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‘I am hopeful that Antarctica in its symbolic robe of white will shine forth as a continent of peace as nations working together there in the cause of science set an example of international cooperation’.  Richard E. Byrd
Let’s all hope the Antarctic Treaty remains intact, and that all respective nations continue to accord this vast white wilderness the respect and reverence she deserves.

Today is another of the many days down here where superlatives fail. We enjoyed Dallmann Bay this morning, by Zodiac surrounded by a kaleidoscope of Antarctic ice and landscapes. In a bay out of sight of the ship 6 Zodiacs gathered to enjoy the A&K champagne stop. We tethered our boats to one another creating a flotilla, and enjoyed champagne and/or orange juice. I was asked to make an impromptu toast, so I stood on the front box and proposed a toast to about 50 guests.  In it I mentioned how I hoped this trip to Antarctica with A&K would be a seminal and significant part of their Life’s tapestry. Some kids onboard are as young as 7, others are over 90 – all with a dream realised, to visit Antarctica. The youngsters will only realise how lucky they are when they are older. We drank a toast to our combined future; may it be healthy and happy. Antarctica in all her splendour surrounded us.

Over lunch we repositioned, whilst glorious scenery slipped past. The afternoon was spent ashore on Cuverville Island. Under a blue sky, without a breath of wind, it was positively balmy. What an auspicious last afternoon for this group of guests in Antarctica. Many stripped off their parkas and life jackets as soon as they landed. Hats and sunblock were certainly the order of the day. Some hiked up the hillside, and slid down. Others walked to the penguin colony. Many just stood and stared in open wonder. Perversely JD found a 200lt plastic drum of old oil floating in the bay. Pete towed it to the landing site, and with great difficulty we loaded it onto a Zodiac, to be taken to the ship and removed from Antarctica. I like to believe it fell off a ship in a storm. It was a dream afternoon in every sense.
As if this was not enough, a number of Humpback Whales appeared around the ship before Recaps. They hung out with a multitude of birds, obviously feeding on krill, for a long time. Tail-slapping, lunge feeding, deep diving displaying their flukes and generally affording us an unparalleled view of these beautiful cetaceans. Even their 5 meter long pectoral fins were clearly visible.

We now have a 48-60 hour crossing back to Ushuaia, across the Drake. We turn ship and guests around in Ushuaia on 6 January, and head for South Georgia again. Still dodging Covid bullets…

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