1-17-17 KING GEORGE ISLAND, ANTARCTICA: The buses took us to the airport after breakfast, and the entire group, some 90 explorers, picked up our luggage, checked in for the charter flights, passed through security and exited Chile and then waited for departure.
We were divided into two groups with a smaller section to take a second plane. We were in the first plane as were most of the group. We boarded the plane on the tarmac in the wind. There was open seating for the two hour flight to King George Island. The landing was fine on the gravel field. We were all standing on the runway in the brisk wind waiting for the second plane, but it never arrived.
Mechanical problems caused that flight to be scrubbed. Our plane loaded up most of the passengers from the previous cruise and flew back to Punta Arenas to pick the rest of our group, bring them out, and then pick up the remaining group of departing passengers. That happened four hours later.
Our trip from the beach to the ship by zodiac was a bit rough because of the wind and spray but, fortunately, dry. While we were waiting for the plane to return, we discovered that a nearby beach was covered with penguins, thousands of them. We also saw skuas and gulls.
We motored away after the group was complete, after all the luggage was aboard and after dinner. As the afternoon turned to evening the wind subsided and the bay became calm. At about 10 PM there was a pretty sunset that lingered after midnight. There was dusk, but not darkness as we motored through scattered pack ice.
Punta Arenas. This rickety old dock is home to part of a big colony of Imperial Shags. They are dressed like penguins, but penguins couldn't get up there.
Happy explorers waiting for the flight south.
First time on this carrier.
Lower part of the Chilean Andes from the plane.
King George Island airport, bare bones amenities.
Penguin colony near the ship with sea ice beyond.
The last of the group to arrive at dusk.
Antarctica sunset about 10 PM.