Hiking on the beach felt like we were on another planet -- firstly
the terrain was totally different from anything else we'd seen, and secondly
because we were all in our goofy water/wind/rain/cold-proof getups that
made us look like astronauts or something. Along the hike everyone took
their turns unwittingly walking through the territory of a couple of
antarctic terns. They didn't appreciate the invasion, so they dive-
bombed everyone who tresspassed. I got hit twice by their wings, but
of course it didn't hurt. Their screaching was incessant.
"Swimming" is a generous term. The water was plenty warm right on the
edge of the shore, but quickly cooled off as you wandered out to sea.
As a result, if you wanted to avoid freezing you had to lie on the
edge of the shore where the water just covered your body. If you started
to get cold, all you had to do was plunge your hands into the sand to
release more heat. About half of the passengers went swimming and the
other half watched and took pictures. I don't know how anyone could
pass up the opportunity to say that they went swimming in Antarctica!
When you were ready to get out of the water, there was a bag of towels
waiting for you next to your hot chocolate with optional rum. Once you
are out of the water, that's about it, so I headed straight for the
Zodiac. There were several brittlestars washing up on the beach, killed
by the volcanic heat that they were certainly not designed to take.
As we sailed to our next destination we were on the lookout for icebergs. The first real iceberg spotted was the approximate shape and size of an aircraft carrier. I couldn't believe it.