Ahhh if only I could send photos. It would appear that I am repeating myself so I wish I could send photos because today, it really was exceptional. We have been battering through the ice and penguins…okay so perhaps just the ice, the penguins tend to get out of the way. All sampling has stopped now that we are aiming to get to Commonwealth Bay and get our very important persons off to their centenary ceremony. There was much excitement on the ship yesterday as another ship, this time with tourists, was thought to be in the same waters.

We had a few difficulties communicating because there was no one on the bridge….on their boat not ours I realise it has only been a week but it really was quite exciting to see other people this far south. Most of the expeditioners were up on the bridge for the morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of these alien life forms. Then out of the mist appeared the Akademik Shokalski (I swear I didn’t make that up). I can’t speak for anyone else but to be honest the first glimpse was a little alarming, an ominous dark silhouette emerging from the fog, and an unattended bridge.

Actually we did eventually find someone, then someone who spoke English which was a bonus. As we got even closer we saw that half the ship was actually in zodiacs, circling some penguins on a large ice floe. So there we are on deck photographing the tourists, who are photographing the scientists, the penguins are flapping around in circles, clearly oblivious that the tourists were now circling the scientists and that both parties were now ignoring the penguins completely. Why look at the penguins when there are people to wave at! Anyway it was all quite surreal running into tourists here in the Antarctic.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough Neptune came to visit. Yes I, along with around 25 others, I have kissed a fish, unfortunately the same fish that 25 other people have kissed. I have more problems with that than it being a fish. Anyway I got to wash it down with something bright blue and chunky before having coffee flavoured mash potatoes tipped over my head and down the back of my shirt. I wish I was joking but I am not. It is a rite of passage that I am incredibly glad I had to endure, and equally glad that I won’t have to do it again!

And finally, because the day wasn’t exciting enough we had a great Australian BBQ, and we all agreed that it was the best BBQ we have ever attended. It is not often that one gets to have a beer, eat meat on a stick and watch penguins jumping onto ice floes with icebergs as the back drop. Un_bloody_believable.