11 January 2015 | Mt Banck, Paradise Harbour
Yesterday - the 10th of January 2015 - we cruised down south from our anchorage at Bluff Island through the Graham Passage into the Gerlache Strait where we sighted a large pod of approximately 15 Killer Whales including several young specimens and also several Hump Back Whales in pairs.
En route we stopped off to view the wreck of the Enterprise before arriving at Paradise Harbour in the evening where we were promptly invited to the Chilean research support station named after a former President called Gabriel Gonzalez Videla. The 16 inhabitants were extremely friendly and showed us the various buildings and even their little bar – claimed to be the most southern in the world - where we were offered a cold Australis Beer, which went down very well indeed.
After a short night we were dropped off at the base of Mount Banck (710 MOSL), which lies on the south side of the Ferguson Channel. We reached the top after a 2.5 hour ascent on skis up the left flank after which we applied our crampons to scale the steep 100 meter headwall to the summit. The weather conditions improved during our climb, so that we were presented with a stunning view of Paradise Harbour and the distant Osterrieth Range on Anvers Island while enjoying a picnic lunch.
The descent on skis was a true treat and the three big fat Weddell Seals basking in the sun were still there when we returned to our landing spot where Yves kindly picked us up in the dingy Dragonfly.
Now we are off to Port Lockroy to anchor for the night.