Ice on Fire — Sunset in Paradise Bay, Antarctica

Posted on October 23, 2013 by

While I am camping in East Africa with no internet access, I’ve lined up some articles from recent trips to share with you here. I went on an expedition cruise in Antarctica almost a year ago but I still have so much to share and hope you can join me in one of the most amazing places of the world.

There are so many things that make Antarctica unlike anywhere else in the world: its remoteness, its icebergs, impressive glaciers, rich wildlife, and its magnificent sunsets.

On our Antarctica expedition, we were blessed with bright sunlight and spectacular sunsets almost everyday. The sun would set upon the horizon around midnight each day and light up the pristine landscape in a shade of vermillion. On one particular night, we were cruising in the peaceful Paradise Bay off the Antarctica Peninsula, amidst tiny chunks of icebergs and floes, when we came across another one of the most beautiful sunsets I’d ever seen.

Antarctica looked as though it was on fire. The sky lit up in an iridescent shade of reddish orange, with the sun’s rays outlining the silhouette of the mountains. Because of the light reflection, the ice floes in the bay were shimmering in bright orange too, resembling small fireballs floating on water. Everything had transformed from sparkling white to flaming red – the floating ice, the mountains and even the snow-covered shoreline of the continental shelf. It was as though we were on another planet or another dimension.

“In my years of Antarctic expeditions, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Osi, one of our expedition leader. Considering how many years she’s worked in the polar regions, this must be a rare occurrence. Staring at the spectacular scene before me, I couldn’t help but feel truly privileged and grateful to be here.

Here are some photos I shot that evening, hope they capture the magic.


The sun hanging low, above the horizon

The sun slowly setting

The sun is now behind the mountains

Fading beyond the horizon

Disappearing beyond the horizon, lighting up the landscape in vermillion rays

landscapes quilted in vermillion rays

With my lens zoomed in, the ice mountain looks as though it’s on fire

Intensifying light

The landscape quilted in red color

Purple and orange rays

With the sun far behind the horizon, the red rays are slowly becoming a mixture of purple and orange

light turning into a shade of purple

 A sky full of purple, blue, and pink – night is here.

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. 


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.

2 Responses to “Ice on Fire — Sunset in Paradise Bay, Antarctica”

  1. kristy October 23, 2013 8:22 pm #

    I always adore the breath taking view of the sunset. It is very calm and it reminds me that whenever bad things happened to today everything will be all right tomorrow.

  2. John October 24, 2013 12:38 pm #

    Gorgeous! During my visit, we had the experience of seeing a sunset (not as spectacular as this, but still beautiful), followed thirty minutes later by the sunrise. Still one of the best travel experiences I have ever had.

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