afternoon beach and got some of the Zombie penguins coming in from the ocean and hopping along the rocks and this curious animal.

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Day 16-19 Back to Falkland Islands

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We’ve had to head back to Falklands. We spent 3 days in rough seas and to top it off I have a head cold.

Normally it’s pretty awful to be sick and not in your own bed. It’s also awful to be in a bed that creaks, rocks, vibrates and tosses you around all night. It’s absolutely awful to have both of these.

Not enjoying getting thrown around constantly. I’m bruised from the awkward chairs, bruised from being flung against my bed rail. I’m a heavy sleeper and can usually sleep through pretty much anything and anywhere but the range of randomly vibrating bed, odd engine and water sounds, and the may different directions and velocities you are thrown around your bed make it pretty hard to sleep through the night.

After 2 days in bed coughing and spluttering and not daring to go upstairs and spread it around the doc came to visit and loaded me up with some cold and flu tablets and thanked me for quarantining myself.

28th – The cold and flu have helped and up I’m up and walking again. The head cold destroys your balance on top of a massively moving ship.

We’d had confirmed today what we expected for awhile – the lost time getting back to the Falklands means we’re not going to Antarctica now. There’s also record ice this year and all our normal landing sites are no go if we made it anyway.

While not actually going to Antarctica on an Antarctic voyage is devastating, I’ve spent 7 days in bed with sea sickness and a cold, so I was not looking forward to spending another 5 days in rough seas to spend 1 morning in Antarctica and probably not actually standing on land.

The team has put together a pretty decent looking few days around the Falklands for us before we have to head back to Ushuaia. It seems to be the best option in an awful situation.

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29th – We’ve arrived back at Stanley. I’m taking full advantage of not being tossed around the boat and washing my hair! Sounds silly but little things are nice. It’s pretty damn hard to have one hand to hold onto the rail so you don’t fall out of the shower and hurt yourself and wash your hair when the boat is flinging you around so having a calm stop can be an exciting moment.

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Now we’ve docked and everyone booted off the ship for the morning  I’ve done a supermarket run of essentials before a hoard of 80 people empty it and John has gone on the coach ride to the Gypsy Cove.

Turns out my 50 pound note I had lying around from when we were last in the UK is out of circulation now and I can exchange in at a British bank  for a new one people will accept– real helpful. Although they take US$ here aswell – not $100 notes – thanks Travelex for always giving me the largest bills you have! I think they’ll be useful when we get to Argentina though. Lucky the Visa card still works – who needs this antiquated paper/plastic currency thing anyway.

John and I crossed paths on my way back to the ship and we did a combined effort on extra essentials at the supermarket – like a bottle of port, hot chocolate, Pringles and chocolate. The alcohol aisle is looking a bit impacted – think there might be a few very sloshed people over the next few days.

The internet had been really flakey in the high seas so using this opportunity in calm waters to get a few updates out.