The bright sunshine bounced upon the glassy water surface, reflecting off all the white surrounding me –the white from the icebergs that floated past us, the white from the mammoth mountains that enveloped us and the white from the glaciers that slide off ice cliffs. It was a gorgeous morning, with the sun lighting up the entire landscape in a golden glow.
With Wiencke Island behind us, we cruised right into Lemaire Channel, one of the most photogenic parts of Antarctica. It was easy to see how it got the nickname ‘Kodak Gap’. Steep cliffs hem in the iceberg-filled passage like naturally-sculpted gateways and bergy bits litter the glassy water surrounding us. At just half a mile-wide in it narrowest part, Lemaire Channel is a stunner for both its impressive formation and size.
Since tourism in Antarctica began, the channel has become a standard part of the itinerary for expedition cruises; not only is it scenic, but the protected waters are usually as still as a lake, a rare occurrence in the storm-wracked southern seas. Ice sometimes close up the narrow channel and make navigation impossible, but we were lucky enough to make a successful clearance and found ourselves cruising deep into the fjord.
As we glided along the skyscraping peaks, we chanced upon a crabeater seal resting on an ice floe. It didn’t move one bit as we glided gently by, but just when we were just inches away from it, the shy creature slipped into the ice, and disappeared behind us. Soon after, several minke whales put on a show for us, teasing us with a few rare glimpses.
But really, Lemaire Channel is not about wildlife, it’s about an impressive landscape that epitomizes Antarctica at its best. To give you an idea of how beautiful Lemaire Channel can be, here are some of my photos from the Kodak Gap.
Disclaimer: I traveled with G Adventures on the Antarctica Classic In Depth (XVAESX) trip as a Wanderer In Residence, but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Follow my journey through these blog posts, or on Twitter with the #WJAntarctica hashtag.