After dinner last night we haded through the Lemaire Channel, one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in this region. From Wikipedia:
Lemaire Channel is a strait off Antarctica, between Kyiv Peninsula in the mainland’s Graham Land and Booth Island. Nicknamed “Kodak Gap” by some, it is one of the top tourist destinations in Antarctica; steep cliffs hem in the iceberg-filled passage, which is 11 km long and just 1,600 metres wide at its narrowest point.
. . . The channel has since become a standard part of the itinerary for cruising in Antarctica; not only is it scenic, but the protected waters are usually as still as a lake, a rare occurrence in the storm-wracked southern seas, and the north-south traverse delivers vessels close to Petermann Island for landings. The principal difficulty is that icebergs may fill the channel, especially in early season, obliging a ship to backtrack and go around the outside of Booth Island to reach Petermann.
It was filled with icebergs, and we came close to the edges, but it was also stunning, though too dark to photograph well. Here’s a map (I’ve put an arrow by the channel), a video, and a few of my photos. Note that the channel runs between an island and the Antarctic mainland:
A video of the transit:
My few pictures don’t given an idea of the channel’s beauty. I suspect we’ll go through again, so we can look forward to more photos.
Here are just two entering the channel. Naturally the water is calm there, which makes for good reflections:
Heading toward Orne Harbor yesterday morning:
Heading toward Orne, we encountered heavy snow and wind. The snow was shoveled into piles on the deck:
Because of the fierce weather, no landing was possible at Orne, but we did enter Neko Harbor, moored, and got a 45-minute tour of the ice-laden harbor in Zodiacs.
Bonus photo: A fellow scientist on the ship took this picture of me on Brown Island; forgive me a bit of self-aggrandizement:
First, the map: Neko Harbor is a large inlet that is not only a bird refuge (and has gentoo penguins), but is often filled with icebergs from a nearby glacier, making it ideal for a Zodiac tour to get your up-close visit to the bergs.
Entering the Harbor:
Ice is everywhere:
The Zodiacs went out in pairs, staying close together so they could inform each other about the ice. Here’s on boat admiring a large iceberg:
Darwin’s beautiful “beryl-like blue” inside that berg:
A skua sitting on top of a berg. I call the “skua on the rocks”, and think that would be a good name for an Antarctic-themed drink:
Back to the ship:
Now that I’ve learned that there’s a free drink for passengers every evening between 5 and 6, I go get it at 5:30 before my usual dinner at 6. It’s lovely to have a libation as the ice goes floating by:
And dinner: King crab sandwich (“king crab roll in a rich bun with kincrab, dill mayonnaise and crispy vegetables”), served with fries and a beer (two drinks in one day!)
The best dessert: the Fredheim’s blueberry milkshake There are lots of elderly people on this trip, and it’s heartening to see many of them slurping down shakes in the Fredheim. They still have the desire for shakes, but rarely get to indulge it.
In lieu of exciting landscape and animal photos, I’ll show you my cabin, and a nice cabin it is!
Here’s the bed with my field clothes laid out before a landing:
The balcony from across the room. Yes, the wall is curved: that’s Scandinavian design, not a wonky photo.
The open closet is the “wet closet”, lined with rubber for drying boots (or laundry done in the bathroom_. The mini-bar is next to the door, but I don’t touch that except to put my water bottle in or to store pieces of fruit that they give you at lunch.
The “study” with the big-screen streaming t.v. It has all kinds of cable stations, but I turn it only only to see the daily briefings and to watch lectures (all lectures given in the auditorium are streamed to these t.v.s in the guest cabins.
The compact but efficient bathroom. There is always lots of hot water.
And the shower, which is really nice. I love the removable shower heads that allow you to easily rinse off any part of your body.
And so onto breakfast and then preparation for my morning talk.