Astrolabe Island, Lindblad Cove

Nov 22, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer


Early morning light found National Geographic Explorer on approach to Astrolabe Island in the Bransfield Strait. The wind was up, and snow and tiny ice shards were blowing off the three-mile-long island, making it look as if we were in a blizzard! We dropped a scout boat in preparation for heading ashore but realized that conditions were deteriorating and simply not suitable for a landing. Quickly adapting to the ever-changing nature of weather here in Antarctica, we cruised Bransfield Strait in search of whales and other wildlife on our way to our afternoon adventures.

That afternoon, upon arrival in Lindblad Cove, it seemed as if we were in another world entirely. The wind had died to zero, the seas were flat calm and mirror-like, and the sun decided to pay us a visit! Our time was spent kayaking or cruising with our fleet of Zodiacs among the icebergs, bergy bits, and growlers of the magnificent bay, surrounded by glaciers and snow-capped mountains. The water was crystal clear, and we could all see the krill that fill the bay just by looking into the water. Literally, hundreds of cape petrels, southern fulmars, and Antarctic terns were taking advantage of the bounty and heartily enjoying a krill meal. Gentoo penguins dove nearby for their share of the krill and a few swam right under our boats! Amazing!

We finished our afternoon in Lindblad Cove in the traditional Lindblad way: The adventurous among us decided to take the polar plunge, leaping into the near-freezing water! What better way to celebrate all the beauty around us than to immerse yourself in the very waters in which whales, seals, and penguins swim--brrrrr

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About the Author

Michael Nolan

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Michael Nolan was born in Bitburg, Germany to an Air Force family stationed there. His first experience of the ocean came at age 12, when he learned to snorkel in the Italian Mediterranean. At age 17 he moved to Tucson, Arizona and became a PADI SCUBA instructor, before starting a SCUBA diving business that specialized in diving trips to the Sea of Cortez.

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