Paradise Bay and Flanders Bay…The Stunning, Silent Beauty of Icebergs

Paradise Bay and Flanders Bay…The Stunning, Silent Beauty of Icebergs

Southern entrance of Paradise Bay, Zodiac Cruise.

Lat: 64° 48’ S, Long: 63° 05’ W

Wind: 10 Knt S, temp: 4° C (5 PM)

Our day started early on the Ushuaia…breakfast and then everyone switching rooms before 8:30 am.  Got settled into my new space, where I’ll stay for the remainder of our journey.  Morning sessions were about “visibility.”  How visible is each one of us in terms of our careers, networks, and the media.  I found this to be an awesome session, filled with ideas for me and helping me understand how I can bring the messages of Homeward Bound and the polar science I love, to audiences and networks around the world.  Each day is filled with learning, whether it is our leadership training, science lectures, or this visibility piece of the puzzle.  I am so glad that I’m on this journey with such awesome women in science.  The diversity of age, science discipline (area of expertise) and geographic location are really key ingredients.

Right in the middle of lunch people started popping up out of their seats and heading outside on deck.  We were in Paradise Bay and it was truly a spectacular scene that mesmerized everyone.  Bergy bits and smaller icebergs were EVERYWHERE no matter which way we turned.  Spikey mountain tops peeked out of thick layers of snow.  Huge snowfields extended right to the water’s edge and formed massive cliffs.  The ship gently plowed through the ice and created a channel in this bay.  It was pretty clear that no one was going back inside any time soon.

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I couldn’t stop taking photos…trying to get that “one” that I can blow up and frame.  I’d often pause though, just to take in the entire scene without looking through the camera lens. This was a place I will always remember…extraordinary.  No matter where we’ve stopped so far on this journey, there seems to be an abundance of something…penguins, seals, terns, skuas, and icebergs.  It’s hard to believe that each day is more spectacular than the day before.  I feel SO lucky and privileged to be on this expedition.  I can certainly understand why this place is called Paradise Bay!

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Look carefully on the iceberg below.  Do you see the tracks?  They were made by penguins.  You can see where they used both their feet and wings (almost like flippers…pushing themselves along).

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I enjoyed hanging my camera over the side of the ship to get this video of us breaking through the ice.

Only 0.3% of Antarctica’s land is ice-free.  The amount of ice-free land is about the same size as the state of New Jersey.  So far on our journey we have seen algae, moss, lichens, and low growing grass.  Plants can’t leave in winter like some of the animals do, they have had to adapt to survive.  The two photos below are from our landing at Carlini Station.

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Later in the day, about 5:30 pm, zodiacs started to take groups out into the icy water for a bit of a tour.  Being at ocean level gives new views and perspectives.  Light changes and creates new patterns, and if there are seals or penguins nearby…well that’s just a bonus.

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This lonely crabeater seal was our only animal siting on the zodiac trip, other than a cormorant and some gulls flying overhead.

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The Antarctic Peninsula is made up of archipelagos, islands, continental land.  Some of these areas have ice-free land at the moment.  This region has the highest density of people visiting, with researchers and tourists during the Austral (southern hemisphere) summer.  Antarctica has cold and dry air, seasonal daylight that can be continuous, depending on the latitude.  Katabatic winds blow from the icy polar plateau toward the coast and can chill you to the bone in just minutes.

Enjoy a few more photos from today…

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2 responses to “Paradise Bay and Flanders Bay…The Stunning, Silent Beauty of Icebergs

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