February 27th, 2020 - Gonzalez Videla (above Mom and baby Gentoo penguins)
Early this morning our island campers came back on board and we set sail for Gonzalez Videla. We sailed through several passages making a change in course due to ice blocking the channel. Mid morning we arrived at Gonzalez Videla which is a Chilean air force base. They are stationed here for search and rescue operations, the base is open November to end of March each years. This is also our first continental landing, and there are penguins are everywhere. We did a morning zodiac cruise and a visit to the base in the afternoon.
We saw many humpback whales who put on a pretty good show including many deep dives and tails in the air. We also came across some weddell seals on ice bergs and in the water.
This afternoon we visited the Chilean base and what a welcoming committee. Gentoo penguins everywhere, and they did not mind us at all. We had to stop and wait on the pathways as they just stop and stare. I think they are just as curious of us as we are of them. Our base hosts were also keen to point out ‘Pepo’, an all white, leucistic gentoo penguin that served as the unofficial mascot of the base. She is not albino but was born without the black pigment gene. It was a great visit for photos and to get a feeling of what it is like to live in such an isolated region.
Tomorrow we will sail through the Lemaire Channel during sunrise and then explore the Yalour Islands and Petermann Island. We have loaded todays gallery with 60 images of todays activities. Enjoy.