Friday, April 10, 2020

Photo Friday: Antarctica #2, Kayaking with the ice

Last week I began the account of our cruise to Antarctica with the crossing of the Drake Passage and our first morning's zodiac cruise. Today, I have photos from the first afternoon, kayaking with the icebergs. Unlike kayakers on some other days, we didn't have any close encounters with whales, but we did have beautiful weather and water conditions.

Our ship, the Plancius, provided all the necessary gear, including wet suits and paddling jackets. It felt like a lot of clothes as we layered them on over long underwear, but actually kayaking was a warmer activity that sitting in a zodiac (and had less wind chill). 
What the fashionable Antarctic paddler wears (though the camera bag wasn't a common accessory).

Since I don't much care for being cold and wet, I was glad to see the glassy calm of the Errera Channel around Danco Island, our kayaking area.
The shore-landing party headed out before us.

We had our own zodiac ride to bring us closer to where we wanted to paddle, and all managed to make the transfer from zodiac to kayak without mishaps, thanks to the excellent assistance of Adam, our kayak guide, and Ferdinand, our zodiac driver.
A successful launch! As usual, I take the rear so Dave can focus on photography.

The landscape (waterscape? Some of each) was fantastic--we were in no doubt that we weren't in California!
Even Ferdinand took the chance to get some photos of the massive icebergs and the jumbled glacier

The first thing we did was cruise close to shore to get a look at the gentoo penguins. 
Very calm water meant we could come in close to shore--though never less than 5 meters, to avoid disturbing the birds. Even at 5 meters the smell is impressive!

 Once we'd had our fill of penguins, we enjoyed the scenery.
We got used to seeing glaciers everywhere, creeping down the hills and into the water.

We started with sunshine and blue skies, but of course in a land like Antarctica, weather changes. Happily, though we got darkening skies, the wind remained calm.

Paddling through the thick coat of floating ice bits was fun, if more difficult than expected (even a small piece of ice in the water puts up a lot of resistance when you hit it with your paddle).

All good things come to an end, however, and we had to crawl back into the zodiac (a less graceful procedure than the other direction) and return to the ship, dragging the string of kayaks behind us.

Once everyone was aboard, we sailed on through the Errera Channel, past a lot of ice, as the day waned.
Looking back as we left our playground.
Possibly the most perfect iceberg I saw.

Stay tuned for more penguins, a glacier walk, and more ice bergs next week!

All images and text ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2020, unless otherwise indicated.
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!


  1. Thanks--it was an awesome day with amazing scenery and light. The photos kind of took themselves :)

  2. Sigh. I reckon paddling upto the Gentoos is very much like sitting at the edge of a Puffin colony off Mull. I could easily spend all the trip time there.

    1. Penguins are the most amazing things. I had a chance on another day to get up close and personal with some--those photos are coming ;)

  3. As usual, your pictures are great, and the story telling brings me along with you.

    1. A little different from the kayaking in your neighborhood!

  4. Gorgeous photos and it sounds like a trip of a lifetime. What a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing it and your travels with us. I've been following you (I think I found you years ago on the A to Z Challenge). I love penguins so please share your photos with us. Keep up the good work!

  5. hi Rebecca - I certainly wouldn't want to go in the drink there! Amazing and so brave of you to kayak ... must have just been incredible ... thanks for these - all the best Hilary

    1. Yeah, I thought about that. But later in the cruise, most of us did a quick dip, and didn't die of it :D Still, I would have been less comfortable on one of windier days.

  6. Wonderful photos - quality art. And you must have some amazing memories.


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