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  • Writer's pictureKen Murray

Antarctica – Jan 2 – Day 6 – An Amazing Excursion to Paulet Island and Rumors about Covid!

Excursion to Paulet Island

Shelly and I thought we saw a lot of penguins on Brown Bluff, and we did. 100,000 or more. But on Brown Bluff we had room to walk. On Paulet Island, there was no room for anything. It was wall-to-wall penguins! Upwards of 400,000! We couldn't wait to see them!

As usual, the Expedition Team arrived on the island first to find a landing zone, and placed orange cones along a walkway for us. The temperature was around 32 degrees, and mild winds. We had been lucky with the weather, especially the winds. It was foggy though.

We geared up and took the Zodiac to shore. We saw what could have been a mile or more of penguins on a hillside. We disembarked and had to climb up a fairly steep embankment to get to the walking path. One of the Expedition Team members gave Shelly a walking stick and she used it to climb the hill. Walking was treacherous, with loose sand, wet mud, and penguin poop covering the cobblestone rocks. My foot slipped on a rock with every step.

Just along the walking path, there were hundreds of penguins nesting with their young. There were penguins waddling left, right, up, down, and all around. Penguins diving into and jumping out of the water, and penguins nesting with their young, feeding them krill.

I was unsure of my footing and did not take that many photos. I thought I had gotten photos of the density of the penguins, but I can’t find any. So, you’ll have to rely on my assertion that penguins were shoulder-to-shoulder for hundreds and hundreds of yards.

We walked up the hill about 50 yards, but were concerned about slipping and turning an ankle, so we headed back to the Zodiac. This was by far the toughest walk we had on the cruise. While we were waiting to board, a seal popped its head up right near the Zodiac, but I was too slow to get a picture. I did get a picture of our ship cast in the fog.

We returned to the ship, changed out of our gear, and met Jonathan, Monica, and Jacqueline in the lounge to play some Yahtzee.

Rumors are Flying around about Positive Covid Cases!

We began hearing rumors about some passengers testing positive for Covid and being in quarantine. Shelly was talking to the crew to try to get some information on what was going on. The rumor was two members of a family had tested positive and they and those who had been in close contact with them were in quarantine. We were supposed to receive an antigen test sometime on the ship, but we did not know when that would take place.

We had met a very nice couple, Debbie and Barry, earlier on the cruise and began talking to them more frequently. After hearing about the positive Covid tests, we decided to form a bubble with Jacqueline, Monica, Jonathan, Barry, and Debbie. Here's a photo of our crew.

We had been wearing masks all around the ship but taking them off when we were at a lounge or dining. Now we kept them on unless we were drinking or eating. The last thing we wanted was to test positive and possibly be quarantined in Ushuaia.

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