SOUTH TO PALMER STATION
Out of ice free Port Foster through Neptune's Bellows into Bransfield Strait we sailed side by side with Matahiva. Giant tabular icebergs giving off
an array of luminescence like blues and greens towered over 160 feet above our heads. Albatrosses, Petrels, Skuas and Penguins appeared everywhere. It's amazing to see so beauty and abundance of wildlife in an area of the world
that by most is considered an icy wasteland.
With winds lightening to the point of not being able to sail we started the engine and sheeted
in the sails. The weather forecast was good the next 24 hours. The thought of getting caught in a sudden blow without any nearby harbors to shelter us from the high winds and ice kept us
moving. As twilight engulfed the Anne a low lying fog bank appeared to the East, suddenly advancing. As the fog engulfed us the seas became mirror like, enabling the radar to pick out the
small but dangerous bergy bits that hide in the sea clutter. That night I kept my eyes glued to the radar calling out relative positions of ice bergs large and small and coarse corrections to avoid them.
We were well into Gerlache Strait as the short Antarctic summer night ended. What we saw
was truly a world of ice and snow, thick ice caps covered all the land except where shear rock faces formed cliffs hundreds of feet high. Groups of icebergs, some giant tabular ones exceeding two miles across with huge
ice caverns on their angular sides drifted north from the ice shelves to the South. Penguins perched high upon the smaller
icebergs watched us curiously as we motored by. Sunrise not only brought on that much valued daylight but also an unfavorable wind from the direction we are traveling
in. The Anne being gaff rigged does not sail to weather very well so we continued to motored.
By mid-day the Anne was approaching Dallman Bay of which the Melchoirs are a
part of. The wind had veered to the Southeast so we were now pressing ahead under full sail. The Melchoirs lie about 20 miles ahead and the day has turned into a
magnificent one with 20 knot winds, clear skies, 29 degrees and some of the worlds most dramatic scenery. As we
approached the Melchoir Islands we had some difficulty locating the entrance. A few icebergs had grounded on a shoal in
front of the entrance and from a few miles distance they blended into the adjacent topography. There was still a passable entrance into the island group on either side of the grounded icebergs.