Antarctica Adventure - 2002

The Lemaire was too small for any big bergs to be within its confines and if one had tried to get in, the whole channel would have been blocked. Even though it was very cold and the wind was blowing 40-50 knots, no one wanted to go inside because the scenery and the sounds of the wind, the ship rubbing its slow way through the ice, and the birds crying above and around us, and the constantly changing light were just too mesmerizing. So we all endured painfully cold toes and fingers so we could see as much of this magical place as possible. Everyone wanted the picture to be clear and lasting in his mind’s eye. This, after all, was what we had come to see for ourselves in this forbidding land. We were heading towards Petermann Island to go ashore in the Zodiacs, but the pack ice was too thick in the Lemaire for us to go further. So our captain turned the ship completely around in the Channel and we head out towards the Peltier Channel which took us back around Port Lockroy. Even though we were all disappointed at not getting to disembark at Petermann, we were hopeful that the afternoon would afford us another chance at a landing after lunch where everyone tried to re-warm their sore extremities. Around 3:15 PM we got off the ship again, this time as Cuverville Island. Weather conditions were much improved with no more snow, higher skies, and warmer temps. Because Gentoo rookeries have a characteristic and potent odor, you can tell from quite a distance out that you are approaching one. This island contained several Gentoo rookeries sitting on snow and exposed rocks. This snow was deep enough to pull you in hip deep so that you could get your protective rubber pants wet with snow and gluey guano. But it was still fun to walk along the pebbly and boulder-strewn beach where we saw two whale ribs and a surprisingly huge whale vertebra in our path. When we turned from the beach and headed up the snowy slope, we could icebergs on the other side of the island and actually watched one “roll” when a significant piece of it calved and changed the balance. The berg was an iridescent blue which shimmered in the gunmetal gray seawater.


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