The Lemaire Channel & Port Charcot

Dec 26, 2019 - National Geographic Orion


Sometimes it’s hard to not sound like a broken record, but today was an incredible day in Antarctica. It all started at about 1 a.m. One of the greatest things about being in high latitudes in the summertime is the never-ending golden light. For those that left their porthole covers and window curtains open—or perhaps were still up from celebrating a wonderful December 25th—a stunning glow from the midnight sun beckoned us back outside. If there was ever a place worth losing sleep over, Antarctica is at the top of the list.

After sleeping off our holiday feasts, we awoke to snowy skies as we entered the Lemaire Channel at breakfast time. Cruising through the sea ice, we settled near Petermann Island for our morning activities. Taking advantage of the beautiful conditions, we set out to explore the surroundings by Zodiac. Snow fell gently as we crunched through growlers and brash ice to enjoy views of abundant snoozing crabeater seals, rafts of preening gentoos, and surprise sightings of Adélie penguins. Brilliant blue bergs and spectacular mountain peaks were reflected in the perfectly glassy waters. It was a wonderfully peaceful morning to appreciate the magic of Antarctica.

Navigating through the ice, we spent our afternoon ashore at Booth Island in Port Charcot. Venturing out to stretch our legs in the open space, we learned about “the polar gentleman,” Charcot, and excellent views of penguin highways, with all three species of brushtails in one place.

Antarctica is a place always full of pleasant surprises and what a treat today was for all to enjoy!

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About the Author

Maya Santangelo

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Maya was born and raised in Southern California, where her curiosity for the natural world was encouraged from an early age. Relocating to Sydney, Australia with her family at 11 years old, she learned to scuba dive, eventually becoming a PADI Instructor. Her fascination for the underwater world undoubtedly fueled her interest to study marine biology at James Cook University. Working as a professional guide in some of the world’s top dive destinations, including Palau and Mexico’s Guadalupe Island and Revillagigedo Archipelago, Maya realized a passion for sharing her love for the ocean with others, and the value of citizen science in the dive industry.

About the Photographer

Jamie Coleman

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jamie is from England. He grew up in Oxford, about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK, yet somehow decided he would work in marine biology and conservation. Ever since he reached his teens, he has dedicated time to this passion, working and volunteering in various roles on nature reserves and in aquariums. It was no surprise that in 2007, he left home to study marine biology at the University of Newcastle.

About the Videographer

Julio Rodriguez

Video Chronicler

Born and raised in Ecuador, the son of Spanish and American parents, Julio developed a passion for storytelling and environmental conservation at an early age. After majoring in History at Carleton College (Minnesota), with a thesis on the Basque anti-Franco movement, he taught English in Spain and made short promotional films for an energy efficiency company in India and two environmental conservation NGOs in Greece and Galapagos. 

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