February 5, 2023
Yesterday, we got to ride in a Yellow Submarine (named Ringo)!!! Yesterday afternoon we were fortunate to get two seats on a submarine excursion. It was awesome!
The Polaris Expedition ship has two submarines, each can hold 6 guests per ride. The submarines need to be balanced weight wise, so we had to give our weights when we signed up for the excursion. We also had to prove we could squat down, because getting into the sub required some maneuvering in order to get to your seat without bumping your head. We rode in a Zodiac to get to the submarine, then transferred to the floating sub platform, then went down a ladder to get into the sub. After a safety briefing, we began our descent.
Initially all we saw was green water, because this area of the Antarctic Ocean is experiencing an algae bloom now that the weather is a little warmer (2-4 degrees Celsius, 35-39 degrees Fahrenheit). Then we began to see tiny little fish and krill in the water. Krill are very important to the marine life in the area because penguins and whales both eat krill as a large part of their diet. We dropped down approximately 145 meters (475 feet) to the seafloor and saw a variety of sponges, sea stars, and other sea floor life. One bigger fish swam under us.
Today, we went on a Zodiac landing expedition to Cuverville Island which has the largest colony of Gentoo Penguins in the world – approx. 7,000. On the ride to the landing there were penguins playing in the water and porpoising in groups. As we landed on the rocky beach, there were penguins around us, checking things out. They seemed very curious about us. Penguins can be very vocal, and we enjoyed hearing them today. The best thing about the visit was walking over to a large colony of penguins in a rocky area nearby and seeing some baby penguins. So adorable.
A Weddell Seal was lying on the beach and sleeping and didn’t really move the whole time we were there for the landing.
Tomorrow we have a Zodiac landing in a different location. We're excited about what we will see next! Come back for more pictures and adventures!