Knowing where to start sharing about an Antarctic experience is a daunting task. The sights are incredibly unique. The sounds are remarkably peculiar. And the feelings are extraordinarily overwhelming. You realize there is only so much you'll effectively be able to convey. Merely scratching the surface. So let's just begin with the obvious. Those unique, peculiar, overwhelming icebergs themselves.
The ship's challenge was on. The passenger to spot the first iceberg would win a prize of "immeasurable value". If I had known it was a bottle of wine I would have slept with my binoculars. But soon enough, there by its lonesome on the horizon was our holy grail. Just as you would expect it. Isolated. Icy white. Half dome-ish. And the expectation ended right there.
The first iceberg spotted on the horizon
It wasn't long before the amount and size of the floating ice around us noticeably increased. A tell-tale sign that our massive frozen friends were lurking ahead.
It was common for zodiac boats to have to push huge chunks of ice away in order to utilize the gangway.
The distance began exposing chiseled, shadowy shapes that looked much more like futuristic cities than clusters of monolithic ice. Interesting. Sculptural. Carefully carved. One after the other they paraded by. From bobbing stages for fur seals to tabular ice walls over 300 feet high. I had Aleve on high alert as my neck got a workout from fixing my gaze on an oncoming mass until passed, then abruptly swooshing my head back to the next in line. There's even a Super-berg out there (which we didn't see) measuring a staggering 4,500 square miles. It was absolutely bizarre to be sitting at a window seat during dinner only to watch icebergs silently glide by. Bizarre to the Nth degree was sitting at a window seat during dinner only to watch icebergs silently glide by and getting used to it. Kinda mind blowing.
Fur seals having a lazy day
Particularly ominous weather in the distance looking out the window during breakfast one morning.
These epic tabular bergs looked like city buildings on the horizon.
The sun setting over an iceberg... That's a new one.
These spectacles were only enhanced by the calving (an iceberg's or glacier's shedding of a smaller mass of ice) echoes bouncing off the ice walls of the surrounding channels. That low rumbling and cracking silenced even the most rambunctious conversations. As did the avalanche that bounded down a sheer slope in a dense, blizzardy cloud while out on the water.
So although this voyage went only as far as the Antarctic peninsula, even the smallest taste of this vast continent was indelibly impressive.
Until the next polar experience...
We love your blogs. Through the marvels of scientific advance we are able see what you saw and we so enjoy your commentaries. You make the world seem smaller and enable us to appreciate in a very special way the Glory of the Creation. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I’m glad you enjoyed the icebergs, Mr. Saint. The tabular ones were indeed dramatic!
Prem Saint said:
What a stunning set of photographs and narrative pf your encounter with the icebergs. I love your video of the close-up of one tabular iceberg with ominous cracks. I did not know about zodiac boats pushing chunks of ice. I look forward to reading about your other Antarctic experiences, Robin.
These photos are breathtaking! As always, thanks so much for sharing your travels with us!
Warren, I am humbled and honored by your words. This blog is truly a labor of love and it makes me so very happy that the spirit of travel is reaching you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
November 21, 2016