Ice in various shapes and shades of blue sparkle and shimmer under the midnight sun. A few crabeater seals and Gentoo penguins squawk and wiggle on the ice floes nearby, surrounded by water so crystal clear the reflection of the sun’s rays is almost blinding. It’s fiercely quiet; all we can hear are the crackling of the glaciers in the far distance and the snap and pop of the melting ice around us.
This is Antarctica. It’s harsh, remote, and truly far beyond. One can really get a sense of being at the edge of the world here – there’s hardly any sign of humanity, and we only saw one other ship during our 11-day expedition. Antarctica makes you feel like you’re the first person ever to have arrived, even on a ship with 120 other passengers. Aboard the G Adventures MS Expedition, we are voyeurs – taking a peek into a different world, one that belongs to Mother Earth.
Each day of our Antarctic expedition was better than the previous: from sailing into a playground of icebergs and glaciers at the start of the voyage, to watching Antarctica light up in bright vermilion at midnight the next, and cruising alongside playful whales towards the end of the trip. Through our cabin windows, I awoke to mammoth icebergs and jagged sharp peaks surrounding us.
As I piece together the memories from this trip, here are some of my favorite shots from the Antarctic Peninsula (click for more). Over the next few weeks, I’ll be recounting my trip here each step of the way, from the start to the end.
Our first landing on Danco Island and we were surrounded by rookeries of Gentoo penguins.
On our way back to the Drake Passage, we came across these massive icebergs that were bigger than our ship. This one in particular had beautiful arches and curves.
Cruising into Lemaire Channel aboard the MS Expedition
A close up on one of the glaciers that spill out from the Antarctic continent
The water is so clear that you can see the extension of the iceberg deep into the water
Kayakers paddling through ice at Paradise Bay
This couple from Hongkong are on their honeymoon and had the brilliant idea of bringing their wedding suits along for an impromptu photo shoot.
The silky fur of the crabeater seal shimmers under the bright sunlight
Look how close we got to the crabeater seal on our zodiac – the seal could barely be bothered by us and continued snoozing
This elephant seal on King George Island belched and burped over a dozen times as I watched it in awe
Several minke whales playfully swam alongside our zodiac at Paradise Bay
Holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes, this pair of Gentoo penguins look like they’re in love
A chinstrap penguin waddles along the beach at Turret Point on King George Island.
At the penguin highway, watching the gentoos busy at work.
Antarctica on fire as the sun washed everything in vermilion that evening at Port Lockroy
Midnight at Peltier Channel – both the sun and moon made an appearance that night.
Disclaimer: I traveled with G Adventures on the Antarctica Classic In Depth (XVAESX) trip as a part of the Wanderers In Residence program, but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Follow my journey on this blog, or on Twitter with the #WJAntarctica hashtag.