Among Utter Vastness

Cold frostbite… Pristine air
Icy desert… Abundant wildlife

Remote rock… Peaceful solitude
Alone… Utter vastness

Every attribute has its own opposing trait that is equaling compelling to some.  I can only imagine the different thoughts that went through some of the early explorers minds as they explored the Antarctic region.  They risked their lives as well as their crew.  These same thoughts must be what has lured many travelers that I met along my journey who were already beyond their first journey south of the Shetland Islands.  For these are my thoughts.  This was only my first time there, and I’m already thinking when and can go back.

Sensor: Sony A7R
Location: Weddell SeaWeddell Sea-0001Taking a long Zodiac cruise among the ice bergs.  These large tabular icebergs are found abundantly in the Weddell Sea as they are trapped by the continent on three sides.  Cruising among these icebergs must be done carefully as falling ice and their shifting center of gravity can pose grave danger to those too near.  The size of these icebergs can easily dwarf large ships.

 Sensor: Sony A7R
Location: Neumeyer Channel

Neumeyer -0001Our boat was able to travel further south along the west side of the Antarctica Peninsula than most during the early season because much of the ice loosened.   At the time of our journey no tourist icebreakers operated here, so navigation was carefully plotted and large ice packs were avoided.  This brash ice and loose ice pack was the most risk that our Captain was willing to take and we did it extremely cautiously.

Sensor: Sony A7R
Location: Lemaire Channel

Lemaire-0001We made it down all the way to Vernansky, a Ukranian Outpost just north of the Antarctic circle.  To get there we went through the narrow Lemaire channel.   We had actually navigated through the Lemaire channel on the way  back as well because the ice pack was too thick.  Both of these photos were taken at the bow of our ship the MS Expedition.

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