— Dane Creek

Day 11b: Peterman Island and Lemaire Channel

(This is part of a series of re-posts from my trip to Antarctica in 2009)

After the Fish Islands zodiac ride and breakfast my plan was to go to sleep for a few hours. Ha. Fat chance. Next thing I know four hours went by and I was still on deck taking pictures of sea ice. We finally made it to open seas just before lunch. I packed my stuff up and went for what was planned to be a 1 hour nap.

It only lasted 45 minutes. Then over the PA we were alerted to two whales off the port side of the ship. Ugh. Grab the camera. Grab a card. Run for the deck. 10 minutes later I had a beautiful 2 minute HD video of a whale mom and kid sounding (bringing their tail out of the water) at the same time with two mountains in the background. Right ON!

After the whales I finally caved and went to bed for 4 hours. Brandon (the expedition leader) warned us in advance that we’d be landing at Peterman Island (anchored at 65° 10.6912 S 64° 07.8261 W) for penguins around 4pm and then having dinner and waiting patiently for good evening light before heading into the Lemaire Channel again. Since that makes for a very late night the extra sleep sounded like a good idea.

Peterman Island was a chance for all the wildlife photographers to take some pictures of penguins. Yawn. Penguins are boring. Sure they’re fun to watch for a bit but shooting them for three hours? Meh.

But all was not lost. In another sign of how surreal this trip is I was standing chatting with Steve Johnson and next thing I know we’re being invited to go on a zodiac cruise of some icebergs on the other side of the island. I ditched my 70-200 2.8 with 1.4 extender for the 17-40mm and started firing away. Icebergs. Puffy clouds and blue sky. Mountains. Water. OMG!!!!11111111one

Oh, and somehow today I managed to shoot another 4 rolls of B&W film. No idea if any of this stuff is going to turn out, but damnit, that yellow filter better make dark skies to go with dark water and light sea ice!

Good evening light turned out to be immediately after dinner at around 8pm. Tons of dark low clouds with the sun peaking in and out and lighting all the mountains and snow around us. So… back out. Shoot. Change lens. Shoot. Change lens. Shoot. And… 250+ more images to work through. Guh.

Dinner tonight, by the way, was a fabulous Malaysian buffet. The best meal of the trip by far.