Trinity Island, Antarctica
TRINITY ISLAND-MIKKELSEN HARBOUR on 11/14
I Zodiac’d around the harbor. I saw:
- penguins porpoising through the water, like dolphins
- penguins propelling themselves out of the water, like rockets
- penguins not sticking the landing and skidding
- penguins not propelling themselves high enough and repelling off the snowy ice wall
- indecisive penguins thinking and hesitating before belly-flopping into the water
- an Argentine shelter in faded orange (according to Michael, our guide, “not much, but if you’re stranded, it’ll look like the Ritz-Carlton”)
- a swiss cheese iceberg
- the rocks on the bottom of the harbor–black and grey stones, with blue chunks of ice
- a blue-eyed shag at rest and lifting off
In the afternoon, we motored down into the area known as Cierva Cove…the mainland of Antarctica.
As we zodiac’d around the bay, our Zodiac driver showed us different types of glacier ice-crystal clear and styrofoam-like white. We felt the brash ice go under the rough-tough Zodiacs. And again saw penguins porpoising, jumping and landing. There was some moss growing on the mountain-sides-that is about as “good as it gets” for botany. The calmness of the sea made the harbor a mirror for the mountains. The sun was out, the cloud formations were perfect-another beautifully perfect few hours.
It was in these golden hours of magical light-that we landed on the continent proper. We made landfall at a deserted Argentine base that gets painted regularly to still have entitlement to the area (“they’ve only budgeted for fuel and paint,” Jason the guide told us). Way up the hill, there were several buildings painted bright red/orange. We climbed past a grotto of the Virgin Mary on the mountain top. We sank into snow as deep as our hips in some places…and maybe it was even deeper than that. The colors were fantastic. The view amazing. It was sunny-brilliantly warm. We shed hats, gloves and some parkas. We got the rosy-cheeked Antarctic tan, with the raccoon stripe of white across our eyes. Funny.
It was Tim, the expedition leader’s, birthday-and someone brought a sled. Squeals of laughter and delight as some slid down on the sled…and from others (like me) who didn’t like the look of a deep snow walk down, and just sat in the snow to slide down the mountain on our back-sides.
Again, words cannot describe it. The place is expansive. The colors and light defy naming. I only hope the photographs help us remember it all!