Bergy Bits and Mountain Tops

This ship certainly doesn’t stay in one place for long! Last night, we departed Barrientos Island and sailed past Deception Island. Seas were rough when we went to bed, and the waves were hitting and obstructing our porthole. This morning, we entered Paradise Bay, a stunning area surrounded by cavernous blue glaciers and plentiful sea ice.

I spent the morning riding a zodiac with a naturalist around the glaciers and through the ice bergs and “bergy bits” (the technical term for chunks of ice that don’t meet the criteria for an iceberg – sticking out of the water at least 15 feet up). The ice is astonishingly colorful, and it’s taking quite a bit of practice fiddling with my camera settings to capture the contrast of colors – especially shades of blue – on the walls of ice. As we rounded a corner in the Bay, one of the glaciers calved – a piece of ice broke off into the water – and the resulting eruption of water and echoing crash was at once amazing and somewhat terrifying.

We traveled during lunch and, upon completing our meal, we had arrived in yet another location – Danco Island. This island looked, perhaps, the most like the iconic “Antarctica”. We climbed a steep, snow-covered incline for nearly a mile and a half. As I climbed, a penguin climbed parallel to me, his tiny round body wiggling and falling and getting back up again. He struggled nearly the entire way up and got his beak stuck in holes in the snow again and again, but he was a persistent little guy and finally waddled his way to the top. It was tough climbing on the way up, especially since I was so distracted by the incredibly scenery all around me and the adorable penguin accompanying me. On the way down, I – mostly unintentionally – took a lesson from my penguin friend and did some belly sliding and flopping as I descended the steep, slippery hill.

This evening, we’ll attend a presentation by Mike Libecki, a “National Geographic Explorer” who has camped and climbed in extreme, remote places around the world. Off to historic Port Lockroy tomorrow!

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