South America/Antarctica Cruise on the HAL Zaandam
1/6/18 to 1/28/18

Due to the length of the review, it is in 6 parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top of each page.

Page 1 – Embarkation, Ship
Page 2 -  Dining, Entertainment, Activities, Ports of Call: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Page 3 - Ports of Call: Montevideo, Uruguay; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; Stanley, Falkland Islands; Antarctica Day 1
Page 4 -  Antarctica Day 2; Antarctica Day 3; Antarctica Day 4
Page 5 - Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina; Punta Arenas, Chile; Cruise Chilean Fjords; Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
Page 6 - Ports of Call:  Castro,  Isla Chiloe, Chile; Puerto Montt, Chile; San Antonio (Santiago), Chile

 

Montevideo, Uruguay

As we approached Montevideo, we could see that the port was primarily an industrial port.  There was also an area that looked like a boat graveyard. 

   

The Uraguain navy also had some ships at the port.

From the Zaandam, I could see interesting buildings and structures around the port area, along with the many busses to be used for the ship excursions. 

   

The downtown area looked very close to the port.  That was the reason I had decided to just walk into town, rather than book any kind of a tour.  Since we had an extensive tour when we visited Montevideo in 2011, I was more interested in just enjoying a casual walk through the lovely city.

Once again, we had a lovely sunny day.  As I left the ship, I was given a very good map by the Montevideo tourism office.  It was a good thing I did get it, since the ship map was not very detailed.   At the port entrance, there was a nice welcome sign where people were having their photos taken.  They also had some nautical displays there.

   

The walk into town was enjoyable with lots to look at.

   

From my research, I had done prior to the cruise, I had picked out a couple of primary destinations, the Metropolitan Cathedral and Independence Plaza.  Before I got to them, I came to Zabala Square.  It was a very small park but had a gorgeous statue of Bruno Mauricio de Zabala in the center.  Zabala was the founder of Montevideo and the park is on the site of the original fort that he built there.  They had beautiful reliefs on both sides of the statue.

   

   

I then came to Constitution Square.  It was much larger than Zabala Square; but only had a small fountain in the center.

   

But on one side of the square was my first destination, Metropolitan Cathedral.  I had read mixed reviews about this cathedral; but I rarely pass up the opportunity to visit one.  I am so glad I did; since its beauty exceeded my expectations, particularly the beautiful chapels and statuary all along the walls.  Once again I have a lot more photos than are necessary to show the cathedral's beauty; but I couldn't bare cutting out some of the photos.

   

   

   

       

       

   

   

       

In one area was the tomb of Mariano Soler, the first arch bishop of Montevideo.

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I left the cathedral and walked a couple of more blocks to Independence Plaza.  I knew I was there when I came to the Gateway of the Original Citadel of Montevideo.  The original fort was built in the mid 1700’s and most of it was torn down in 1829.  This piece of it remains.

As I entered the plaza, I could see the landmark of the city, Salvo Palace.  The very recognizable tower rises above the rest of the building.  The building was originally going to be a hotel; but is now mainly offices and some private residences.  Unfortunately, the sun was shining from behind the palace, so the photo doesn’t show its true beauty.

Around the plaza are several statues and monuments with the main one being the Artigas Mausoleum.  There is a statue of Jose Artigas mounted on a horse on top and his remains are located in a room underneath the monument.  Artigas is considered to be the father of Uruguay.

   

   

   

I walked past the plaza to see if I could get a better photo of the palace.  The lighting was much better, so I took a few photos to show how beautiful the top of it is.

I walked over to the Solis Theater to see if they had any tours available.  Unfortunately, it was closed.  I guess I was there too early.

As it was getting closer to mid-day, it was warming up, so I decided to head back to the ship.  I was glad I had done the walking tour early in the day, since it did get pretty warm in the afternoon.

 

Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Cruising into Puerto Madryn, we could see that the city was located in a very dry area. 

As we were approaching the dock, we could see many Man of War jellyfish in the water.  I was glad this wasn’t planned to be a beach day.   There were seals playing in the harbor too; but the jellyfish got the most attention.

On our first visit to Puerto Madryn, we had visited the amazing penguin colony at Punta Tombo.  That is a must see place for a first visit at this port.  The four of us had joined a private tour booked by someone from our Cruise Critic roll call.  We were going to visit Peninsula Valdez with Flamenco Tours (http://flamencotour.com), to see penguins, lion seals and other wildlife that inhabit Patagonia.  Most ships visit this port from the hours of 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, so the tours are based on a full day.  With our ship scheduled to arrive at 10:00 AM, we were to have an abbreviated tour.  After we docked, everyone that wanted to exit the ship lined up in the halls on deck 2.  Nothing was happening.  During the long wait, one woman passed out and had to have medical attention.  Finally, an announcement was made that the ship had not yet been cleared by the local authorities.  After about 30 minutes, we were finally allowed to leave the ship.  Our group of twelve was supposed to meet at the ship exit on the dock.  We kept waiting for the last couple as people continued to exit the ship.  We finally got a call, that they were waiting at the end of dock, which was over 600 feet away.  It was a long dock.  Our van was in the small parking area that you can see in the below photo, so we didn’t have to walk too far; but we did have to stop to pick up the lost member of our group.  His wife wasn’t able to join the group, due to a sudden illness.

The tour finally started around 11:00 AM, which cut an additional hour from the already abbreviated tour.  This was particularly frustrating, since the drive to where we were going on the Peninsula of Valdez was more than a two hour drive each way.  We had a very nice, knowledgeable and helpful guide named Claudia.  Our driver, Leonardo, did an excellent job of getting us everywhere safely.  Conservative, safe drivers are really appreciated, if you have ever had one or a tour that wasn’t.  The van was also decent size with a PA system that was most appreciated for those in the back of the van.

   

On the way Claudia pointed out a aguilucho común, or common eagle, that was nesting on the top of a power pole. 

After driving for a little over an hour, we stopped at the Peninsula Valdez welcome center for a restroom break.  Inside was a large whale skeleton.  It made the stop a little more interesting.

   

During the drive, we regularly saw guanacos along the road.  They are a member of the llama family.  We saw a large group of them at a sheep watering hole.  This part of Patagonia is very dry.  They only receive about nine inches of rainfall a year, primarily in the months of August and September.   It is a tough place survive, so the sheep watering holes are appreciated by all sorts of wildlife.

   

The terrain is rather barren and not much to look at.  With part of the trip on dirt roads, it got dusty at times.  If it weren’t for the occasional wildlife, it would have been even more boring.  At one spot, we saw an owl on a tree along the road, so Leonardo stopped or us to take photos.  He did this regularly, which we all appreciated.

   

Not far down the road, he drove into an area where there were some strange looking animals called maras.  They looked like giant short eared rabbits, but they are a member of the rodent family. 

On a shrub close by one of the maras, was a young owl.  He was so close to us.  It was beautiful creature.

Finally, 2 hours and 45 minutes after leaving the port, we arrived at the penguin area.  We got out of the van and took a short walk along a boardwalk to the penguin area.   We were surprised that a couple feet from the fence were Magellanic penguins standing at attention.  They didn’t pay any attention to the humans gawking at them.

   

   

   

This type penguin lives in burrows, where other types make nests of rock on top of the ground or just stand all the time.  These were the only type of penguins we had seen on our first South America cruise.

There were penguins in the ocean at the bottom of the hill.  That must be quite a trek with their short stride.

We got back in the van for a very short drive to see some elephant seals at the Caleta Valdez Mirador Viewpoint.  Once again, we had a boardwalk to the viewing area.  The large elephant seals were lying around in large groups.  Every once in a while, one of them would raise their head; but there was minimal action going on.

   

There was also an island that was covered with regular seals.  Some were swimming around.

While at this parking lot, I saw a car that we had seen previously on the road that had gotten my attention.  The rental company was Rental Car Dubrovnik.  I knew the car hadn’t been driven to Patagonia from Dubrovnik, Croatia; but thought it was a strange name for an Argentine rental car company.

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We then drove a short distance for a lunch and restroom break; along with some elephant seal viewing.  The food selection there was sparse; but the beer was cold and most refreshing in the dry climate.

There were several paths to see the elephant seals.    Some going all the way down to the water line.  Since I could get close enough to the elephant seals from above with my telephoto lens, I only went about half way down the hill.  Once again, the seals were just lying around in groups.  It was pretty much like we saw at the previous stop.  Watching animals sleep isn’t that entertaining.

   

   

After the lunch/viewing stop, we had to get back on the road for the two hour plus drive back to the ship.  On the way, we saw more guanacos; and in one area, Leonardo had to stop the van to let a group of rheas cross the road.

   

As we were approaching town, we could see the Zaandam at the end of the very long dock.

We got back to the ship right at 5:00 PM, just like we requested.  It is always satisfying to have a tour company that gets you back to the ship at the time you request.  I was able to get a photo of the ship exit ramp, which had been covered with people in the morning.

 

 

Stanley, Falkland Islands

Other than Antarctica, this was the one port that I was most looking forward to visiting.  I have always wanted to be able see King Penguins.  They are the second largest, after Emperor Penguins; and in my opinion, the prettiest of the species.  The Falkland port stops are regularly missed due to wind or bad weather.  With it being a tender port, good seas are a requirement.  There was nothing we could do about the weather, so we could just cross our fingers and pray for decent weather.  The other concern was getting tender tickets.  Ship tours get first priority on the tenders and they don’t need to get tender tickets, since their excursion ticket serves as a tender ticket.  We and many on the roll call had booked private excursions to go to Volunteer Point, where the largest King Penguin colony lives.  Our tour guide wanted us to get off the ship as quickly as possible, since we were only in port from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM.  With the tour being 5-6 hours, and us having to be back on the ship by 4:30 PM, we needed to be off the ship and start the tour no later than 10:00 AM.  We were told that the tender ride was a half hour long, which meant that we needed to get a tender ticket for no later than 9:30 AM.

The tender tickets were to be handed out starting at 8:00 AM on the sea day before we got to the Falklands.  I originally thought that if I got there by 7:30 AM, I should be able to get a decent tender ticket time.  Before I went to bed, I got concerned and decided to go earlier.  On tender ticket morning, I went up to the Lido buffet and had a quick continental breakfast and went down to where the tickets were to be handed out.  There were already three people ahead of me at 6:45 AM.  Two of them had gotten there at 6:00 AM.  When you absolutely, positively have to get an early tender ticket, you have to arrive early.  Thank goodness I did.  It didn’t take long for a line to start growing quickly around 7:00 AM.  Around 7:10 AM, some crew and equipment for the tender ticket distribution arrived.  There was a big discussion about where to put the tables and other things.  Since they do this several times a cruise, it would seem like it would be the same every time.  Apparently, it isn’t as easy to set up as we would think.  At least, they were able to tell people where to line up, since no one knew where they should be standing.  By 7:30 AM, the line was quite long.  They posted the tender ticket times on a video screen. 

When the tickets were handed out, there were only seven 8:15 AM tickets.  The first three people took them, since each person could get as many tickets as they needed for their group.  I was able to get 8:40 AM tickets which were fine with us.  In talking with some people that lined up at 7:30 AM, they got tickets after 11:00 AM.  Some would be able to get on an earlier tender begging and waiting as soon as the tenders began loading.  I believe that a lot of people who had ship excursions probably also waited for tender tickets, which provided some extra seats on each tender.  With a maximum capacity of 70 people per tender, most people had to wait to get off the ship.  I later talked to some people that couldn’t go to Volunteer Point, since they got off the ship too late.  I can’t imagine going that far and missing the chance to see the King penguins.   With the weather forecast showing strong winds for the next day, I was concerned that even with having decent tender tickets, we might not even get to go to the island.

During the enrichment talk about the Falklands, we were told that the cost for internet is very expensive there.  Below is the price in British Pounds.  With the current exchange rate, the cost in US $ is currently 41% higher.  Ridiculously expensive!

The next day when we anchored, the seas didn’t look too rough and they were putting the ship’s lifeboats down into the water to use as tenders.  We had been concerned since the fog horns were blowing a good part of the night.  When I went on deck, I could see the fog still out on the ocean; but not near us, thank goodness.

It looked like there would be tender service and we would get to visit the Falklands.  We went down to deck one forward to wait to be called for our tender.  The couple that had been just ahead of me in the tender ticket line was waiting for their 8:15 AM ticket to be called.  It was never called.  When they called our 8:40 AM tickets, they were told to go on our tender.  Once again, the tender process was poorly organized.  It was like they had never done it before.

Once on the tender, the ride was surprisingly smooth, even with the pretty high winds.  Carol thought it was the smoothest tender ride she had ever been on.  We had been told that the ride would take 30 minutes; but it only took 17.  We were so glad to actually be on the Falklands.  We quickly found our tour company representative from Estancia Excursions (http://estancia-excursions.com).  We were assigned an older fellow, but younger than us, to be our driver/tour guide.  His name was Tony.  He was quite a character with a dry sense of humor that kept us entertained during the day.  During the tour, he told us that he was the father of the owner of the company, Nyree, whom I had been working with when making tour arrangements.  He has been doing tours for twelve years, plus he has a large sheep farm that we passed on the drive.

Tony had a Range Rover that was the type vehicle needed for this type excursion.

In my research, I knew that it was a long drive from the port to Volunteer Point, with much of it being on gravel road and most of the time being off road.  I had warned Carol, Barbara and Hans about it when I made the booking.  But all of them agreed that it would be worth it to see King penguins.  After all, how bad can it really be.  They do these tours almost every day.

When the drive started, it was on a paved two-lane road.  It didn’t take long for us to turn onto a nice gravel road.  This was nicer than I had expected.  The terrain was so much prettier than the dry Patagonia area we had been on during our Peninsula Valdez excursion.  Tony was telling us about life on the Falklands and what we would be seeing when we arrived at Volunteer Point. 

   

   

We passed by a fence where people had left their boots hanging on it.

We came to a fence that had the Falkland Islands flag blowing in the wind. We would be stopping at this place for a quick restroom break before going off road.

The start of the path looked pretty easy, with a nice path going through the field.  Then it became real “off road”.  We were going in ditches and driving up steep inclines.  The ride was fairly rough.  Hans and I were enjoying the adventure.  Barbara and Carol, not so much.  Carol was not happy with her husband for letting her go on this excursion.  Several of the Estancia vehicles were driving together; but some of them took slightly different routes and also appeared to be driving a bit faster.  Tony was the more conservative driver; which was good for the girls.  The off-road portion of the drive was only about 12 miles; but it lasted an hour and a half. 

   

We were quite pleased when red-roofed Volunteer Point chief ranger’s house came into view.  Close by we could see rows of off-road vehicles in a parking area.  We had finally arrived and were very happy to be able to get out of the car and see penguins.  We were so lucky that we were visiting when the weather was dry, sunny and relatively warm.     

   

In the distance, we could see a small group of Gentoo penguins closest to us and then a large group of penguins that looked like Kings; but we would need to get closer.

   

Since I had not previously seen Gentoo’s up close, I did take a quick look at them.  They are cute.

As we walked toward the Kings, I was amazed at how many there were in the group.  In photos I had previously seen from Volunteer Point, it was a smaller group.  These penguins were so beautiful.  The babies still had their newborn fur on them in different stages of molting.

   

   

   

   

They were so funny to watch.  Most entertaining. 

   

I had to include a couple videos to show what the experience was like and to show what they sounded like.  The first one shows a king chasing another one. 

On the second one you can hear the honking of the penguins, but I wish that I hadn't panned so quickly.

I took a photo of Barbara and Hans in front of the King group; and they took mine.

   

I got a kick out of the baby King that hadn’t lost any of his fur yet.  He was standing at the edge of the ring almost on the outside of it, like he was embarrassed he hadn’t grown up yet.

   

Up on the hill above the group of Kings, were a few very tall Kings that seemed to be watching over the group.  When I walked over to them to take photos, they appeared to be almost 3 feet tall.  Perhaps they were the elders of the community.

   

Also sharing the grounds were different looking geese than I am used to seeing.  The one with the stripes is a Norwegian Goose.

There were also Kings heading down to the water. 

I just couldn’t take enough photos of these beautiful penguins.  Their coloring is just so striking and gorgeous.

   

While watching the activity, one penguin checked on its egg, so I was able to get a photo of it.

Hans actually got a photo of a baby still being kept by its mother.  I appreciate him letting me use it in the review.

We then walked over to the Gentoo colony to watch their antics.  Once again, there were lots of babies and interesting interaction going on.  The babies were just too cute.

   

       

There was one bully that was squawking and picking on other penguins smaller than him.

   

 Tony had told us that there was one Rock Hopper penguin in the reserve.  While walking around, someone told me that it was living with the Gentoos.  Someone had to point him out, since he was in a burrow when we first got there.  Eventually, he started walking around some.  He was a ratty looking fellow, because he was still molting; and I am sure he felt very out of place being with Gentoos and Kings.

Because Carol couldn’t take her scooter in the colony, she wasn’t sure she would be able to walk all the way to the Kings.  I had hoped she would be able to, since they were so magnificent.  She was taking her time getting down the mild sloping field.  When she got closer to the Kings, she had to go all the way to see them in their full beauty.  I was quite proud that she was able walk that far and took her photo with the Kings.

Tony had told us that he had box lunches for us when we got back to the Range Rover.  Since we were getting close to going back time, we headed for the parking lot.  While there, I was able to get a photo of Tony with his boss and daughter, Nyree.  He was very proud of how she had built up the business. 

As we were leaving other vehicles were also heading back, a few in a convoy.

Tony took a different route than the others.  I assume that he thought it would be a bit easier on the girls.  The girls felt differently and swear that he was trying to bump them to death! 

   

On the way in, Tony had pointed out a plant called Diddle Dee, that grows all over the area.  One of the enrichment speakers had also discussed that it’s seeds can be used to make tea and jellies; but it requires a lot of sugar, since it is bitter.  He pulled over to an area where it was growing, so I took some photos.  It is different looking.  I liked the colorful fern type plant, since there wasn’t much color in the fields we were driving in.

   

We could see the other vehicles up ahead on a different route.  They were pretty far ahead of us.  In order to drive through this area, Tony would have to constantly change directions to get around areas that were too wet and/or uncrossable.  We kept worrying that he would get stuck and we would have a problem getting back to the ship.  Every time we would go into a ditch, I could imagine us getting stuck.  At one point we did, and Tony couldn’t get us out.  He called up one of his associates, who wasn’t too far ahead of us to pull us out.  He came back to us, attached a strap and we were back on our way.  I had seen videos during my research of this happening occasionally.  I would think it would be very common, especially when it was raining.

As is normally the case, the drive back seemed quicker than the drive out.  We were also able to appreciate the beauty of the area.  The terrain is quite unusual in that there are large rocks all over the place.  They had been dragged there by glaciers at one time.  I had never seen this type of geologic phenomenon before. 

   

At last we were coming back into the town of Stanley.  Tony asked if we wanted to stop at the shopping area, which was close by for souvenirs or be taken back to the ship.  Carol headed for the ship, while the rest of us started checking out the shops for King penguin souvenirs.  In town was an interesting church that had an arch made out of whale bones.  The enrichment speaker had talked about it a few days earlier.  The exterior of the church was attractive and the whale bone arch most impressive.  We also were fascinated with the beautiful flowers all around the church grounds.

   

   

The interior was relatively plain.

When we finished shopping, we headed back to get a tender.  The line was very long.  Fortunately for me, Carol was still waiting in line, so I was able to join her.   The last tender was supposed to be at 4:30 PM and it was only 4:10 PM.  Several of the ship tours to Volunteer Point had not even returned yet, so we knew the ship would be leaving late.  The ship eventually left the Falklands an hour late at 6:00 PM.

The tender ride back was also relatively fast and smooth.  It had been an awesome touring day.  I couldn’t have been happier and still so excited that we got to see King penguins. 

 

Antarctica – Day 1

With the big day finally here, I couldn’t wait to get out on deck to see Antarctica.  With the temperature being only 32 degrees, I bundled up in my cold weather attire.   I was outside by 6:30 AM.  It was cold, and the wind made it colder.  In the distance, I could see some of Antarctica’s outer islands.  I was glad that I had my new longer telephoto lens.  But it couldn’t cut through the morning haze.

   

I headed up to the Lido buffet for a quick breakfast, so I could watch for birdlife before we arrived at our first Antarctic destination, Admiralty Bay, on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands.  I had hoped to see more Albatross; but I never saw any in Antarctica.  There were lots of Petrols flying around this day.

I hung around the aft Promenade deck for the 7:30 AM wildlife watch with Wallis.  Once again, there was a large group hoping to see something.  Wallis would point out the various types of birds; but most of them were relatively small and not worth trying to take photos of.  As we approached Admiralty Bay, the Promenade deck started to fill up with people.  Most people weren’t yet aware of where they could go for the best viewing locations.

   

My favorite spot for our time in Antarctica was on the bow deck, which was accessible from the front of the deck 3 promenade.  It provided the most open view of the front and both sides of the ship.  Plus, everyone was able to pose with the ship's bell.  If something was on either side, it was easy to walk over to get a better view if needed.  Of course, the down side was that if there was wind, you couldn’t avoid it.  However, the wind was reduced some at the back of the bow deck. 

   

The other popular location was on deck 6, right below the bridge.  I tried this area once; but it was not practical for me, since it was difficult to move from one side to the other and was just too crowded.  Another kind of hidden spot was on deck 8, starboard, where there was a small area just off the fitness center. 

There were many areas on the back of the ship for viewing, that were partially protected from the wind; but they were not good for seeing what was approaching, so it was easy to miss wildlife from there.   My second favorite viewing area was on deck 9.  The Crow’s Nest was very popular, since it has an excellent 180-degree view; but the windows were dirty, so it wasn’t desirable for taking photos.  There are some restrictions in Antarctica regarding cleaning windows while there.  I preferred the open decks behind the Crow’s Nest.  They gave a higher view, which was better for taking photos of the tops of the ice bergs and reflections in the water.  Of course, when there was any kind of precipitation, the Promenade deck was the best place.  It also had areas that provided wind protection.

As we got into Admiralty Bay, our Antarctic lecturers took turns telling us about what we were seeing.  These announcements could be heard on the open decks, Crow’s Nest, or on channel 44; which also showed the video feed toward the front of the ship.  What we were seeing was low snow covered stark mountains.   The guest lecturer would tell us in the presentation later in the day, that this is the lousy viewing part of Antarctica.  We were still thrilled to be seeing it.  Plus, the weather was pretty good, with the seas being pretty mild and we even had some blue sky.

   

   

   

They pointed out a penguin rookery along the water.  During the cruise, it was normally easy to spot them, since the snow was stained with penguin guano.  There were lots of penguins there.  We had also just seen penguins jumping in the water.  That was always a thrill to watch.  I wish I could have gotten video of them; but they were just too fast for me. 

   

In one area, there was a Polish exploration station.

Next to the station was a small lighthouse with a statue below it.

Back on deck, people had discovered the deck 6 forward viewing area.  On the bow, the Zaandam bell became a very popular photo opp.  I couldn’t pass it up either.

Continuing on, we came to another penguin colony.  This one was on a colorful area of the island.

   

I was just having a wonderful time seeing this amazing and most different part of the world.  Everywhere we looked were different glaciers and just beautiful views.  The sun wasn’t shining on the landscape; but it was still breathtaking. 

   

   

A large tanker was cruising through the area.  I would presume that it was filling up the fuel tanks at the various stations we would see while we were in Antarctica.

I was attracted to the large crevices in the ice.  I couldn’t resist taking photos of them.  I also liked to take photos of the icebergs that showed the area below the water.  Everything was so unique and fascinating to look at.

   

   

After we left this area, we crossed the Bransfield Strait heading to the Antarctic Sound.  We had time for lunch before the next planned viewing spot.  It didn’t take long to realize that the schedule wasn’t dependable.  The Captain was regularly changing the route to get us to the best viewing weather; which we certainly appreciated.  As a result, I was either on deck most of the time during the four days or watching channel 44 to see if we were approaching something.  I would also look out our cabin window periodically to see if we were near something to take photos of. 

The schedule had shown that we would be at viewing locations at 4:00 PM and even 8:00 PM, so I wasn’t sure when to rest or eat between viewings.  Mid-afternoon, while lying in bed, I glanced out the window and couldn’t believe what was passing us by.  It was a massive iceberg, that I could only see part of through the window.  By now, I had a system to make sure I could quickly put on all of my outdoor gear quickly.  I rushed up the staircase to the Promenade above us.  All around us were massive icebergs.  They are called tabletop or tabular icebergs.  They were amazing!  I had previously seen photos of them; but nothing compares to seeing the real thing.  They are like city blocks floating on the water.  The icebergs are 70-80 feet tall or like a 7-8 story building.  They are just unbelievable.

   

   

   

   

As we were leaving the area, there was an unusual cloud formation above one of the giant icebergs in the distance.

The weather got worse as the afternoon progressed. The seas became rough and blowing snow from the mountains obscured our view.  The viewing for the day was pretty much finished; but what an amazing day it had been.  And this was just the first of four days in Antarctica.

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