However, by the time we went back on board to get ready for lunch, the clouds were lowering, sunshine was disappearing and a fogbank was rolling over the mountains behind the base, already obscuring the landing lights. As we sat eating lunch, we could see that the airstrip was lost in the fog and that the plane was circling overhead waiting for a change in the visibility. The plane had come with sufficient fuel on board to circle for two hours before it had to turn back. Unfortunately, two hours elapsed and the fog and clouds only got thicker. So the plane flew back to Punta Arenas without the patient. To keep us all amused, the ship left Maxwell Bay and headed to Penguin Island a 2 ½ hour cruise away. After the planned landing there, the ship was to return to the Chilean base when the plane will try again to land. On our way to Penguin, we saw a mother and baby humpback whale off the port side of the ship. They put on a good show for us, frolicking in the open sea, breaching, and rolling, and looking at us just as we stared in wonder at them. Whales are always surprising when you actually see them because they are even more enormous in real life than in the memory! Towatch the mother and her calf enjoying each other was a really special gift.
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