Antarctica - February 2, 2018...A sighting like none other...

One of the first icebergs we saw since arriving near the Antarctic Peninsula.  We zoomed in to spot the penguins on board.

The captain maneuvered the ship so we could see this in more detail. This was a stunning sighting...Chinstrap Penguins living on an iceberg!

It’s easy to ooh and aah over what we’re seeing in Antarctica.  This barren frozen part of the world in its forbidden nature and mystery provides us with ample opportunities to fuss over its majesty.  But, it’s much more than that.  It’s a step in a world we knew existed and never imagined we’d see in our lifetimes.
This was one of the first icebergs we spotted in the Antarctic Peninsula.  How beautiful is this structure?
Imagine, a mere 37,000 visitors come to Antarctica each year.  This number astounded us when we’d expected it was many more.  This number made us further realize what an opportunity it is to visit this frozen continent, 99% of which is covered in ice, which is rich in wildlife, history and spectacular scenery
We weren't certain as to the source of this item.  Could it be the feathers of some type of seabird?
Antarctica’s geology is highly varied and in a state of constant flux, considering the size of the continent, the changing tectonic landscape, the environment, and constantly changing climate.  
A solitary fur seal gazing out at the sea.
Add the unique wildlife most of which is seldom, if ever, found in other parts of the world, this vast area of pure white, leaves most of us, including scientists, mystified and curious as it to what we have to anticipate in centuries to com

A courting male and female fur seal?
The answers aren’t clear and definitive, perpetually swirling around a political arena that really shouldn’t have any influence on the outcome.  Do we see massive icebergs melting, glaciers melting into the sea and changes wrought by human intervention?  Not necessarily.

Could this be a whale bone on the rocky beach?
The scientists aboard ship whom we listen to during daily seminars don’t espouse any political references of what is yet to come.  Instead, they speak of the literal ebb and flow that naturally occur in this part of the world.  We certainly haven’t heard any doomsday predictions of what we should anticipate in the future.
It was tricky walking over these large rocks on Penguin Island.  We walked carefully and gingerly.
Instead, we hear conscientious discussion of us visitors keeping our clothing and equipment free of any potential contaminants that may affect the delicate ecological balance that is vital to the survival of the precious wildlife and minimal vegetation able to grow in this stark environment.
Whale bones on the rocky beach.
By no means, do I write this as a political stance.  I write this from the eyes of two world travelers who cherish the “wild” which we’ve made a priority in our lives as we migrate from country to country, continent to continent on a perpetual search for the most awe-inspiring scene, breathtaking landscape, and heart-pounding wildlife. 
Bones of a fur seal.
We do this with a love and a passion to embrace those magical moments when Mother Nature bestows a morsel of Her infinite beauty our way, for our eyes to behold and when possible, for our camera to capture.  What matters to us may pale in comparison to what appeals to others. 

Then again, perhaps our expectations aren’t too high when the simplest of images can propel us into a tizzy of squealing with delight.  
Penguin bones.
Such was the case yesterday, shortly after returning for our late afternoon visit to Penguin Island located in the area of the Antarctic Peninsula when we beheld a vision, one that we’ll never forget as shown in today’s main photo…an iceberg floating in the sea with a colony of penguins on board for the ride.
Elephant seals hanging out together by the sea.
There wasn’t a passenger on this ship (of a total of 194) who didn’t have a camera in hand as their hearts raced over the pure delight of seeing this unique situation (unique to us anyway) knowing this sighting would remain at the top of their list of special sightings on this 16-night expedition cruise.
Tom, outdoors in short sleeves on a cold day in Antarctica with an iceberg in the background.
For me, it became a highlight of this adventure, a symbol of how vast is the world we inhabit and how magnificent it is compared to the infinitesimal world surrounding our personal states of being. 
We feel lucky.  We feel blessed and above all, we feel humbled, to be entrenched in it now and to live entrenched in the memories of having been here.
Stay tuned, folks.  More is yet to come.

Photo from one year ago today, February 2, 2017:
Sailing is a popular activity in Tasmania.  For more details, please click here.


Lea Ann Reynolds said...

All I can say is WOW! What an amazing part of your journey! Hope your knee is getting better. Love you guys! Chuck & Lea Ann

Jessica said...

Thanks, Lea Ann and Chuck! We're at the airport in Ushuaia now waiting for our flight to board to return back to Buenos Aires. It's a 3.5 hour flight. What an amazing experience! We're sad to go knowing we'll never return but it was beyond our wildest dreams. Knee is better, heart is full.
Hope you're feeling well.

Much love to you both,
Jess & Tom

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