The Polar regions hold a very special place in my heart and the more I visit these untouched and fragile areas, the more I’m hooked and looking forward to my next foray in the ice and cold, forbidding waves. Antarctica is a place I keep coming back to.
Antarctica- A Landscape in Motion
Although I have only been visiting this area for 3 years, I have seen some dramatic seasonal variations and vast differences year to year. Three years ago in early November, there was a tonne of snow and very little ice where at the same time this year there was almost no snow and lots of sea ice. The only constant is change with yearly, seasonal, and local conditions being anything but predictable.
Antarctic Photo Gallery
It’s a truly magical place – really like nowhere else on earth. Here is a small gallery from my 2016/17 Antarctic season.
Crossing the infamous Drake Passage from South America to Antarctica can be an incredible experience or an excruciating nightmare depending on your tolerance for big waves and the strength of your sea sickness medication. – The Southern Ocean
Antarctica is known as the windiest place on the planet. The Peninsula is no exception with intense katabatic winds racing down from mountain tops and ice caps. -Lemaire Channel
In November, fast ice (sea ice still attached to shore) dominates deep bays and coves. -Wilhelmina Bay
Early Gentoo hatchlings. -Brown Bluff
Gentoo penguins are very adaptable and not as ice and krill reliant. As a result, Gentoo numbers are increasing while their Chinstrap and Adelie cousins are in decline. -Cierva Cove
Brash ice (broken chunks of glaciers and icebergs) dominate the shoreline at low tide. -George’s Point
It isn’t fully understood why humpback whales perform these acrobatics. Some theories are that it is social behaviour and others believe it is a tactic to loosen things up downstairs. -Ererra Channel
As the season progresses, the whales are well fed, happy, and curious so close encounters are more common in February and March. -Gerlache Strait
Antarctica has a disturbing history of wildlife exploitation. These derelict pressure cookers were used to extract oil from whales and seals on Deception Island up until 1931 when shore-based operations couldn’t compete with ship-based whaling. -Deception Island
The good news is that many whale species decimated by commercial whaling are now recovering. Especially humpback whales who are finally returning to areas which used to be frequented by whalers and are seemingly not afraid of ships either! -Ererra Channel
An inquisitive Leopard Seal comes to check out our Zodiac. -Brown Bluff
A Humpback Whale giving us a nice show. -Gerlache Strait
Lenticular clouds form from high winds hitting an obstruction like these mountain peaks on Wiencke Island. -Gerlache Strait
This was the kind of day where everything makes sense and is alright in the world. -Cierva Cove
Penguins enjoy a good sunset just like the rest of us. Here a young Gentoo is trading old feathers for new waterproof ones in a yearly moult. -Port Lockroy