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SERENITY OF THE ANTARCTICS

Ahead of us lays ice, tens of meters high, with black mountain peaks sticking out. The intense blue compacted ice layers match the dark blue icy waters. The world is silence, apart from small patches of floating ice against the hull of the ship.

Early birds gather on the foredeck, in awe with serenity of the Antarctic landscape. Graham passage, lined by immense glaciers that reach the waterfront, is narrow and full with icebergs. Icebergs reach great depth, which can be seen in this crystal clear waters. Europa is slowly manoeuvred through this rarely visited strait, avoiding the largest obstacles. The lone call of a Weddel seal echoes through the passage.

We have left the South Shertlands behind us. A beautiful introduction to what the white continent has to offer. But the exposed location makes it tricky area for landings with the changing weather conditions. Our patience paid off, we did enter flooded caldera of Deception Island yesterday morning after having sheltered for a full day. The old wooded whalers buildings, steam that arise from the black volcanic sand, the Cape Petrels feeding in the thermal water, the two simple graves, Neptunes Window, and cormorants collecting nesting materials on the beach. Today we visit an other relict from the old days: Captain Harko showed his skills by manoeuvring Europa alongside Governor in Foyn Harbour. This wreck, an old whaling vessel with 16.000 barrels of whale oil on board, sank in 1916. Almost hundred years later, its rusty bow still stands above the ink blue waterline. The whole scene has an eerie feeling, even though all crew was rescued after a fire destroyed the ship. To give us back a peace of mind, we sail through the Wilhelmina Passage, which is of an unmatched beauty. Large icebergs float in the water with impressive mountain ranges in the background.

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