Archive for the 'Antarctica' Category

Paradise Bay

Glacier at Paradise Bay, Antarctica

 

Glacier at Paradise Bay, Antarctica

I was lucky enough to travel to Antarctica a few years ago. For someone like me, from Africa, who had barely seen snow before, this was really being thrown in the deep end. I don’t think I’ll be seeing this much ice and snow again in a hurry. ‘s no joke.

This is a spectacular glacier at Paradise Bay on the Antarctic Peninsula that we approached in our Zodiacs. You would think somewhere named Paradise Bay would be all about palm trees and beach volleyball, but not here. Still, very beautiful, and paradise of a less conventional sort. There was a tiny Argentinian research station in the bay near here, so if this is your idea of paradise, you could possibly get a posting out here. This picture was taken at the height of summer, so you would need to pack an extra duvet for winter.

That glacier face was as unstable as it looks. It would periodically calve off huge blocks of ice, the size of a house I suppose, which would fall into the sea with an impressive crash and splash. It’s a forbidding coastline, much of it like this, with very few places to land.

 

Back in a bit

Zodiac tripping in Antarctica

 

Dear reader, I will be travelling for the next week, so I apologise in advance for a lack of posts and HDR tutorials during that time. Sadly, it won’t be as pictured above, in a zodiac at the Antarctic peninsula. But it will be on a boat. Or ship, as my nautical relatives keep correcting me. And it will be a lot of fun!

I promise some nautical pictures, and will endeavour not to trip any fellow passengers with my tripod. Maybe I’ll even win at bingo?

Back in a bit!

Michael

Polar Centenary

Zodiac Traversing a Glacier Face in Neko Harbour, Antarctica

 

I woke up too late to the fact that yesterday was the 100th anniversary of Roald Amundsen’s victory in his race with Robert Scott to be the first man at the South Pole. 14 December 1911. Poor old Amundsen. He seems to be an unsung hero in the English-speaking world, where we pay far more attention to Captain Scott’s tragic failure, so much so that we forget Amundsen was there first. Amundsen travelled to the pole and back in about the same time it took Scott to get there, beating him by 5 weeks. I suppose Amundsen’s problem is that, while he did something that was ridiculously dangerous and hard, he really just made it all seem a Bit Too Easy, by just getting on and doing it in a determined, Nordic sort of way. No drama, no fuss. There’s a message to all of us in there: whenever you do anything, never make it look too easy.

To celebrate the polar centenary and to somehow insert myself into such esteemed company, here is a shot I took to show the wall of ice that hampered my own assault on the pole. That, and oh, maybe another 3000 odd kilometers of similar landscape. And this is what it looks like in summer! I confess I didn’t make it any further than the Zodiac in the picture before scarpering back to the boat for a stiff single malt.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I always feel terribly sorry for the polar explorers of a century ago, that they didn’t have all the really cool kit we get to buy now. Their sleeping bags were basically reindeer turned inside out. Not so comfy.




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