We are all feeling grateful for the voyage we are sharing in this beautiful world of snow and ice. What a memorable Thanksgiving Day!
Before breakfast, we transited Lemaire Channel, a narrow, seven-mile passage between two islands. With warm beverages in hand, we gathered on the snowy bow and craned our necks upward to see the steep mountains on either side of the ship. As we neared the end of the channel, a solitary killer whale surfaced several times beneath tall, white cliffs of snow.
We cruised in Zodiacs close to the shores of Booth Island, where gentoo penguins were parading along the high ridge from the beach to their breeding colonies. We also had close looks at several huge icebergs in the bay. The wind was forecasted to increase…and it did! We experienced waves, wind, and a bit of salty spray before returning to our ship.
The wind was intense as we transited Lemaire Channel again to the north. Gusts were clocked at over 70 mph! A few of us ventured to the outside decks, and we held onto our hats. Snow blown off the mountains filled the air at times; closer to the wave tops, there was a lot of salt spray. Our vessel handled the conditions beautifully, and we were able to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the channel a second time. Our destination was Flandres Bay, a poorly charted bay that is rarely visited by expedition vessels. The wind was calm in the bay, and the sea surface was thick with pack ice and smaller icebergs. Captain Martin Glaser skillfully maneuvered National Geographic Resolution through the ice. We spotted several crabeater seals resting on pack ice while the ship’s X-Bow broke up larger pieces of ice. It was an otherworldly scene to be in an ice-filled bay, surrounded by mountains and glaciers. We boarded Zodiacs again to experience the sea ice from a different viewpoint, and we followed behind the ship as she carved through the pack ice. It snowed heavily, and a few snowballs were exchanged (with laughter) between Zodiacs. We returned covered in snow, smiling over our latest adventure and our most unusual Thanksgiving.