Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctica

Nov 23, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer


We celebrated Thanksgiving last night, and today it felt like Christmas. Fluffy snow flurried down, and a few people gathered on the bow to make snow penguins and snow seals. This quickly developed into a snowball fight.

Because of wind and snow conditions, we bounced around this morning from Charlotte Bay to Enterprise Island to Wilhelmina Bay. At times, the visibility was so limited by the beautiful snow flurries that we couldn’t safely land. We took the opportunity to add a presentation to the itinerary, this time about Antarctic artists and some of the creative projects that have been inspired by the white continent. Outside, the icebergs continued to stream by and the ocean’s surface turned white with an unusual layer of slushy snow as precipitation continued.

As we cruised toward the ice edge, our spotters on the bridge saw two big, male Type B1 killer whales, and we watched them as we cruised further into Wilhelmina Bay.

After lunch, we found the sea ice we’d been looking for. A large plain of shore-fast ice that we could approach. We set a small party ashore to look for cracks in the ice and found it thick and solid enough to hold us all. Our cross-country skiers went “ashore” first and took off into the distance where they found a Weddell seal breathing hole and some crabeater seals hauled out on the ice. Others tried snowshoes, took walks along the ice, or hung out near the barbecue where the team prepared sausages and drinks for all.

It was the perfect day to play in the snow and experience the quiet that descends when those flakes start to fall. 

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About the Author

Jennifer Kingsley

National Geographic Explorer

Jennifer Kingsley is a Canadian journalist, a National Geographic Explorer, and the Field Correspondent for Lindblad Expeditions. She has travelled extensively in the global Arctic and throughout the temperate rain forest of the Pacific Rim. After completing her biology degree, she worked in Canada's Rocky Mountain National Parks before moving to British Columbia to specialize in grizzly bear ecology. Jennifer spent several seasons sailing among the whales, bears, and wolves of the Great Bear Rainforest. 

About the Photographer

Jessica Farrer

Naturalist

Jessica graduated with a degree in evolutionary biology from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. Since graduation she has worked in fisheries management on commercial fishing vessels in the Bering Sea, counted Steller sea lions from cliffs in the Aleutian Islands, tagged sea lions in the Galápagos and monk seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and for four austral springs she lived in a retrofitted refrigerator container on the Antarctic sea ice near McMurdo Station. In Antarctica she worked on a long-term population study of Weddell seals and hopes to continue working in this ecosystem on predator-prey dynamics of the Ross Sea. 

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