We have spent the day south of the Antarctic Circle in Marguerite Bay, far enough south that at this time of year the sun never goes below the horizon, and there is no night. It was a great day to contemplate the breadth and range of conditions that shape our experience here. Our original intention was to visit Stonington Island, site of historic US and UK bases which were used periodically from the 1930s through the 1970s, but as we approached, the calm winds out in Marguerite Bay rapidly changed to ferocious katabatic winds, driven by air flow off the mainland ice sheet and tumbling down through the mountain valleys and over the surrounding glaciers. So off we went to explore alternative sites with more favorable conditions. We found ourselves amongst minute lichens, multi-hued rocks, brooding penguins, ridges of glacial debris, and a vast white plain of sea ice, surrounded by mountains and glaciers.
National Geographic Resolution
The passengers and crew of National Geographic Resolution started their day surrounded by stunning scenery just south of the Lemaire Channel. We were very close to the Ukraine Research Station, Vernadsky. As we sailed on steadily, passengers were treated to a lecture about snow algae and its effect on the snow and ice of Antarctica by Alia Kahn, our visiting scientist. A short while later, Jim Coyer offered some very interesting insights into krill, which is literally the foundation of the Antarctic life cycle. After lunch, we arrived at Prospect Point at the southern end of the Penola Strait. Zodiacs were lowered, and guests were treated to a wonderfully serene, peaceful cruise amongst ice floes and huge icebergs of various shapes. The sheer majesty of the scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula rarely fails to move us and engage all our senses. Back on board, undersea specialist and naturalist Tanish Peelgrane provided guests with the opportunity to show off their artistic talents with watercolors. This yielded many wonderful interpretations of the afternoon’s experiences. As one more exceptional day draws to an end, we look forward to seeing what delights tomorrow brings.