Jan 02, 2018 - National Geographic Orion
Soft swathes of pinks and lavenders sweep over the icy blues of yesterday. The extra eager early birds wipe away the sleep from their eyes to watch the heavenly hues of the sun paint the landscape differently at 3:00 AM. The sun dipped between mountains and the glacial blues that captivated us were switched for golden highlights. An extended version of dusk until dawn, we all can’t wait to see this lovely light to begin (and end) yet another glorious day in Antarctica.
The ship slushes ever further south, well past the Antarctic Circle! Few take the time or effort to venture here from Ushuaia, but the breath taking landscape, ice, and reflections of such in the glassy water are well worth it. Captain Martin Graser and his bridge team expertly navigate us through the pack ice into Crystal Sound until we find the belle of the ball today, a massive stretch of fast ice. Lellamand Fjord’s sea water has formed a thick layer of sea ice between its mountainous channels, which our ship takes a stab at parking in the brittle, white foreground.
Conditions are too bright and sunny not to celebrate with a traditional fruhshoppen on the back deck before loading up our kayaks and exploring the ice on hikes. A few playful seals and penguins accompanied us, so why not dive right in while the going is good? We take advantage of a brilliantly calm day to see mirrored images of courageous plungers, jumping into the surface of a reflectively frigid sea! The more cautious onboard watch from afar as several polar plungers yelp with feelings ranging from excitement, horror, adrenaline, and BRRR! Warming up onboard some opt for a warm beverage, their comfy robes, the hot tub, or even all three. The adventure isn’t over yet though, after dinner we look out the windows to find more fast ice in the neighboring fjord and simply must go for a wander on the impressive ice formations.
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