Lemaire Channel & Petermann Island

There’s a line in a Bob Dylan song that says “she’s an artist” & I can’t seem for the life of me to remember what the name of the song cos it’s been playing in my head. Maybe it’s reminding me that I’m an artist & working on shaping my photographic eye. Another bright ‘n early day. The Explorer spent the night in the beautiful surroundings of the Errera Channel & continued to sail to the southern part of the Gerlache Strait. Another highlight for waking up very early is to take in the beauty of the Lemaire Channel at roughly about 6:30is AM.  The passage is famous for a protective passage to some of the islands to the south.  It’s very spectacular.  At times, the channel is blocked by large pieces of ice & this accents why the first passage through the Lemaire in 1898 by de Gerlache was an impressive accomplishment of sailing. It was rather a chilly morning with some sleet.  The lighting changes rapidly here & been seeing all different shades of grays, whites & blues. Got to think fast & work on changing my exposure compensation & white balance. I did get an approval rating from the Captain this morning, so that’s a good start to the day. It’s a wee bit colder out today. I’ve already seen a mink & a humpback so the whale lovin’ is off to a good start. You definitely never don’t know what you’re going to get. There is a brown tint on the whales down in Antarctica & the whales will travel north to the warm climates off of the coast of South America to take a bath so to speak & to get clean.  It’s been fun learning about the whales down here. You’re in nature & everything changes moment by moment, no matter where you are in the world. It’s amazing to be sailing amongst the giant icebergs. Really it is. It’s unbelievable to look out into the horizon & to see uncharted territory by man with nothing on it except for ice covering the high peaks. Breathtaking is the best way that I can put it. It’s like a big ah moment
The morning activity is a shore landing on Petermann Island & a Zodiac cruise.  There was a research camp studying penguins for about five years on the island. The island is filled with stories in history. I first set sail on a Zodiac cruise with Mike G looking for whales. However, Mike was nice enough to tell the guest about me being excited about the whales in Baja too.  It was amazing the whale lovin’ this morning with a couple of minks to start out with before finding some beautiful humpbacks on a feeding cycle. Oh, I love you whales! It was very nice to see a lovely show by you & epecially nice to see a double fluke one as well.  However, I was not as loud as usual cos I didn’t have a chance to splash the gray whales of kiss them like Baja. The weather was unpredictable too with a snowstorm appearing out of now where. The weather changes quick out here. After watching the humpbacks it was time to go to shore to look at a Gentoo & Adelie Penguin colony.  CT was nice enough to explain how far south & north we see these too. I especially enjoyed her analogy for the Gentoo’s as being like Hawaii who are the warmer weather penguins. It’s sad to say with global warming has made a huge effect on the penguin habitats. You see much less Adelie’s at Pertermann due to there not being enough ice like it once was there. More Gentoo’s are making their way there.  I learned from Ian that when he spent time on the island the scientist set up tents to camp.  There’s an Argentina base house on the island & a cross for fallen sailors but that’s all besides a camera for scientific research. Not much is on these parts. The moss is very beautiful on the rocks. It’s been a morning with heaps of activity with a new layer of snow too.   
During the afternoon as we continue to sail along I attended a couple of presentations.  Ed Larson is on board & he gave a talk titled “Scott, Amundsen & Science”.  He is the Global Perspectives Programs speaker of the Explorer & Pepperdine University professor & Pulitzer Prize-winning author. In his book, “An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science” Larson writes in the book’s preface:
“Conducting scientific research in Antarctica has always required collaboration, & this is true for my study of it’s history as well.  This book is the direct product of my participation in the National Science Foundation’s 2003-4 Antarctic Artist & Writers Program.  Always traveling with others, and frequently in the company of experts, through this program I saw much of what the early explorers saw, from Ross Island & the Great Ice Barrier to Beardmore Glacier & the South Pole. On December 18, 2003 exactly one hundred years after Scott, Edgar Evans, & William Lashly became the first humans to enter an Antarctic dry valley, I retraced their steps through Taylor Valley with the longtime manager of its research camp, Rae Spain. A few weeks later, I camped near Shacketon’s winter quarters at Cape Royds with David Ainley, who has studied the cape’s Adelie penguins for years. Both Spain & Ainley know the region’s human history. Such experiences made this book possible.”
Research Station on Petermann Island
I quite enjoyed the talk this afternoon explaining Scott’s expeditions to the South Pole. It really gave an eye opening view of how much in exploration has changed since the turn of the century. Funny, to see that the British didn’t really supply too many provisions on board which made them eat penguins and seals while in Antarctica. Also, today is the 100th anniversary that the world learned that Scott had died.  He was founded in a tent with his exploration papers in his hands.  His last letters back to the British Empire were read to school children a few days later.  Also, during the Scott expeditions they were studying geology & collected rocks where they found out that Antarctica was linked to the other continents when the Earth was founded.  It was very interesting indeed...
Later in the afternoon Mark Thiessen gave a photo presentation with taking better photos & showing some of his images to illustrate the points that he stressed. I quite enjoyed Mark’s talk where he showed images that he has shoot in the last several days to illustrate his points. Basically photography is all about the light & capturing a sense of place is the best way to sum up the talk.  Just go out there & shoot your heart out to capture the moment.
Well, it’s off to evening recap, diner & possibly watching movies, got another busy day a head of me…

Adelie Penguins

Popular Posts