Monday, March 17, 2014

Antarctica - Paradise Bay and Lemaire Channel

Another early morning, this one unusually so, meant I was up before the happy campers.  It really did look very cold:


The early morning sun started to lift over the mountains, creating a beautiful landscape (around 5am this):



At around 5:45 the first campers were brought back to the boat to be warmed up and generally to get themselves comfortable again:


Some were clearly happy with the whole experience, others mostly just huddled:


From Paradise Bay we weighed anchor and headed for a morning passage in the Lemaire Channel, passing another passenger ship on the way, this one a former Russian spyboat, now converted for commercial use:


As you can see there was a low cloud layer in the entrance and first part of the channel leading to a very low ceiling and silvery light:


In the channel itself we got out from under the cloud and into some spectacular scenery benefiting from the sunlight:



I think there are three or four different icebergs in front of the land-based snow dome:


and lots of icebergs and sea ice:



In the channel I noticed Kelp Gulls with an unusual pattern to their wings, subsequent research suggests this is a local form of the species:



It really was a fascinating place to visit:




We also passed the odd Weddell Seal contentedly hauled-out on the ice:



From the Lemaire channel we headed on to Port Lockeroy, passing a Humpback Whale that was idling on the surface:


And our only Crabeater Seals of the trip (there are no crabs for them to eat only krill but the early men who massacred them in huge numbers mistook the contents of their stomachs for crabs):


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