Melchior Islands: the Venice of Antarctica

Melchior Island Travel Blog

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Melchior to the Drake

20:00Position         63˚57’4.S         063˚23’W


Wind:                W2-4

Temperature:     3


Melchior to Drake Passage.

At ten to six the sun is just up and a group of 14 people (some are impossible to wake up) with lifevest on are ready on deck for a sunrise cruise between the Melchior islands.

Within the crew the Melchior islands are known as the “Venice of Antarctica” because of the many narrow canals and islands. The waters here are quite shallow and disturbed by swell and current, so cruising here requires extra attention. The 2nd ride have close encounter with a huge Humpback Whale.


When the last group comes back on board Rensje and Anna have prepared a nice lunch buffet on deck After lunch crew and guest crew make the ship ready for the crossing.


Deflating the zodiacs, seafasting, safety nets and life lines. Than we lift the anker.

Ahead of us a four to five days on one of the, or possible the roughest passage in the world, the “Screaming Sixties” and “Furious Fifties”. Anti-sea sickness pills are taken and prayers done. Antarctica slowly slides of the horizon.


The intercom shouts “Orcas!” whithin no time everybody is on deck to enjoy our last desert; a pod of Killer Whales is attacking a group of Humpback Whales! This is were we’ve all been waiting for. Some of the Orcas approach the ship closely. We can see the tall fin of the male and smaller fins from the females and young. The Humpback Whales are stressed and zig-zag trough the water. It can take hours for a pod of Killer Whales to exhaust the Whales. If they manage to separate the calf from it’s mother, it is done...


Later on we see a large blow. Possibly from a fin whale. Altogether we did see an amazing 48 Humpback Whales!


Than the show is over back to daily business watches are back on.

The weather forecasts don’t seem to be to bad.
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Melchior Island
photo by: xander_van_hoof