Antarctica – February 5, 2018…Pleneau…Check this out!…Amazing!…

There we were, sitting on a Zodiac boat in Pleneau Bay sipping on French champagne.  Was that ever fun!

The excitement keeps coming and coming. This exquisite ship and its staff go over the top to make this an exceptional experience for all of its passengers, even when circumstances may not be ideal. Based on languages spoken, all passengers are broken up into color groups, red, green, yellow with blue for us, with many of our English telling new friends.

Tom is taking a sip of champagne.

When announcements are made, the color groups are called, one at a time, to board the Zodiac boats.  On Saturday morning, we were scheduled to board a Zodiac at 7:00 am. After a rough start to the morning, we decided to wait and go aboard at the end of all the color groups. This proved to be a mistake.  By coincidence, we ran into new friends Marg and Steve, who’d had the same idea.

Now, we aren’t the type of people looking for special favors or expecting to be given alternate spots in a line. We patiently await our turn, regardless of the circumstances. With the ship’s careful planning to get each passenger a whole experience, when the last boat arrived, a group of 10 was taken before us, and we were told we wouldn’t be able to go. We’d missed our opportunity, and we headed back indoors to get out of the hot and bulky clothing.

All 10 of us on the boat were handed champagne flutes while Chris filled our glasses.

Within moments, the ship’s hotel manager Florent approached us, stating he would find a solution for the four of us to get out on the Zodiac for at least a 30-minute expedition of Paradise Bay instead of the planned 75-minute tour. We insisted it wasn’t necessary. It was our fault we’d failed to get to board promptly.

We waited patiently in the Main Lounge on deck three, not expecting it would work out. Voila! Florent and Cruise Director William made it happen. They didn’t want us to miss this special outing on the Zodiac boat. 
Chris, a high-ranking naturalist on board, drove the Zodiac boat and hosted the toasting of the champagne.

The four of us boarded the ten-passenger boat, and our driver took us on a superb tour of the area. As it turned out, the term was almost for an hour, and we were grateful, promising we’d never miss a scheduled time again, and we haven’t.

The champagne and flute carriers were loaded onto all of the Zodiac boats.
There have been no less than 15 landings and Zodiac excursions since the onset of the cruise.  I missed one early on when it was a steep climb when my knee was at its worst.  Instead, Tom went on his own and took excellent photos.
We were told we’d stay away from most of the icebergs, many of which could collapse at any moment.

As for all the remainder of the expeditions, we walked as much as I could, at times avoiding the highest and most challenging climbs. The doctor has said I could walk but not climb. 

A mushroom-shaped iceberg was much more enormous than it appears in the photo.

We don’t feel as if we’ve missed a thing. We took thousands of photos, experiencing exciting and unusual sightings fulfilling all of our goals in visiting our seventh and final continent, the vast Antarctic and its many wonders.

Our favorite bartender, Nick.  He’s quite a guy!

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the people we’ve met, much of the food, the entertainment, and the conscientious and friendly staff, from the captain to the bartenders, including Nick, our favorite as shown in the above photo, to our cabin steward Ike, all of whom are highly savvy as to the utmost in customer service.

A Crbcatcher Seal was taking the plunge.

There’s a reason for paying the “big bucks” for this type of cruise, and it’s evidenced each day by extras and surprises planned to make our Antarctic experience all the more memorable.

Icebergs are so exciting and unusual.  This was massive, many stories high,

As shown in today’s photos, we all had an unexpected special event of being served real French champagne aboard our Zodiac when we toured Pleneau, known as the “graveyard for icebergs,” where many icebergs end up in this region based on prevailing winds and tides.
Seeing each individually unique iceberg stacked up in this area and being served champagne simultaneously made this an exceptional experience, as shown in today’s photo.
Crabcatcher Seals lounging on an iceberg.

Tom doesn’t care for champagne, so he passed his off to Marg, who happened to be on this ten-passenger boat with us (along with her husband, Steve). I wasn’t about to drink two flutes of champagne when it was still early in the day. 

Tom with his Antarctic sunburn.

Neither of us cares to drink any alcoholic beverages during daylight hours, finding it makes us sleepy and out of sorts. We wanted to feel great to continue to enjoy every aspect of this spectacular cruise, one we’ll never forget and realistically one we’ll never make again. For us, coming to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Although, we’ve met a few passengers who’ve returned a few times, including one glaciologist scientist, Adie, who’s made this her 9th and last visit. Indeed, she’ll be sad to say goodbye to this beautiful part of the world that some adventurers can’t get out of their system.

A passing Silver Cloud ship.
We have so much more to share, including numerous whale sightings and a ship’s party on an ice floe! Please check back!

Photo from one year ago today, February 5, 2017:

Late 30’s model Ford at an old car show in Geeveston, Tasmania. For more photos, please click here.