Fast ice refers to that which is attached to the continent. Less than two percent of Antarctica is habitable, and that is only on the peninsula. Some ice surrounds this continent throughout the year, but the amount of fast ice is diminished during the months of November through February, the only times that tourism can occur. Our captain, enabled by the ice breaker capability of the NG Explorer, parked our ship onto the fast ice. After ensuring the depth of the ice was sufficient for group activities, we disembarked onto the continent for a party that included snow-shoeing, cross country skiing, and hiking within a limited distance. Our group was pleasantly surprised when a single Emperor Penguin decided to visit the party. I have described this in BTG #1: Expedition to the Frozen Continent. "The Emperor strolled into camp, alternating between a slow royal waddle and a faster body-surfing along the ice." Our raucous group got quiet, and all one could hear was the click of camera shutters. The Emperor seemed curious about the festivities, and seemed to enjoy the attention and merriment before returning to his kingdom. He seemed fascinated by those moving on cross-country skis. I have captured a few of those moments, as well as one where the Emperor seems to stand alone on the ice the next morning, bidding us farewell. How beautiful, how transcendental, and how memorable it was!
Guests pretending to drag our ship onto the fast ice, Antarctic Peninsula
Emperor Penguin observing cross-country skiers at our party on the fast ice.
Emperor Penguin bidding us farewell as we depart from the Antarctic Peninsula.