Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lemaire Channel, Antarctica......................


January 26, 2013 - Lemaire Channel, Antarctica Peninsula
Good visibility, overcast
Wind: S 2; Sea: smooth; Air Temp: 7C (44F)

The Antarctic dawn.


Antarctica at the crack of dawn. 
Full of stunning beauty......
cold and clear......
mountains and icebergs......
silver and gold.


Ahead, the opening through the 7 mile long Lemaire Channel 
which separates Booth Island from the Antarctic continent's mainland. 
Renowned for spectacular scenery with near-vertical peaks 
rising close on both sides, including Wandel Peak which 
reaches 3,215 feet. 

First navigated in 1874 by the German whaler and sealer Eduard Dallmann, but named by Belgian Adrien de Gerlache in 1898 in honor of Charles Lemaire, Belgium's famed African explorer. At its narrowest, the channel is less than 800 metres (0.5 miles) wide, with towering peaks overhead. The channel is often full of icebergs and sea ice which makes maneuvering difficult. Fortunately sailing conditions for ship cruising were good on this day with flat mirror-like water.............


..............and brought just about every passenger up on deck by 6 AM to view such stunning scenery, and encourage our captain as he slowly navigated what was a narrow passage for our large ship. These views obviously are not accessible to folk who travel to Antarctica on huge cruise ships.


Several humpback whales came up to the ship - one pair 
was a mother and calf.......


pic via Paula

It was very cold that day - extra hats and gloves required 
if staying out on deck for any length of time.


.......Crabeater and Leopard seals were visible 
where they had hauled out onto ice floes.


We slowly made our way through, very close to 
the mountains lining the channel...........


......with great opportunities to get good shots with 
amazing reflections in the flat water......




...........including plenty of blue icebergs 
drifting silently by.


We were surprised by a sailboat - I counted ten passengers on deck.


 I wouldn't enjoy a cruise to Antarctica on a large cruise 
ship with no chance to go ashore, but.........


........I'm thinking that sailing all that way south 
through often rough seas, and so far from anywhere 
inhabited for much of the voyage, that this sailboat 
would not be in the cards either!


They looked like they were having a good time though, waved 
and sailed on..........


........and I did see a small Zodiac boat on the deck which 
could be utilized for wet landings.........


...........on through the sea ice, I did think them 
extremely brave to be adventuring that way in 
such a remote part of the planet. 


Leaving this incredible rock and ice scenery, we too sailed 
on, passing these icebergs, heading for Petermann Island.










A morning Zodiac cruise, followed by a shore landing on 
Petermann Island scheduled for the afternoon - 
an incredible, very busy time had by all.  

More on this soon, and thanks for taking such an interest
in my Antarctic tale. 

15 comments:

  1. Wow what stunning scenery! Not surprised you needed extra warmth out on deck :)
    Judy xx

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  2. Some stunning photographs Mary - it looks so beautiful and pristine.

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  3. Fantastic images - lovely to see - I am suddenly feeling very chilly.

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  4. Wow! Once again I have been mesmerized by your post. The blue iceberg is so perfect and the little sail boat's occupants incredibly brave. Thank you for sharing your travels with us. Chel x

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  5. Totally breathtaking, Mary. The blue icebergs are simply stunning and your photography does them justice.
    How I love to go armchair travelling with you.

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  6. Wow... That first shot is incredible, what an adventure!

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  7. Agreeing with all of the above adjectives...stunning, fantastic, mesmerizing, breathtaking. Wow! And once again, your photography brings it all to life.

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  8. Mary, I love every tidbit you share with us and hate to see this journey end. It's all very interesting and educational too. I could never tire if it.

    I'm wondering where you'll go next...

    Thanks for the wonderful post. Hope your Sunday is relaxing.

    Barbie

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  9. All photos are so beautiful and breath-taking. I almost feel as though I am there with you. A sail boat here?...oh, my goodness, no thank you! Thanks for taking us along. Farm Gal in VA

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  10. Scrolling slowly through these photos, looking at the colors, the textures, the marvelous shapes and forms, I am in awe. Mystery. Beauty. Haunting. Compelling.

    But not enough to go there in a small sailboat.

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  11. Absolutely stunning!
    But that first photo took my breathe away. My family calls sun streaming through clouds like that "Jesus clouds". It was like something magical could just come through those clouds and bless you all. The sailboat would be a surprise to meet there also. Just wonderful, all of your trip is wonderful.

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  12. Beautiful, mysterious, other-worldly. Just a few of the words that come to mind when I see your photos. That photo of dawn is amazing.

    xo
    Claudia

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  13. Stunning Mary. The blue ice, the black water. You captured the cold in your pictures.
    Hugs,
    Penny

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  14. Amazing photos.

    I too love the blue ice.

    Sft x

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