Neny Fjord and Marguerite Bay

Jan 21, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

Today started very early with National Geographic Orion working its way through pack ice, which we had finally encountered in the southern end of Marguerite Bay. This was a new experience for most of the guests, and it was fascinating to watch the captain and his bridge team navigate through this amazing sea.

We were hoping to reach Stonington Island in the early hours, but the ice finally became too thick at about one mile out. However, during this passage we reached our furthest south, which was an impressive 68 degs 33.27’ S, 068 degs 06.92’ W—a wonderful achievement. We are by far the furthest ship south, and we are enjoying superb, calm, and very sunny weather.

While trying to reach Stonington Island, the bridge team noticed some fast ice in Neny Fjord nearby, so we headed that way. The Captain skillfully drove us into the fast ice, which held at the head of the bay. The ship forced its way into the ice far enough for us to put down the gangway and get everyone off the ship for a spectacular trek along the frozen sea.

The high mountains surrounding the bay provided a stunning backdrop for the adventure, and it was even possible to hear the swell of ice and water passing beneath us. Some within the group were able to feel the subtle pulsations of ice we stood on as it rose and fell with the sea. It was as if we could hear and see the bay breath!

After lunch, the Orion moved out from the fast ice and into the middle of Neny Fjord. The kayaks and Zodiacs were lowered, guests boarded enthusiastically, and our group paddled out into the bay and around the small flows and bergy bits surrounding the ship walls.

As if all this was not enough, some of our more daring guests took the occasion of the wonderful (yet far from warm) weather conditions to do the polar plunge. What an exhilarating way to finish a perfect day!

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About the Author

John Pailthorpe


John spent the early years of his life in London, before an inspirational teacher took him to the highlands of Scotland on a school adventure trip. From then on the natural world has been his passion. After teacher training in Bangor, North Wales, John began a thirty-year career in outdoor education centres and schools, teaching and leading children and adults in such pursuits as mountaineering, rock climbing, kayaking, and sailing throughout the U.K. and Europe.

About the Videographer

James Napoli

Video Chronicler

Jim was born in rural New England where he quickly developed an appreciation for the outdoors and a love of exploration.  Four years with the U.S. Navy further enhanced his appetite for travel. Always interested in the visual arts, he studied Television at Boston University and Northeast College of Communications, landing his first job in the industry working as an editor at a Boston television station. His wanderlust drew him to a job with two major cruise lines; installing and managing broadcast centers onboard a total of over a dozen ships. He has since moved on to specialize in expedition travel and wildlife productions.  

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