After spending a tiring morning at Useful Island, it was time to take it easy, a zodiac cruise. We didn’t really have a good cruise around Cierva Cove (mostly because of the people on the Zodiac and the Zodiac driver who was busy riding the zodiac as fast as he could without letting us enjoy the sights), we were a bit skeptical about this zodiac cruise. Thankfully, the expedition leader took the reigns and we were in for an amazing ride!
The Argentine base of Almirante Brown is located on the Antarctic Peninsula mainland near Skontrop Cove in Paradise Harbour. It is named for William Brown, an Irish immigrant who became a national hero in Argentina and is known as the father of the Argentine Navy. In 1984, the station’s doctor went slightly mad and burned the base down. All seven members of the base staff were subsequently rescued by the American research vessel Polar Duke. The Argentinians sent down a crew every summer to rebuild the base but, as many other Argentine bases, it has been closed in recent years. The empty base makes for a nice landing where you can view the station and the Gentoo penguins that call it home. A steep hike up the snow-covered hill is rewarded with a magnificent view of the entire bay.
We cruise in the cold amongst towering mountains capped with glaciers and ice of the old. Some looked like they were covered in soft ice cream from afar. The calm still waters reflected these mountains perfectly just before our Zodiacs disturbed them. The entire scenery around us left us breathless. The pictures posted in this blog do not do justice to the place we saw. It truly was a Paradise!
As time went by, the weather got colder, and many of the passengers on other zodiacs went back to the ship. We stayed on and visited the Chile base station. We spent a few minutes there and returned to our ship. My hands were so cold that I thought it would take an hour to get defrosted and it did!
We ended the day with a sumptuous dinner on the patio of the Paradise Bay, couldn’t ask for more.