Our first Zodiac rides in Antarctica (after sailing south from Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands through the Errera channel) were in Andvord Bay, a bay 9 nautical miles (17 km) long and 3 nautical miles (6 km) wide, which lies along the west coast of Graham Land on the Antarctic Peninsula (the tip of Antarctica closest to Argentina). It was discovered by the Belgian Antarctica Expedition, 1897–99, under Adrien de Gerlache, and named by him for Rolf Andvord, Belgian counsul at Christiana (Oslo) at that time.
After our Zodiac rides, the ship sailed on to an anchorage spot in Andvord Bay, adjacent to Neko Harbor and the large glacier flowing into the harbor.
Neko Harbor was named after the whale factory ship, Neko, which operated along the Antarctica Peninsula in 1911-1912 and again in 1923-1924. This beautiful embayment in the coast of Andvord B ay is a breeding site for Gentoo Penguins, Shuas (birds which are mortal enemies of the penguins), Snowy Sheathbills and Kelp Gulls.
Our landing ashore at Neko Harbor was our first opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic continent!
“Antarctica has this mythic weight. It resides in the collective unconscious of so many people, and it makes this huge impact, just like outer space. It’s like going to the moon.” ― Jon Krakauer
“The Gentoo Penguin is easily recognized by the wide white stripe extending like a bonnet across the top of its head and its bright orange-red bill. They have pale whitish-pink webbed feet and a fairly long tail – the most prominent tail of all penguins. Chicks have grey backs with white fronts. As the Gentoo Penguin waddles along on land, its tail sticks out behind, sweeping from side to side, hence the scientific name Pygoscelis, which means “rump-tailed”. Gentoos reach a height of 20 to 35 inches (51 to 90 cm), making them the third-largest species of penguin after the two giant species, the Emperor Penguin and the King Penguin.” — Wikipedia