Kodak Moment: Cruising through Lemaire Channel in Antarctica

Posted on December 11, 2012 by

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.

Cruising into Lemaire Channel
Peaks poking into the clouds
glaciers up close
Antarctic continent from Lemaire Channel
A giant iceberg
A Weddell seal as seen from the cruise
Penguins on ice
A humpback makes an appearance

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. 

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

8 Responses to “Kodak Moment: Cruising through Lemaire Channel in Antarctica”

  1. Kellie December 11, 2012 5:05 pm #

    These photos are just stunning. I'm heading to Antarctica in a couple of weeks and your recent posts have helped get me even more excited than I already was! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

    What lens did you find you ended up using the most, or did it vary?

    • Nellie Huang December 13, 2012 3:44 pm #

      Thanks for dropping by Kellie! You are going to love Antarctica!

      I brought three lenses, one was 18-200, 70-300, and 8-16. I ended up using the 18-200 lens the most since it was good to capture both landscape and wildlife from the cruise and zodiac. In Antarctica, you get so close to the wildlife you don't really need a long lens. Just my point of view. Hope this helps!

  2. Dean December 11, 2012 6:51 pm #

    Just so incredibly beautiful. This must have been a wonderful experience.

  3. andiperullo December 12, 2012 10:22 am #

    This would truly be the best moment in my life!

  4. Gill December 15, 2012 11:17 pm #

    so wanting to do this trip ina few weeks, what was crossing the Drake passage like for you, it scares me to tears!!

  5. Tina January 17, 2013 7:19 pm #

    Huge iceberg, every time I see one Titanic always comes into my mind.. :)


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