The best get going at 4AM

This morning’s stop was at Gold Harbour.  Since there are just under 200 passengers on board, we are divided up into two groups for each landing. We are the Endurance group indicated by a green dot on our ship cards.  It’s been great to be the green group.  We have a record of being either the later group to go which allows us an extra hour of sleep.  And the days where we have been the earlier group, the weather has turned just as we get back and the second group has rain, sleet, and generally crappy weather.

This morning the two landings were at 4 and 6.  That’s AM.  The 4 AM red group was going for the sunrise.  And we decided we wanted to see it.  So we got up and switched groups.  Usually this isn’t an option but the number of people willingly getting up at that time was really low and there was room for us.

So up at 3:30 and on the beach at 4 AM.  Where it proceeded to rain, sleet, and snow all at the same time.

This was Keith’s favorite beach even with the weather.

The highlight was the Elephant Seals – the largest seal in the world.

Notice the crappy weather.

The seals on the beach were juveniles and were training to protect their territory.  They were constantly play fighting and it’s hilarious to watch a ton of blubber ripple as they move up and down the beach.

This cute little guy was the greeting party when we first landed.  His mother was out to sea hunting so he was one his own.  He was so desperate for attention that he tried to suckle Lisa’s boots and gloves then curled up in a pile of camera gear for a nap.

Oh.  There were also penguins.

These little one’s just look cold:

We were back on board shortly after 6 and back to sleep by 6:30.

Our afternoon tour of Drygalski Fjord was canceled due to bad weather.  It was the first time we had an activity canceled.  So instead, we headed to Antarctica.

By early evening, we were fully in the midst of storm with 30 foot swells and 50 MPH winds.  It was during this storm that I was finally able to reach my mom by phone to wish her a Merry Christmas.  Yep.  A phone call from Antarctica and I got a great deal on the price – a mere $10/minute.

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