Anyone coming to Antarctica should make sure that Cierva Cove is on the itinerary. No sooner had we lowered zodiacs this morning when a minke whale showed up and began circling us. The water is so utterly clear that the twenty foot long whale showed up perfectly as he swam under and around our boats. Shortly thereafter we moved towards the head of the cove and saw numerous leopard seals out on the ice flows, often only a few feet from the zodiac. That experience was followed by a humpback whale sleeping at the surface.
After the excitement at Cierva Cove my thought was that the rest of the day would be a wash, but after lunch and with perfect weather a humpback and her calf decided to come right up to the bow of the ship and hang out with us for ten minutes. When leaning off of the bow you could see both whales below in the water, and people were yelling “Port! No, starboard!” and racing across the deck as the whales swam under the boat. My 75mm lens was too close for pictures — at times the whales were surfacing no more than ten feet from me. An incredible day, and we’ve still got an evening landing at Cuverville to go.