The "fertilizer" that the penguins deposits are partially responsible for the coloration of the island (the not-so-blue ice).
We had our first experience viewing icebergs from sea level.The different colors, textures, size, and shapes of the ice provided us with endless inspiration for photography.
When an iceberg flips, the clean, pure, newly exposed underside can be breathtaking.
With a little imagination, it's easy to anthropomorphize the icebergs!
An endless stream of faces and masks appeared in the near perfect reflections - as if we were all under evaluation during a Rorschach test.
As we continued our journey to the Polar Circle, we saw an endless stream of different shapes and sizes of ice passing by the ship.
Fortunately the fog lifted just enough to make it safe for us to stop just before noon to cruise in Zodiacs at Black Head. Black Head marks the south side of the entrance to Holtedahl Bay on the west coast of Graham Land. Black Head stands out with its very high cliff faces made of igneous basalt and magnificently steep glaciers making their way down to the ocean.
Then, within minutes, the fog lifted and then disappeared completely!
Once the sun illuminated the icebergs, we were able to capture some of the vibrant blues in the ice and greens from the algae flare.
We spent the rest of the afternoon sailing south - closer and closer to the Polar Circle, watching the ice float by while the clouds put on a beautiful display of color and shapes for us.
As the sun began to appear, the sea briefly turned an eerie russet color.
Then, as the cloud cover changed, the water turned into thick slush - like chocolate.
After saying a brief "hello" to the penguins, we quickly returned to the zodiacs in search of the blue ice and came across a number of icebergs with breathtaking arches.
In one of the many inlets, where the waters were calm, we came across some very unique ice. Over many years, the weight of the ice compresses, forcing out the air pockets over many years creating this vibrant aqua-blue color.
Everything seemed to be in constant transition - moving, shifting, flowing, freezing, melting, evaporating...
Although there was a rather intense algae bloom, every once in a while we would find clear water where we could see a glimpse of the immense size of the glacier below the surface.
We spent our last full day exploring Deception island in the South Shetlands. Deception is a ring-shaped, volcanic island, about 8 miles in diameter. It is considered a restless caldera with significant volcanic risk (the most recent activity occurred between 1967-70). We visited Bailey Head (on the outer perimeter of Deception Island) and then went on to explore Whalers' Bay after passing through Neptunes’ Bellows.
On the final morning, we rose early to watch our final sunrise and to our surprise, swimming near the ship, were a pod of Killer Whales. There were also seals. It was like watching a game of Marco Polo - for your life. Unfortunately, not all of the seals were able to outmaneuvered the whales. Fortunately, the whales had breakfast. I guess it depends on how you look at it.