My Antarctic Experiment

I’m trying something new with this post.  With only a month spent down around the relatively warm and well known “Peninsula” of the Antarctic continent , I only had time for first impressions and so, below are some of the photos I’ve gotten most likes and comments on from friends, colleagues and acquaintances on Facebook.  Below each image is an extended caption with impressions from that moment during my recent trip to Antarctica.

After traveling with the ship alongside three different pods of orca (each representing a different phenotype), and after floating above curious Minke whales in my Zodiac, and after hiking to obtain spectacular sights of thousands upon thousands of penguins, or open views of endless mountains and glaciers, I was happy for even just a little taste of Antarctica this season.  And so I’ll try to coax a moment or two back to life through a photo to share with you.

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An Adelie penguin dances across the path in front of me as I kneel in the corn snow waiting to guide our guests around the colony with as little disruption to the animals as possible. The penguins can approach you, but it doesn’t work the other way around, so closeups can take patience (or a big lens).
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This has to be one of my favorite photos of the season, if not all year. I love that the scale of the blue ice in the distance is not readily apparent. In fact this was a substantial piece of ice and difficult to approach in a fragile rubber boat through floes of pack ice. This was morning time and super still.  The dark cloud overhead and just out of the upper frame, makes the lower corners black and mysterious. We were out searching for seals on a Zodiac cruise and enjoying the way the ambient gray was making the blue in the bergs light up.
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A detail of glacial ice also encountered during a Zodiac cruise. Ice like this could be thousands of years old and carry samples of the ancient atmosphere trapped in air bubbles in the ice. Searching for a small chunk to haul into the Zodiac is always a challenge and in addition to getting a close up look at the frozen mineral water and encased air bubbles, someone inevitably wants a chunk for their whisky back on the ship.
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Taken from the helm of my Zodiac with one hand as I piloted us through churning, choppy waves with the other. A sunset Zodiac cruise around Spert Island that we were wrapping up just as the sun was touching the horizon. The wind was bitterly cold this evening and had to bury my face, glazed and burning with the chill deep into my scarf, hat, collar and hood. I might have been wearing 6 or 7 layers when I took this!
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Things were a little more comfortable when I took this photograph later that same evening. Showered, fed and with a bit of wine in my belly I went up to the bridge to watch our progress in the dwindling evening sunlight and while my cheeks warmed up to a normal temperature again, I took this photo from the security of the bridge — too lazy to even open the sliding door and take the shot outside.
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A detail of some of that ancient glacial ice I was describing above. The blue ice is electric in it’s intensity. This piece was anchored on the sea floor — run aground on the rocky bottom like a ship not under command. But the berg’s predicament was to our advantage, because grounded ice rarely flips over unexpectedly and is safer to approach.
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As a parting shot I leave you with some of the most bountiful and diverse blues I have ever witnessed. This whole morning’s Zodiac cruise was magic with lake calm water, little breeze, but a biting chill in the air. I did a lot of fast driving on the mirror-like water this morning on my Zodiac cruise. I couldn’t resist the temptation of making tracks on that brilliant canvas of sea, snow, ice and reflected mountains. Life is good.

Happy New Year and enjoy the holiday season!

With love,

~~ Kit

One thought on “My Antarctic Experiment

  1. Sandy Wing

    Truly unbelievable pics, Kit!!! Wow! They leave you breathless. I can’t imagine how more unbelievable it is in real life before your very eyes!

    Reply

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