The Leopard- masters of sea, ice and land

Moored in our inlet on the west side of Galindez Island we have been treated to the power and playfulness of the leopard seal, equally impressive on land, ice flow and at sea. Massive and agile, the Leopard can be deceptive, dozing on a flow one moment, the next twisting, rising and diving as it plays or hunts in the water. Here are four of us from Xplore sharing a moment on her flow with a leopard we named Emma. Fortunately she had already fed well! The second photo shows another Leopard after diving under the Zodiac and emerging to see where we were. This play went on for at least five minutes leaving us happy to have shared these moments in nature.

This morning, Thursday 14 Feb, we visited the Ukrainian researchers at the Vernadsky station on Galindez Island. Friendly and hospitable, the team maintain the traditions of the base, including dressing for dinner on Saturdays. They took over from the British in 1996. It was here at the Faraday Base, as it was then known, that the Ozone hole was first identified in about 1960. Galindez is a palace of beauty and science. Its a privilege to be here. Warmed with locally brewed vodka from our Ukrainian friends, we visited Wordie Hut- recently restored by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. The original research station here, the Hut shows the harsh life men lived to be able to improve man’s understanding of meteorology and other key sciences.

To the north the wind is blowing cats and dogs but we are sheltered and just about to enjoy our Valentine’s Day feast of roast lamb, vegetables and red wine!

Bon appetit to you all, where ever you may be.

Team Xplore

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Leopard Seal on Iceberg

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