Robin's Adventures

Antarctic Expedition
A Party with Penguins

Errera Channel: the Antarctic Alps

Some incredible snow covered peaks, sometimes referred to as the Antarctic Alps, surround the Errera Channel, which is about five and a half miles long and located in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Because the channel is somewhat shallow and has a steady current flowing through it, icebergs tend to become trapped there. While this makes for some tricky navigation, it also makes some amazing views.

Crabeater Seals

Crabeater seals, which are the most abundant species of seals on earth, spend their entire life living on pack ice in small groups. In spite of their name, the truth is that these seals do not eat crab, but instead are filter feeders who use their sieve-like teeth to strain krill out of the ocean.

The Errera Channel was filled with activity. In spite of the cold temperatures and the excruciating wind chill, the place to be in order to experience the scenery, the whales, the seals, and the penguins was on deck. It was a most remarkable experience.

Orca Encounter

Orcas are one of the fastest marine mammals and can reach speeds of up to about 35 mph. The dorsal fin on the back of the males can reach six feet in height and on females it is about half that height. We encountered quite a few orca hunting in the Errera Channel.

Gentoos on the Go

The Errera Channel is Gentoo country and we enjoyed watching several small groups of these little guys porpoising through the water and putting on a show just for us.

Humpback Feeding Time

We spent some time observing a large pod of active Humpback whales. These whales have very long flippers than can be as long as one third of the length of their body.

Whales can use their flippers to turn and change direction with extreme speed and accuracy. Engineers have been studying the design of the bumpy knobs and bulges along the front edge of the flippers to see if it would work as a possible design for wind turbine blades.

Paradise Bay

Paradise Bay, which is surrounded by beautiful mountains covered with glaciers, is also home to a colony of Gentoo penguins and Argentina's Brown Research Station.

The research station operated year round from 1951 to 1984. In 1984 the base's doctor, who was not thrilled that he had been ordered to remain over the winter, burned down the base. A ship from a nearby U.S. base rescued the Argentine personnel and now the rebuilt base only operates during the summer season.

Gregarious Gentoos

The Gentoos were there to greet us when we landed at the base. There were many chicks still in nests with parents watching over them.

Can't say I would want to winter here, but at this time of year the scenery was beautiful.

Snow Slide

There is a steep slope that leads to a viewpoint 276 feet above the research station. Once at the top, the easiest, and most fun way, to get back to the base is by sliding down as a human bobsled.

Steve thought this sounded like a lot of fun so Robin made the supreme sacrifice and agreed to stay at the bottom to take photos.

Human Bobsled

Weddell Seal

Weddell seals tend to live in small groups and they prefer gathering on continental ice rather than pack ice. During blizzard conditions, these seals often stay in the water with only their heads sticking out. We saw one enjoying a nap at the base of a glacier.