Well, we thought that the challenge in leaving Port Charcot would be to squeeze between the encroaching ice bergs! What we hadn’t counted on was this hungry Leopard seal! They say pictures don’t lie: as you can see, this Leopard, the most fearsome of Antarctic seals,was keen to cut our ice line. After a lot of shouting he swam away but not before giving us some extraordinary images. If you would like to see more of these photos, visit http://www.icetent.net in a few days time when they will be on the website. The icebergs did clear sufficiently for us to regain the open sea.
Today we had a glorious short voyage north toward Mount Francais, the highest peak on the Antarctic Peninsular, to Port Lockroy , where we will spend two days, visiting the research huts used by the British in the 1950s and 60s and walking the snowfields and rock ridges above the archipelago’s of the islands here. The sky has been clear and the sun warm, casting diamonds of light across the mountains and ice faces along our route. As we passed mountain ridges, cold winds shot across the water onto Xplore to remind us how cold Antarctica can be. Tonight we are safely moored and content in our lot. Last night we had a temperature of more than minus 5 degrees Celsius and a cold, cold wind- altogether elemental; this evening it’s a balmy 3 degrees, though the cockpit has just reported a gust of 30 knots and the windchill takes the breath away. Inside Xplore around our wardroom, its warm and cosy… our supper of a leg of lamb…