The Antarctica Diaries – Day 6 – Port Charcot & Petermann Island
by Deb Corbett – Commercial Director Asia Pacific – Ponant Cruises
Deb Corbett is one of our favourite industry professionals. She recently returned from an expedition cruise to Antarctica with her sister Annie. Deb recounts us on her personal cruise experience in February 2020 to Antarctica aboard Ponant’s L’Austral. We will be posting each day’s journal over the next few weeks.
Friday 14 February 2020 – PORT CHARCOT & PETERMANN ISLAND
For the start of Valentine’s Day we joined the expedition team on deck from 6.30am for a scenic navigation through the Lemaire Channel but we couldn’t stay for long as the Red group was first out this morning at 8.30am for a landing at Port Charcot.
An incredible walk to the top of the glacier where Alex proceeded to give us the history of Port Charcot. We then climbed down the mountain to find penguin chicks cuddling into their parents for warmth. However, we discover, in a Penguin lecture by Alex (our Falconer – The Bird Man) that these chicks would unlikely survive as they have been born too late in the season. That their parents were most likely inexperienced and would learn that they need to mate much earlier next season for their chicks to survive. A harsh reality of nature in its rawest form. Alex also told us that French Explorer Dumont D’Urville (the name of one of PONANT’s Explorer ships) named the Adelie Penguin after his wife Adele. I think he must have felt so guilty being away from her for so long that when he arrived back home, he offered her the gift of having a penguin named after her!
Back onboard for lunch and due to the gorgeous day (3 degrees with only a wind speed of 11km/h) we had another BBQ lunch outside.
After lunch the ship made her way to Petermann Island for a zodiac cruise. We step into our zodiac to find that we have Antione, the Ice Man. How lucky as we will be zodiac cruising to Peneau Bay which is referred to as the “Iceberg Graveyard” where icebergs have floated into the bay and become stuck as the bay is very shallow. We also saw seals playing and birds trying to take off for their first flight. The outing was finished by a massive surprise. The hotel manager greeted us on a zodiac where he proceeded to hand us all a glass of Charles Heidsieck French Champagne. Now this is where luxury and authentic expedition meets. What an outing…enjoy the pics of this amazing afternoon.
Back onboard we have our daily recap and briefing on the next day’s activities but it’s a short one today as we all need to get ready for the Black & White Evening and special Valentine’s Day dinner. Cocktails & the roaring twenties swing was the flavour of the night.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment: Day 7 – Neko Harbour & Danco Island