Whale Watching on Wilhelmina Bay

After returning to the ship early after camping, we were ready for a lower key day of whale watching and resting. We started off with a nap, opting to skip breakfast. The first planned excursion time came sooner than we wanted. CJ decided to sleep and skip it, but I got up. The actual landing time was a bit delayed due to weather, but eventually I landed at Cuverville in our trusty Zodiac. The most unique part of this landing was that it actually had some greenery with Antarctic hair grass growing in spots. Another colony of Gentoo penguins was also there, and we had a good view of them swimming around and through the pack ice that had blown to the shore. Further out there were some magnificent icebergs in the harbor as well.

No whale watching opportunities so far, but plenty of Antarctic vast expanses and penguins!

After the excursion we both went to lunch, both of us hungry after skipping breakfast and camping. We both started with a California Salad (which oddly had surprise chicken), then progressed to a sweet potato soup. For my main I had Gnocchi Cacio e Pepe, and CJ had Vegetarian Aloo Gobi. CJ’s was better! She then had a fruit plate for dessert and I had a surprisingly good crème brûlée (not something I usually enjoy).

For our second landing that day we sailed to Wilhelmina Bay, but by that point the weather had turned, and snow had started to fall. As a result we were caught in the soup with visibility of only about 30 feet or so. We sat upstairs on deck 7 in the Explorer’s lounge for whale watching as three humpbacks (two adults and one calf) swam in the bay endlessly.

The “landing” was happening at Wilhelmina Bay, but became a whale watching cruise. CJ decided to opt out and enjoy the view from the lounge. We went out in our designated boats for what turned out to be dedicated whale watching in the bay. At times there were up to 7 humpbacks roaming around the waters, which kept us all with our heads on a swivel to see where they would pop up next.

I had the opportunity to get some great video on this whale watching excursion of them swimming near our zodiac, and as they exhaled at the surface the noise sounded like an elephant trumpet.

Whale watching on Wilhelmina Bay

CJ regretted not coming later, especially since it was our last hurrah in Antarctica before heading into the open ocean again in the footsteps of Shackleton, to South Georgia. We came back in and enjoyed our last views of the white continent receding into the horizon over dinner, sharing photographs of the whale watching with other passengers.

For dinner, CJ started with diced glazed beetroot with mascarpone and tarragon, balsamic syrup and roasted walnuts, while I started with a “salad” more tasting of parmesan cheese, Parma ham and beetroot. We then both enjoyed a potato and leek soup and a vegetarian moussaka with apple tzatziki. I had a meh mango bavarois with mango salad for dessert, and CJ had a superior mango sorbet. All in all desserts were disappointing, and at this point on the expedition, while there was still considerable variety in the food, we were bored by the cuisine style. Here was our meal plan choices for the day (lunch and dinner, since we skipped breakfast):

And, in the science center area we learned all about Antarctic hair (the plants I saw in Cuverville), and of course the tracking of our journey’s progress on the ship map.

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