The day started a little later than usual because of the late night NY celebrations from the previous night. Thought we didn’t party too hard or stayed up too late in the night, we were still exhausted from all the activities.
I pushed myself out of bed that morning and started the day with a wonderful breakfast, as always. Then we started our first landing at 10 am, an hour later than usual. We were the first on the zodiac to go to Useful Island. Not sure why it’s named so. On the zodiac ride to the island, we saw a crab-eater seal and leopard seal basking on one of the huge icebergs. Right next to our landing site, a Weddell seal was happily sleeping as well. It turned its head to look at us, then went back to sleep. Many penguins stood right by our landing site to welcome us.
Useful Island is an amazing island situated in the middle of the Gerlache Strait off the coast of Graham Land. It was discovered by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition of 1897-99, under Gerlache. This island is rarely visited and even more rarely landed on, so in the spirit of Antarctic expedition cruising we will be truly exploring this amazing site this morning.
Most of the penguins here were Gentoo, and we spotted a few chinstraps as well. The hike up was a bit tiring, not only because of the elevation, but also because the weather was really warm and we were bundled up in a thick parka jacket.
After a lot of huffing and puffing, we made it to the top – to see the panoramic views. Oh, so worth it! We got rid of those parka jackets and enjoyed the nippy weather on top of the island. We were the first people on the island that morning, and were the last on the zodiac back to the cruise.