The Hanseatic arrived at Antarctica's foggy Paradise Bay in the afternoon. Even with the clouds, the landscape was impressive. Towering mountains, huge glaciers, and wildlife filled our vision. One of our two Zodiac groups cruised around the bay for an hour while the other went ashore. Then the two groups swapped. The cruise took us along some rocky cliffs covered in colorful lichen and moss. The cliffs were blue, green, orange, or yellow, depending on the covering. Blue-eyed cormorants were nesting above us, and the nests were filled with chicks. The Zodiacs cruised near some spectacular glaciers--they really looked big from the small inflatable boat! The bay was filled with ice floes, and we got very close to two leopard seals and a crabeater seal. These seals posed for us while we all snapped away with our digital cameras.
Once ashore, we wandered around the abandoned Argentinian Almirante Brown research station, which was burned in 1984 in a fire set by the physician who didn't want to stay another winter at the base. We got up close to some gentoo penguin families, and some of the group climbed a snowy cliff and tried to slide down using plastic bags or just their red coats. We left Paradise Bay about 6:30 in the afternoon and sailed by the Chilean research station named Gonzales Videla. A supply ship, complete with helicopter, was anchored nearby. That evening after dinner, a pair of humpback whales gave us quite a show for about 30 minutes as we sailed north.