24th March: Antarctica (Gerlache Strait and Lemaire Channel)

The weather prediction was for rain and 30-knot wind but fortunately it turned out to be a very rare fine, still and warm Antarctic day. We passed through the southern end of Gerlache Strait in the pink glow of dawn and Lemaire Channel an hour or so afterwards. Around 10am we arrived at the Ukranian Vernadsky Station to disgorge scientists and supplies over several days.

Here we are well before dawn in the Gerlache Strait. I think this is Fridtjof Island with Wienke Island in the background. Both these islands are between Anvers Island and the mainland (the Antarctic peninsula).

GPS location (Green arrow shows position of the ship, where I took the photo from).

The snow wasn’t just on the land. It had been snowing on the ship during the night as well.

It’s now dawn and the sky is a deep delicate pink. Perversely though, I prefer a more monochrome look for this image. The GPS reading tells me where I pressed the shutter but I can’t be completely sure what direction I was facing in. I think this is the Kershaw Peaks at Cape Willems.

GPS Location.

Also, I think, the Kershaw Peaks.

Probably Bob Island, a small Island south of Wienke Island.

GPS location (green arrow).

I think this is near the southern tip of Wienke Island.

We’re probably looking towards the dawn and therefore to the East, so probably on the left the Cape a few kilometres south of Cape Willems and maybe the “islands” are icebergs.

GPS location (Green arrow for camera location)

In the image above, it’s now over an hour later than the previous image. We’ve gone away and had breakfast and come back. We’re now entering the Lemaire Channel and this must be a view of the mainland, near Cape Renard or False Cape Renard.

In this whole wild and austere landscape, man is strictly a visitor, on sufferance by nature.

GPS location (green arrow).

On the right, we can see the moon still high in the sky. This means we are looking to the West and therefore the snowy peak is on Booth Island.

This is a view of the manland, near the previous image except on the opposite side of the strait, probably just before Cape Kloos.

The two images above almost join up with each other, though they are taken a couple of minutes apart so the viewpoint is different. On the left of the top image is the Leay Glacier. The peak in the image below is either Mt Scott or another peak somewhat to the north of it.

Dramatic clouds in the sky. I think we are probably looking at the South end of Hovgaard Island.

GPS location.

We saw a few minke whales in the Penola Strait, between Petermann Island and the mainland, when we were getting close to Vernadsky Station. This is one, against the sun. The vertical “mist” is not flare, it’s spray from a blow and the whale is just about to go down again.

GPS location.

12 comments on “24th March: Antarctica (Gerlache Strait and Lemaire Channel)

  1. […] 24th March: Antarctica (Gerlache Strait and Lemaire Channel) […]

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  2. […] 24th March: Antarctica (Gerlache Strait and Lemaire Channel) […]

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  3. Cem says:

    Dear Murray,

    I have been following your adventures from the very beginning. What a journey this has been! Thanks to your extensive journals and excellent photographs, we have the privilege of getting to know these remote locations which we may never visit in our own lifetimes. The images in this post are breathtaking, much like the countless others in your blog. Thanks so much for sharing these with us.

    Kind regards,

    Cem

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  4. Murray Foote says:

    Thanks very much, Cem.

    I took 1,500 images on this day and not many bracketed for HDR. More than any other day on the trip. The weather was perfect and rare as such. Because of the number of images I have broken the day into two posts. This first one is the early morning, sailing through spectacular seascapes and landscapes. The second wil be mainly wildlife, the day of the humpback whales, and I expect it will take me several days to prepare the images.

    Regards,
    Murray

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  5. Hi Murray,

    your pictures of Antarctica are just amazing.
    I did a similar trip in 2006 and dream about going back quite often. At that time I was still taking pictures with my non-digital camera and I remember the suspense waiting for the films to be developed.
    When we drove through Lemaire Channel I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and the weather was just perfect, like on your journey. We didn´t see much wildlife, but a few orcas followed us through the channel and made the day even more perfect.
    Thank you for posting these pictures, they remind me of great times.

    Anneke

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    • Murray Foote says:

      Hi Anneke and thanks.

      Yes, the Lemaire Channel is very special and not the sort of view you want to tear your eyes away from. I also found Deception Island particularly compelling in that way, even though we just sailed past and didn’t go in. It may have been a good thing that we visited very late in the season because in the middle of summer it would be difficult to know when to sleep.

      Regards,
      Murray

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  6. Amazing photos of a cold, barren place. I find this sort of landscape absolutely captivating, and you capture it perfectly!

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    • Murray Foote says:

      Thanks very much. It’s tantalising in a place like this because you want to be there for every moment as the ship goes by but you still have to sleep and eat and various other things….

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  7. […] Gerlache Strait and Lemaire Channel (4 mono images out of 14) […]

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  8. Amazing images. The weather looks like it can change quite rapidly.

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