Day 11 – Yankee Harbour / Half Moon Island

Our final day in Antartica! The Plancius had taken us to the Shetlend Islands overnight to start our journey home, but there were two more places to explore and discover.

Yankee Harbour was decidedly different terrain. The other days had been hikes through snow, but this was a beach lined with black rocks and made for easy walking, both for us and the wildlife.

And all the wildlife showed up for our final morning to see us off. It was hard not to hear the elephant seals on the beach, and when they decided they needed to get somewhere, it was a production. The whales also showed up just off shore playing around, almost as if to distract us from all the onshore activity.

The penguins were of course walking around, albeit a bit quicker on the rocks and with fewer falls. This landing provided us with our best glimpse at the rookery nests. After mating, the penguins take turns sitting on the egg, letting their partner run off for days to feed. We were lucky enough to see some babies clammoring for food sitting under their dads. Milder weather made it a great time to just walk about, pose for plenty of pictures, and hang out as a group.

Next was off to Half Moon Island and more penguins. There were chinstraps and gentoo penguins here as we had seen other places. I’m sure this would have been an exciting find earlier in the trip, but with all of the great wildlife, camping, hiking, and kayaking, this stop served more as a send off celebration for our trip. Charlie made sure to take a bunch of pictures on her camera, clean off her boots real good as per protocol, and then hop back on the Zodiac to start our journey back across the Drake

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