“The Lemaire Channel is a strait off Antarctica, between Kiev Peninsula in the mainland’s Graham Land and Booth Island. Nicknamed “Kodak Gap” by some, it is one of the top tourist destinations in Antarctica; steep cliffs hem in the iceberg-filled passage, which is 7 miles (11 km) long and just 5,250 feet (1,600 meters) wide at its narrowest point.” — Wikipedia
“It was first seen by the German expedition of 1873-74, but not traversed until December 1898, when the Belgica of the Belgian Antarctic Expedition passed through. Expedition leader Adrien de Gerlache named it for Charles Lemaire (1863-1925), a Belgian explorer of the Congo.” — Wikipedia
“The channel has since become a standard part of the itinerary for cruising in Antarctica; 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, and the north-south traverse delivers vessels close to Petermann Island for landings. The principal difficulty is that icebergs may fill the channel, especially in early season, obliging a ship to backtrack and go around the outside of Booth Island to reach Petermann.” — Wikipedia
After we passed through the channel and with Booth Island behind us, we were completely surprised to see something moving on an iceberg ahead of the ship, on the port side. Upon closer inspection, we saw a lot of red and black coloring on top of the iceberg. Suddenly, realizing that it was 25 December, we realized that we had visitors from the North Pole on an iceberg in the Lemaire Channel.
The three of them (Santa Claus and his two helpers) waved furiously at everyone on the ship (particularly the crew!), signalling that they wished to come aboard. We lowered a Zodiac which went out and picked them up and brought them to the ship. In the lobby, after some hot libations, Santa Claus and his helpers gave presents to each and every one of the children (17 and under) on board for our Antarctic Expedition.
For everyone aboard, this was an unforgettable holiday. We were blessed with excellent weather (34 degrees F or 1 degree C and sunny and no winds). Our small community of world travelers agreed that we shared a wonderful moment together in the land of snow, icebergs, glaciers, mountains, and the Antarctic Ocean.