Peterman Island

Written by Safarigal
December 2, 2022

It is not every day that you wake up to an iceberg outside your window. I knew that this was going to be a very special day.

There are 221 passengers on board the Silver Cloud, and we have been divided into 8 groups for the purpose of planning zodiac trips. In general groups 1 – 4 leave on an excursion, and then groups 5 – 8 head out, and the timing is reversed the next day.

We are in group 5, so whereas groups 1 – 4 climbed into the zodiacs at 8:00 AM this morning, we set out at a much more reasonable 9:30.

The extra time was indeed needed to put on all of our expedition gear, and emerge from our cabins looking like Teletubbies, or more appropriately when I saw the gentoo penguins waddling about, penguins.

When your group is called you take the stairway to deck 3. You show your cruise card to the security officer, and then you try to find a space in the mudroom so you can put on your boots. It was particularly crowded this morning as the folks getting off the zodiacs from the early excursions were trying to remove their boots as we were trying to put ours on.

Then the moment arrives, you head down the stairs and a lovely man helps you into your zodiac. The sun was shining brightly, and the water was calm, and off we went in search of penguins on Peterman Island.

Our arrival on the island was called a bow landing. That means instead of having to wade through water to disembark from the zodiac, you can clamber off onto dry land from the bow of the zodiac. As I remain convinced that when we do a wet landing I am going to topple over and end up submerged, climbing straight on to dry land sounded like a better plan.

The expedition staff had cleared a pathway for us, so off we set traipsing across the snow towards the viewpoints, and of course penguins. I was glad we had brought our hiking poles; they were very helpful for staying on 2 feet as we negotiated our way up the icy paths.

There were 2 paths that our expedition staff had cleared for us, and the views from the paths were spectacular. Every time I stopped to look around me I was overwhelmed by the sheer expanse of beauty in front of me. Photos simply cannot do justice to this amazing part of our planet. It is a true wonderland, the likes of which I had never seen before.

The sun came out and the clouds cleared away, and the views just got better and better. Not to mention that fact that I got warmer and warmer and had to dispense with my red parker. I tied it around my waist, and continued my exploration of this magical island.

Then there were the penguins. There are 2 kinds of penguins on Peterman Island: gentoo, adelie and chinstrap. We were lucky to see all three. And despite my prior fear of ending up covered in penguin poop, this simply was never a problem.

I simply did not want to leave the island, but the time came for us to take the zodiacs back to the ship,

and cruise up the Lemaire Channel to Pieneau Island where we planned to go out in the zodiacs and see the “iceberg graveyard”.

Sailing towards Pieneau island was also spectacular, we were surrounded by towering snow-covered mountains on both sides. Magnificent.

We stopped at the island and the first group of zodiacs headed out. Then all of a sudden the weather changed dramatically, and we were in the middle of a blizzard. Gone was the brilliant sunshine. Visibility was down to zero, and the zodiacs had to hastily return to the ship. The afternoon’s adventure was aborted.

The zodiacs were loaded on to the ship, and once again we cruised up the Lamaire channel. I sat watching the passing scenery from the warmth of our cabin, feeling miserable that we had missed our zodiac excursion. I wanted to see those icebergs. The sun had come out again, and the view was beautiful.

To make up for my disappointment it seemed like a good idea to go in search of our butler and see if she could rustle up some caviar for us. She was only too eager to oblige, and in no time we were sitting sipping champagne and eating caviar. Life is good!

Schalk gave his talk at 6:15. I love going to his talks. They give you a glass of champagne as you walk into the Explorers Lounge. If I had been offered champagne before every lecture when I was at university I am sure I would have attended far more lectures. He told us about the plans for tomorrow – we would continue to sail up the Lamaire Channel, and then have landings at both Damoy Point and Port Lockroy. That sounded good to me.

As it turned out the weather deteriorated further, and due to icebergs and poor visibility we were not able to continue in the Lamaire Channel but had to retrace our steps and use an alternat route.

We had dinner at La Terazza Italian restaurant. Things started out well, but all of a sudden we were in the roughest sea of the journey, We had hit a really bad storm which seemed to come out of nowhere, and there was the sound of crashing china from the kitchen, and glasses were being thrown off the table. If the empty chairs were not chained to the floor I am sure they would have been flying around the room. The staff were wonderful and took it all in their stride, serving up a wonderful meal that somehow didn’t end up in my lap.

Having survived dinner unscathed, we went to the Panorama Lounge to hear Jonathan, the Entertainment Host, sing songs related to New York. He has a lovely voice, and it was a very pleasant evening. There really isn’t that much entertainment as such on the ship in the evenings, but that’s just fine. Sitting in the lounge listening to Jonathan and watching the towering snow-covered mountains go by is just fine by me.

Post Discussion


  1. Patti

    You haven’t mentioned Deirdre and Kim. I thought you had said that she asked you if you wanted to go to Antartica so I assumed that they were going to be on the ship.

    • Safarigal

      Deirdre and Kim will be hosting the Queen Victoria world voyage starting next month and were unable to join us unfortunately. Especially as they were the inspiration for this cruise! I do miss traveling with them 🙂

  2. Beverley Allen

    Wow! Just wow! Have you read Hazel Prior’s novel Away with the Penguins? Perfect for your trip.

    • Safarigal

      I haven’t read the book, but after having read about it now, I am definitely going to have to get it! Thank you so much for the recommendation 🙂

  3. Erin

    Sorry to hear about the sudden turn in the weather … it wouldn’t be Antarctica if the weather did not turn on a dime. We were lucky with our stop at Pleneau … a late night zodiac cruise in the graveyard with the most amazing light bathing the icebergs … and whales from the zodiac as we made our way back to the ship. Hopefully similar experiences will be in your future on this trip.

    • Safarigal

      Wow! That sounds totally amazing. What an incredible experience.I’m so sorry we missed that.

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I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.