Wow! I think I caught up with the photo backlog! Here are the miscellaneous shots we took from various decks of the ship at various points in the trip. They didn’t fit neatly into the other albums, but were too awesome not to share.
General trip update – we disembark in Ushuaia at noon tomorrow!
Port Lockroy (aka British Base A), our final stop in Antarctica.
Now this blog is going back in time to show you all the cute Adelie penguins we saw at Bongrain Point on Pourquoi Pas Island. This was our southernmost landing site.
We’re now going out of order with the pictures because I really want to post what we did today!
We got to stop at Cape Horn today to take a look a beautiful sculpture that very few people get to see. It was definitely the most “adventurous” landing we’ve done, but worth it!
There a poem that accompanies the monument. Here’s the English translation.
I took a couple of days off from my photo-curating duties, but now I’m back with more gorgeous scenery. These pictures are from a few days ago, when our ship ran “The Gullet” while the sun was hovering just above the horizon (as it did all night!)
Right now we’re anchored off of Cape Horn, getting ready to go ashore.
Ice appears white because it reflects a full spectrum of human-visible light. It’s actually the air trapped between the ice crystals (by falling snow, generally) that does the reflecting, though. Over time, pockets of air that were trapped in the ice work themselves out. Once they do, most light has nothing to reflect off of. However, blue light has enough energy to make it deeper into the ice structure and either reflect off an internal surface or the water. Which makes this old, super compressed ice look blue.
More info than you possibly want to know about this phenomenon is available here. (Thanks Elena for doing the research on this one!)
tl;dr: Blue ice is really old ice, and here are some pictures of it.
We reached a latitude of 67 degrees 49 minutes S last night, which is a new record for our ship! Then the captain turned us around and we set sail for civilization. We still have many sights to see along the way, and we still have many pictures to share here, so stay tuned!
The British Antarctic Survey established Station W here in 1956. On March 31, 1959, they evacuated it very quickly and left the base as a near-perfect time capsule. Restoration work on the base is about to start, so we may have been the last tourists to see it in its current hut-that-time-forgot state.
It turned out that Station W was built in a terrible location. Researchers on the base were supposed to be mounting dog sledge expeditions to map the coastline, but the ice that connected the station to the continent was thin and dangerous to cross. In contrast, the ice between the station and open ocean (ie the route of approach for ships resupplying the station) was frequently very thick, and extended out very far.
The supply ship that was due to provision the base for the winter of 1959 was stopped by ice 30 miles away from the base. It couldn’t come closer, and it couldn’t stay long because a big storm was coming in. The researchers didn’t have enough supplies to winter where they were without the delivery from the supply ship, so they hitched up the sled dogs and travelled the 30 miles overland to the ship, which evacuated them to another British base.
We heard a story about a dog named Scott who was part of the pack at Detaille. When it was time to load onto the ship, Scott freaked out and ran away. There wasn’t time to find him or wait for him to return. Three months later, Scott turned up at another British base very far away from Detaille, looking remarkably healthy. He must have learned to hunt penguins!
Some of the best shots as we ran the Lemaire Channel last night. It was breathtakingly gorgeous. I stayed out on deck (in full expedition gear) for more than 2 hours, taking pictures and goggling at things.
This morning we crossed the Antarctic Circle, which lies at 66° 33′ S. Every place south of the circle has at least one 24 hour period of sun and one 24 hour period of darkness per year. Locations on the circle have exactly one day where the sun doesn’t set (summer solstice) and one day where the sun doesn’t rise (winter solstice) per year. The farther south you go, the more weirdo crazy days you get.
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