Latitude: -63 54.276 Longitude: -57 26.703
Antarctica is a beautiful place. Before this trip, I had never given much thought to the scenery of Antarctica. In my mind, visualizing Antarctica always produced the same image, just a ton of white snow every where with not a whole lot detail to it. However, I quickly learned once we reached the continent that just like other continents, there is plenty of variety to be found. The number of different sceneries we have found ourselves in in quite astounding; each day I try to find some time to get outside and appreciate the constantly changing landscape as the vessel travels from site to site. Our first contact with the ice was giant icebergs floating in the sea, miles away in the distance and occasionally coming within a few hundred yards. As these giant monoliths floated across the horizon, I remember finding it difficult to imagine just how massive these distance icebergs were. Even at a distance these icebergs seemed massive, and the sight was quite astounding. That is my first memory of sea ice; waking up and looking out my porthole to the outside. Unbeknownst to me at the time, we would be traveling though many different ice-covered sceneries, each one different and beautiful in its own right. Soon the distant icebergs turned into more numerous smaller bergs and then into a sea of floes. It happened at night, as I remember sitting in the galley and hearing a loud sound coming from outside the hull. Looking out the window I saw an endless sea of ice chunks forming an amorphous cover to the Antarctic sea. The sea ice stretched out forever into the darkness, evoking and intriguing yet uncanny feel to the area. The next day(or maybe a couple days after that; time has no meaning here) we woke up to the Palmer punching it’s way through a gigantic solid ice field with a breathtaking backdrop of snow capped brown mountains. The ice field was composed of millions of differently sized ice chunks all frozen together into one giant ice sheet. A field of ice trapped inside ice; the ice chunks in the field had different colors and thicknesses to them, creating a varying assortment of trapped ice chunks beneath the solid surface. Every here and there you could see a giant iceberg rising over the ice field, not trapped beneath its frozen surface but still rendered immobile by the ice field’s grasp. Fallen snow was piled up across the landscape, and in the distance, we saw a snow-covered mountain range swallowed by clouds. The sun rays reflected off seemingly every surface of the expanse, creating a beautifully lit and composed scene with not a cloud in the sky. Other days, we pass by the waters edge where hordes of penguins atop floating icebergs can be seen in front of a mountainous backdrop which the setting sun casts golden rays through the clouds onto the rocky faces of the range. When the boat gets father away from land we have been able to see the most beautiful sunsets; icebergs of every size off into the horizon while the sunset creates deep purples, vibrant pinks and warm yellows. Silhouettes of albatrosses and other Antarctic birds occasionally come into view, gliding across the landscape in giant, beautiful sweeps. Some days the giant icebergs float right by the boat, allowing us to truly appreciate the texture and form of the floating ice giants. On one of these days the sky was clear and wonderfully blue. The other day I went outside in the early afternoon and the boat was stopped. Outside the boat was the Southern Ocean, but the surface was so placid it seemed to be a lake. The calm surface of the ocean reflected the image of the mountains just by the shore. Penguins could be seen swimming below the surface, and small icebergs stood still. It was extremely quiet outside; the wind was not blowing, and the idle boat produced no sound.
This continent truly is untamed. The wilderness and scenery are nearly untouched by human development resulting in a picturesque scene everywhere you look. I’ve added some photos of the beautiful scenery I’ve been describing, and hopefully you too will be able to appreciate the unbelievable scenery hidden away at the bottom of the world.
Thanks for reading,