Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), the southernmost tip in South America, Chile

Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), the southernmost tip of South America, Chile

 

We were very surprised to wake up on our last day at sea on our Antarctic journey (in a fortuitously very calm crossing of the Drake Passage between the Antarctic Peninsula and South America) to find out that the weather and wind conditions were excellent around Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile, so that we would be able to make a rare Zodiac landing on the island. 

Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile, is the southernmost tip of South America and the Western Hemisphere.  It remains a maritime legend to this day, as sailing around this remote point and then through the Drake Passage was (and is) one of the most challenging nautical routes on the planet.  The violent stretch of chaotic water between Antarctica and South America, one frequented by icebergs, huge waves and plagued by gale-force winds, is crossed by sailors with great trepidation.  Many still prefer to use the sheltered Strait of Magellan, to the north of Ushuaia, Argentina.

 

Navigation map with Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn) on the bottom center (with several purple stamps around it), Chile

Navigation map with Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn) on the bottom center (with several purple stamps around it), Chile

“Cape Horn marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage and marks where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans collide.  For decades it was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world.  The waters around Cape Horn are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious as a sailors’ graveyard.  The need for ships to round Cape Horn was greatly reduced by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.  Sailing around the Horn is widely regarded as one of the major challenges in yachting.” — Wikipedia 

 

Walkway stairs from the beach landing, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

Walkway stairs from the beach landing, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

 

"to all our passages of the cape", Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

“to all our passages of the cape”, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

 

Monumento Cabo de Hornos (Albatros Monument), Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

Monumento Cabo de Hornos (Albatros Monument), Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

 

“The cape lies within what are now Chilean territorial waters, and the Chilean Navy maintains a station on Hoorn Island, consisting of a residence, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse.  A short distance from the main station is a memorial, including a large sculpture made by Chilean sculptor Jose Balcells featuring the silhouette of an albatross, in remembrance of the sailors who died while attempting to “round the Horn”.  It was erected in 1992 through the initiative of the Chilean Section of the Cape Horn Captains Brotherhood.  The terrain is entirely treeless, although quite lush owing to frequent precipitation.” — Wikipedia 

 

Lighthouse ladder to the light, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

Lighthouse ladder to the light, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

 

 

Wooden church, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

Wooden church, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

 

Virgen del Carmen and tulips in the old wooden church, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

 

 

Wooden church siding, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

Wooden church siding, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

 

Cape Horn was our last landfall before sailing north to the eastern entrance of the Beagle Channel, from which point we sailed west back to our starting point for this voyage, Ushuaia, Argentina.  The landscape, waters, icebergs, glaciers, penguins, birds, historic settlements, and highly changeable weather left permanent impressions on all of our fortunate small group of “explorers” on this voyage.   Fortunately we were able to capture much of this through photography and videography. 

Visiting Antarctica is a trip of a lifetime and not to be missed.  Put it on your bucket list!

 

Our ship framed by the window in the old wooden church, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

Our ship framed by the window in the old wooden church, Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), Chile

 

Antarctica Treaty Historic Site No. 61, British Base A, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Welcome to Antarctica Treaty Historic Site No. 61, British Base A, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Welcome to Antarctica Treaty Historic Site No. 61, British Base A, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

 

Port Lockroy, off the Neumayer Channel in Antarctica on Goudier Island and Wiencke Island in the Palmer Archipelago, was used as an occasional anchorage by whalers a hundred years ago. It was established in 1944 as Base A by the British as part of a secret wartime initiative to monitor German shipping movements.  That expedition was code-named Operation Tabarin, after a well-known Paris nightclub, because team members would be staying there during the darkness of the Antarctic winter.  After World War II, the station continued to operate in a civilian capacity until 1964, when it ceased operations.  This historic base was recently restored privately by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust and is now open to visitors as a museum.  It is an extremely popular site, as more than half of the 40,000 annual visitors to Antarctica stop at Port Lockroy to visit the museum and Penguin Post Office. For more information about the Antarctic Heritage Trust, visit: www.ukaht.org

Old mooring chains on a rock at the landing site for British Base A, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Old mooring chains on a rock at the landing site for British Base A, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

 

The restored main building of British Base A, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

The restored main building of British Base A, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

 

The history of Port Lockroy was described in signage at the museum by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust: “The station is of importance as the earliest example of a British scientific station in the Antarctic Peninsula region. It was established as Base A in February 1944 during Operation Tabarin, a British World War II expedition, and remained operation until January 1962.

“Initially, scientific research carried out at the station was topographic survey, geology, meteorology and botany.  From 1950 the station played an important role in ionospheric research and was a key monitoring site during the International Geophysical Year of 1957. The normal occupancy of the station was 4 to 9 people.

Base Kitchen, circa 1940s, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Base Kitchen, circa 1940s, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

“The original station hut, ‘Bransfield House’, still survives as the core of the main building and is the oldest British structure remaining on the Antarctic Peninsula.  The main base building was enlarged in 1952 and 1953.  In 1956 a separate boathouse was constructed and in 1958 the generator building was added to the main base. Other original structures included a Nissen hut [– a prefabricated steel structure, made from a half-cylindrical skin of corrugated steel, known in the U.S. as a Quonset hut –] (used as a store), built in 1944, which later collapsed during the 1990s. It was reconstructed in 2010 on the original foundations to act as accommodation for the seasonal staff.

Penguin Post Office -- the only working post office in Antarctica, British Base A, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Penguin Post Office — the only working post office in Antarctica, British Base A, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

“Base A, Port Lockroy, was designated HSM No. 61 in 1995 and is conserved and managed by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust on behalf of the UK.  Repair and conservation work of Port Lockroy was undertaken in early 1996 and maintenance is ongoing.  At that time an annual environmental monitoring programme was established to assess potential visitor disturbance to the rookery of Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) on Goudier Island.  Results show that there is no discernable impact on penguin breeding success, which is more closely linked to local environmental conditions, such as skua predation, snow cover or the availability of krill.”

The "Beastie", used for ionospheric observations (upper atmosphere research) at Port Lockroy, Antarctica

The “Beastie”, used for ionospheric observations (upper atmosphere research) at Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Pictured above is a 1959 Mk II Union Radio Automatic Ionoscope, better known as a “Beastie” due to its size and the complexity of its components.  It is identical to the one used at Port Lockroy between 1953 and 1961.  A sign of explanation about the “Beastie” and Antarctic research today noted:  “Long-term data from the ‘Beastie’ at Port Lockroy have recently been used by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to demonstrate that the ionosphere over Port Lockroy has been falling by more than a quarter of a mile per annum since measurements began here.  The cause is increased levels of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, which is responsible for global warming.”

 

Wooden snow shoes (Norwegian-style) and skis, circa 1940s, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Wooden snow shoes (Norwegian-style) and skis, circa 1940s, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

 

Nesting Gentoo Penguins in front of the contemporary Quonset hut living quarters, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Nesting Gentoo Penguins in front of the contemporary Quonset hut living quarters, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguins, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguins, Port Lockroy, Antarctica

 

A glacier flowing into the sea in the channel across from Port Lockroy, Antarctica

A glacier flowing into the sea in the channel across from Port Lockroy, Antarctica

 

Sailboat from Ushuaia with a French crew, anchored with the Gentoo Penguins at Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Sailboat from Ushuaia, Argentina, with a French crew, anchored with the Gentoo Penguins at Port Lockroy, Antarctica

 

Giant icebergs with evening light as we sailed towards Drake Passage and Argentina from Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Giant icebergs with evening light as we sailed towards Drake Passage and Argentina from Port Lockroy, Antarctica

 

Mountains and glaciers with evening light as we sailed towards Drake Passage and Argentina from Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Mountains and glaciers with evening light as we sailed towards Drake Passage and Argentina from Port Lockroy, Antarctica

 

Our last view of glaciers and mountains on the Antarctic coast, in evening light, as we sailed towards Drake Passage and Argentina from Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Our last view of glaciers and mountains on the Antarctic Peninsula coast, in evening light, as we sailed towards Drake Passage and Argentina from Port Lockroy, Antarctica

 

United States Antarctic Program (USAP) Palmer Station, Arthur Harbour, Anvers Island, Antactica

Some of the buildings of the U.S. Antarctic Program's Palmer Station, with the directional sign to other research stations, in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

Some of the buildings of the U.S. Antarctic Program’s Palmer Station, with the directional sign to other research stations, in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

The morning after we sailed by Palmer Station to anchor overnight in the Neumayer Channel, we sailed to Arthur Harbour where we anchored near the USAP Palmer Station, located on Anvers Island, Antarctica.  The United States Antarctic Program (USAP) maintains three year-round stations in the Antarctic.  The largest is on Ross Island in McMurdo Sound (reached by ship from Australia).   The second station is at the Geographic South Pole, with Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula (reached by ship from Argentina) being the third.

We were very fortunate to be one of the few ships visiting the area that was allowed to send Zodiacs ashore for us to get a guided tour of the research station.

The directional sign to other research stations at the U.S. Antarctic Program's Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

The directional sign to other research stations at the U.S. Antarctic Program’s Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

We also had the opportunity to get a passport stamp from Palmer Station, a rarity, as Antarctica is a continent under joint international management, but not a country/countries. In fact, Antarctica is the only continent on earth that does not have a country on it.

 

Your intrepid exploer and blogger in front of a giant oil storage tank at the U.S. Antarctic Program's Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

Your intrepid explorer and blogger in front of a giant oil storage tank at the U.S. Antarctic Program’s Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

 

For more information about Palmer Station, visit: 

www.usap.gov/videoclipsandmaps/palwebcam.cfm

 

 

The view of the icebergs from the U.S. Antarctic Program's Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

The view of the icebergs from the U.S. Antarctic Program’s Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

 

Panoramic view from Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Anvers Island, Antarctica

Panoramic view from Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Anvers Island, Antarctica

 

 

One of our ship's Zodiacs departing from the U.S. Antarctic Program's Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

One of our ship’s Zodiacs departing from the U.S. Antarctic Program’s Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

 

A Zodiacs exploring the channel near the U.S. Antarctic Program's Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

A Zodiac exploring the channel near the U.S. Antarctic Program’s Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

 

Mountains, glaciers, snow, ice and icebergs in the channel near the U.S. Antarctic Program's Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

Mountains, glaciers, snow, ice and icebergs in the channel near the U.S. Antarctic Program’s Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Avers Island, Antarctica

 

Ice forms near Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Anvers Island, Antarctica

Ice forms near Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Anvers Island, Antarctica

 

Gentoo Penguin pas de deux on the ice near Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Anvers Island, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguin pas de deux on the ice near Palmer Station in Arthur Harbour on Anvers Island, Antarctica

 

Nightime sailing through the Neumayer Channel, Antarctica

The coast of Anvers Island in the Dallmann Fjords, Antarctica

The coast of Anvers Island in the Dallmann Fjords, Antarctica

After our afternoon of exploring the Dallmann Fjords off Anvers Island, Antarctica, we then sailed through the Neumayer Channel in the evening to reach the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) station on Anvers Island – Palmer Station.

Cascading mountain peaks on Anvers Island in the Dallmann Fjords, Antarctica

Cascading mountain peaks on Anvers Island in the Dallmann Fjords, Antarctica

 

 

Icebergs in the Neumayer Channel at 10.30 pm, Antarctica

Icebergs in the Neumayer Channel at 10.30 pm, Antarctica

The “Neumayer Channel (64°47′26″S 63°8′21″W) is a channel 16 miles (26 km) long in a NE-SW direction and about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide, separating Anvers Island from Wiencke Island and Doumer Island, in the Palmer Archipelago.  The southwest entrance to this channel was seen by Eduard Dallmann, leader of the German 1873-74 expedition, who named it Roosen Channel.  The Belgian Antarctic Expedition, 1897–99, under Gerlache, sailed through the channel and named it for Georg von Neumayer.  The second name has been approved because of more general usage.” — Wikipedia

A large iceberg highlighted by the setting sun in the Neumayer Channel at 11 pm, Antarctica

A large iceberg highlighted by the setting sun in the Neumayer Channel at 11 pm, Antarctica

 

 

Beautiful late night (11 pm) lighting in the Neumayer Channel, Antarctica

Beautiful late night (11 pm) lighting in the Neumayer Channel, Antarctica

 

“Neumayer Channel is known for its majestic cliffs, an attraction for tourists who come to the region. It is said to be like a maze with no visible exits because of its inverted S-shape. Its entrance and exits both have sharp bends.” — Wikipedia

 

Our first view of the US Antarctic Program's Palmer Station on Anvers Island, Antarctica

Our first view of the US Antarctic Program’s Palmer Station on Anvers Island, Antarctica

 

The United States Antarctic Program (USAP) Palmer Station is located on the shore of Anvers Island, Antarctica.  With ice cliffs rising above Arthur Harbor and the station, the Marr Ice Piedmont covers Anvers Island.  The highest mountain on the island is Mount Français (9,055 feet/2,760 m). 

“Most research at Palmer Station is conducted during the austral summer (October to March), when days are long, ice cover is low, and organisms are abundant. Scientists study many of the marine and terrestrial organisms that inhabit the local area, including bacteria, algae, invertebrates, fish and birds.  The area is part of the National Science Foundation’s Long Term Exological Research (LTER) Program.  Since 1990, this multi-disciplinary project has focused on studying the effects of changing sea-ice cover, a potential indicator of global climate change, on the structure and function of the region’s marine ecosystem.  Palmer Station also participates in data collection for worldwide environmental monitoring networks.  Onsite instruments measure seismic activity, atmospheric characteristics, and very-low-frequency (VLF) radio waves.  Satellite images processed at Palmer Station are used to understand and map regional sea ice conditions, weather patterns, and phytoplankton concentrations in the ocean.” — from the Palmer Station website, USAP.gov

Looking at our ship in the Palmer Station fixed geocam camera at 11.20 pm on an iPad on our balcony, as we sail past the Station to anchor in Arthur Harbour on Anvers Island, Antarctica

Looking at our ship in the Palmer Station fixed geocam camera at 11.20 pm on an iPad on our balcony, as we sail past the Station to anchor in Arthur Harbour on Anvers Island, Antarctica

 

A very cool moment was when we had the Palmer Station geocam image up on our iPad and suddenly saw our ship in the image — sailing past the station in the channel.  I rushed outside to our deck and put the iPad on the railing to get the above photograph — our ship seen in the image, sailing past Palmer Station!

“The geocam camera image is often obscured due to harsh and unpredictable weather conditions. A guy wire supporting the tower upon which the Palmer Station camera is mounted can be seen in most images. Located on Anvers Island near the Antarctic Peninsula, Palmer Station (64° 46’S, 64° 03’W) is named for Nathaniel B. Palmer, who in 1820 on a sealing expedition in his 47-foot (14-meter) ship the Hero became the first American to record sighting Antarctica. The original station was built in 1965. In 1967, the U.S. Navy began construction of the current larger and more permanent station approximately a mile east of the original site. The first building at the new station, the biology laboratory, opened its doors to science in 1970. Today, two main buildings and several smaller structures make up Palmer Station and provide housing and research facilities for scientists and support personnel. Of the three U.S. Antarctic stations, Palmer is the only one that is accessed routinely during the winter.

“Average temperatures are 36° F (2° C) in austral summer and 14° F (-10° C) in austral winter. The station frequently experiences high winds, sometimes reaching 70 knots or more. Average annual precipitation is 13 feet (4 meters) of snow and 30 in (76 cm) of rain. Palmer Station lies outside the Antarctic Circle, so in the middle of austral winter there are five hours of light during each day. Conversely, the austral summer brings long days of 19 hours of light and 5 of twilight. These changes in light influence seasonal cycles of temperature, weather, sea ice formation, and the organisms that live in this area. The station supports science year-round and accommodates about 20 people in the winter and up to 44 in the austral summer. There are dormitory bedrooms, communal bathrooms, and a cafeteria-style kitchen. Everyone helps clean, and many participate in weekly science lectures and social events).” — from the Palmer Station website, USAP.gov

 

The sun dipped down at 11.30 pm in Arthur Harbour on Anvers Island, but did not "set", Antarctica

The sun dipped down at 11.30 pm in Arthur Harbour on Anvers Island, but did not “set”, Antarctica

 

Whales and penguins in the Dallmann Fjords off Anvers Island, Antarctica

A triangle-shaped Iceberg in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

A triangle-shaped Iceberg in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

Anvers Island or Antwerp Island or Antwerpen Island or Isla Amberes is a high, mountainous island 61 km long, the largest in the Palmer Archipelago of Antarctica – 38 miles (61 km) long.   It was discovered by John Biscoe in 1832 and named in 1898 by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition under Andrian de Gerlache after the province of Antwerp in Belgium.

The mountainous coast with glaciers of the Dallmann Fjords near Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

The mountainous coast with glaciers of the Dallmann Fjords near Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

Captain Dallmann was the captain of a sealing ship who sailed through this area of Antarctica prior to 1875 when his discoveries were used in A. Petermann’s South Polar Chart.

 

Humpback whale in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

Humpback whale in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

 

“The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a species of baleen whale. One of the larger rorqual species, adults range in length from 12–16 m (39–52 ft) and weigh about 36,000 kg (79,000 lb).  The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It is known for breaching and other distinctive surface behaviors, making it popular with whale watchers.  Males produce a complex song lasting 10 to 20 minutes, which they repeat for hours at a time.  Its purpose is not clear, though it may have a role in mating.” — Wikipedia

 

Humpback whale profile in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

Humpback whale profile in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

 

“Found in oceans and seas around the world, humpback whales typically migrate up to 25,000 km (16,000 mi) each year.  Humpbacks feed only in summer, in polar waters, and migrate to tropical or subtropical waters to breed and give birth in the winter when they fast and live off their fat reserves.  Their diet consists mostly of krill and small fish.  Humpbacks have a diverse repertoire of feeding methods, including the bubble net technique.  Like other large whales, the humpback was a target for the whaling industry.  Once hunted to the brink of extinction, its population fell by an estimated 90% before a 1966 moratorium.  While stocks have partially recovered, entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships, and noise pollution continue to impact the population of 80,000.” — Wikipedia

Icebergs in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

Icebergs in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

Iceberg with Gentoo Penguins in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

Iceberg with Gentoo Penguins in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

Three Gentoo Penguins on iceberg in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

Three Gentoo Penguins on iceberg in Dallmann Fjords off Northern Anvers Island, Antarctica

 

Cuverville Island on the Gerlache Strait on the Arctowski Peninsula, Antarctica

Sailing the Gerlache Strait on the way to Cuverville Island and the Arctowski Peninsula, Antarctica

Sailing the Gerlache Strait on the way to Cuverville Island and the Arctowski Peninsula, Antarctica

We sailed through the Gerlache Strait and spent the morning anchored off Cuverville Island.  Your intrepid explorer and I had an opportunity of a lifetime to don “dry suits” and go out on the water in a two-person kayak and circumnavigate Cuverville Island in the course of two hours.   Our small group of kayakers had the opportunity to pass by icebergs, glaciers, penguins and to watch many birds flying over the water and the island.  A highlight was the ship’s videographer having a drone outfitted with a video camera and, consequently, we now have video “footage” of our group out on the water kayaking around the island.

A "cave" on the water in a glacier flowing into the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica

A “cave” on the water in a glacier flowing into the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica

Much of this area was explored and charted by the Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache, leader of the 1898-99 Belgica expedition.  That expedition ultimately was beset in the ice pack near Peter Island, becoming the first exploring vessel to ever overwinter in the Antarctic.

One of the larger icebergs we sailed by in the Gerlache Strait, close to Cuverville Island, Antarctica

One of the larger icebergs we sailed by in the Gerlache Strait, close to Cuverville Island, Antarctica

Like many of these islands, Cuverville Island is home to a wealth of breeding birds, including a large Gentoo Penguin colony, and was heavily used as a flensing area by whalers during the 1920s.

A lone kelp gull swimming in the Gerlache Strait, close to Cuverville Island, Antarctica

A lone kelp gull swimming in the Gerlache Strait, close to Cuverville Island, Antarctica

“The kelp gull (Larus dominicanus), also known as the Dominican gull, is a gull which breeds on coasts and islands through much of the southern hemisphere. The nominate L. d. dominicanus is the subspecies found around South America…” — Wikipedia

This end of the large iceberg remined me of a giant ice version of a banded armadillo, in the Gerlache Strait, close to Cuverville Island, Antarctica

This end of the large iceberg reminded me of a giant ice version of a banded armadillo, in the Gerlache Strait, close to Cuverville Island, Antarctica

Notice how much of this iceberg that is underwater is visible, in the Gerlache Strait, close to Cuverville Island, Antarctica

Notice how much of this iceberg that is underwater is visible, in the Gerlache Strait, close to Cuverville Island, Antarctic

Penola Strait and Booth Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Mountains and icebergs in the Penola Strait (just south of the Lemaire Channel, visited earlier), Antarctica

Mountains and icebergs in the Penola Strait (just south of the Lemaire Channel, visited earlier), Antarctica

The “Penola Strait (65°10′S 64°7′WCoordinates: 65°10′S 64°7′W) is a strait 11 nautical miles (20 km) long and averaging 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) wide, separating the Argentine Islands, Petermann Island and Hovgaard Island from the west coast of Graham Land. Traversed by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition under Gerlache on February 12, 1898.  Named by the British Graham Land Expedition (BGLE), 1934–37, under Rymill, for the expedition ship Penola.” — Wikipedia

Iceberg arch in the Penola Strait (just south of the Lemaire Channel), Antarctica

Iceberg arch in the Penola Strait (just south of the Lemaire Channel), Antarctica

iceberg icicles in the Penola Strait (just south of the Lemaire Channel), Antarctica

Iceberg icicles in the Penola Strait (just south of the Lemaire Channel), Antarctica

 

“If Antarctica were music it would be Mozart.  Art, and it would be Michelangelo. Literature, and it would be Shakespeare.  And yet it is something even greater; the only place on earth that is still as it should be.  May we never tame it.” ― Andrew Denton

 

Iceberg spear off Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

Iceberg spear off Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

 

“Booth Island (or Wandel Island) is a rugged, Y-shaped island, 8 kilometres (5 mi) long and rising to 980 m (3,215 ft) off the northwest coast of Kiev Peninsula in Graham Land, Antarctica in the northeastern part of the Wilhelm Archipelago. Booth Island is located at 65°4′48″S 64°0′0″W. Discovered and named by a German expedition under Eduard Dallmann 1873–74, probably for Oskar Booth or Stanley Booth, or both, members of the Hamburg Geographical Society at that time. The narrow passage between the island and the mainland is the scenic Lemaire Channel.” – Wikipedia

[See our previous post on the Lemaire Channel for photographs of both the channel and a “portrait” of Booth Island.]

“The highest point of the island is 980-metre (3,215 ft) Wandel Peak. Damien Gildea called it “one of the most challenging unclimbed objectives on the Antarctic Peninsula”. On 15 February 2006 the peak was reached by a group of Spanish alpinists, who still avoided the last 10–15 metres (32.8–49.2 ft) of the mushroomlike top.” — Wikipedia

A rare combination of all three species of "brushtail penguins nest together -- Adélie, Gentoo and Chinstrap -- on Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

A rare combination of all three species of “brushtail” penguins nest together — Adélie, Gentoo and Chinstrap — on Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

Nesting Adélie Penguins on Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

Nesting Adélie Penguins on Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

“The Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is a species of penguin common along the entire Antarctic coast, which is their only residence. They are among the most southerly distributed of all seabirds, along with the Emperor Penguin, the south polar skua, the Wilson’s storm petrel, the snow petrel, and the Antarctic petrel. They are named after Adélie Land, in turn named for the wife of French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville who discovered these penguins in 1840.” — Wikipedia

A mother Adélie Penguin with -- look carefully - two very young gray baby chicks on Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

A mother Adélie Penguin with — look carefully – two very young gray baby chicks on Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

“Based on a 2014 analysis of fresh guano-discolored coastal areas, there are3.79 million breeding pairs of Adélie Penguins in 251 breeding colonies, a 53 percent increase over a census completed 20 years earlier. The colonies are distributed around the coastline of the Antarctic land and ocean. Colonies have declined on the Antarctic Peninsula…” — Wikipedia

A proud papa Adélie Penguin on Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

A proud papa Adélie Penguin on Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

 

Our ship as seen from Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica

Our ship as seen from Booth Island in the Penola Strait, Antarctica