My continental landing – Neko Harbour

A continental landing is one of the top moments on any Antarctica voyage, as it’s the moment you actually set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula. Neko Harbour is an inlet on Andvord Bay, and it’s a continental landing, as it’s connected to the Antarctic Peninsula.

With its massive active glacier, huge penguin colony and hike with tremendous views, it’s one of my favorite places in Antarctica. Its scenery is magical & stunning!.

As there were almost 190 passengers onboard the vessel, the excursion had to be split in two. With my group, we first went for a zodiac cruise through the brash ice and around icebergs where a sleepy weddell seal was taking a nap.


 

 

 

 

 

An hour later we landed on Neko Harbour. A continental landing! Yay! We were given about an hour and a half to explore the area.

Here you can spend some time on the beach, looking at the gentoo penguins and the glacier right in front, or you can do a hike. I decided to go directly uphill as it looked like a long walk, and it was!. But, it was totally worth it!

 The hike had three natural stops. The first one was the penguin“highways” where we had to wait for the little guys as they took their time to pass. Some of them even decided to take a bath right in the middle of the highway.

 

The second was half way, with a gorgeous front view from the glacier.

 

 

And the third and last stop was right on top of the mountain, with a view from up the glacier and all Andvord Bay. 

The views from up there are breathtaking! Neko Harbo’s glacier is very active and frequently calves large piece of ice that splash thunderously into the bay below. 

 

The Gentoo Penguin is one of the most common penguins found in the AntarcticPeninsula, and they are the species you will find at Neko Harbor. They have a distinctive bright red-orange bill and conspicuous white eye patches. Is the third largest penguin (about 70 cm tall) and their diet is quite diverse and varies with season and location. They usually eat a mix of crustaceans, small fishes and squid.

Other birds found at this landing site are the Skuas. They are one of Antarctica’s top avianpredators. They patrol  the penguin colony nest in search of eggs and chicks.

 

 

 

Weddel seals, fur seals and leopard seals can be seen in shallow water or laying at the beach. Because of their thick layer of blubber and fur, Antarctica seals are extremely well-adapted to the freezing conditions. Seals are carnivorous and, depending on the type of seal, eat fish, krill or squid.

 

 

After an hour and a half, we had to get back to the ship, for a hot shower and a delicious dinner!

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