Antarctica and Patagonia: An Adventure on the Seabourn Quest – Part V (Peterman Island)

Our fourth day of our Antarctic Adventure on the Seabourn Quest brought us to Peterman Island.  It was, for me, my favorite to date…and it is a place that Seabourn had never visited before.
Seabourn Quest at Peterman Island, Antarctica
Peterman Island, Antarctica

Beside the beauty of the area with small granite outcrops with nesting Adelie and Gentoo penguins,

Adelie Penguin
Adelie Penguin and chick.
My vote for the cutest penguin chicks
Adelie Penguin and chicks

Adelie penguins are always rushing around and
seem to slide on their bellies
a lot more than the other penguin species
While the Adelie mother feeds only her chick, the chicks
try to get fed by all mothers.  What is a mother to do?
Run Away!  Run Away!

Gentoo Penguin feeding time

it is home to Antarctic cormorants (also known as Blue-eyed Cormorants or Shags).

Antarctic Cormorant
Antarctic Cormorant fledglings

What is really interesting is that all three of these species nest literally next to each other on the same outcrop with no conflicts at all.

There were also snowy sheathbills (the only “land” bird in Antarctica).  If you look close they are very ugly and, to me, are sort of the New York City pigeons of the Antarctic.  (The Seabourn Expedition team refers to them as “Antarctic chickens”, but I think they are just being kind.)

Snowy Sheathbill

But there was something else:  Enough space to have some alone time with nature.  I was able to watch chicks feed, cormorants fish, gulls soar, seals laze, Gentoos hang out and Adelies run everywhere.  And even with all of that activity, and the penguins screaming at each other, there was a sort of silence and peacefulness that seems to me to be unique from the other areas visited.

Antarctic Cormorant
A Gentoo penguin checking out the view
A crabeater seal chilling out

I must take a moment here, as I did on Peterman Island, to reflect on my Antarctic Adventure on the Seabourn Quest to date.  This is an incredible experience and finding something to criticize is difficult.   The fact is I want more.  I would like two experiences a day…or longer time ashore.  I have had, but want more, one on one time with various naturalists. I know I am being a bit greedy, but there is something so very special about this place; it not being “bigger than life”, but being as big as life gets.

There are other places that have touched my nature soul, but there is so much more there than say the uniqueness of the Galapagos, the energy of the African savanna or the mystery of the Amazonian jungle.  Heck I live in Lake Tahoe, California – one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Trust me, I am not denigrating any aspect of those very special places.  It is just that the Antarctic is, well, the Antarctic.

That said, and back to reality, for the vast majority spending an hour or so each day venturing out is more than enough.  In fact, for more than you might expect, heading out each day is more than they want to do. Of course, there are those who simply cannot do it and those that are on the Seabourn Quest and just happen to be in Antarctica.

Anyway, after a few hours, it was time to head back to the ship and a tub soak and then Caviar on Ice.

It is a fun event, but with so many lined up for caviar and champagne, vodka or aquavit, I quietly shook my head thinking, “This is Seabourn.  These folks have been eating caviar pretty much every day and the champagne flows even more so.  Why are they acting like this is something special?”  I guess it is just me being a bit curmudgeonly.

But something else was happening at the same time, as we were heading south…hopefully further south than Seabourn has ever traveled…and icebergs were plentiful.  Lots of icebergs.  It was breathtaking!

It is impossible to capture the virtual city of enormous icebergs
we saw as we cruised south

My evening ended with a wonderful Surf and Turf at the Patio Grill

Trust me there was lobster!

…knowing that tomorrow was going to be a very special day.  I just didn’t know just how special and moving it would be.

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