Sunday, 3 January 2010

James Ross Island, Weddell Sea

We arrived in the Weddell Sea, and yet again, experienced beautiful sunny weather. We made such good progress on account of the lack of ice, we arrived in the vicinity of Snow Hill at around 8:00 to be greeted by eight nautical miles of sea ice encircling the island. We scouted the edge of the pack, but were unable to find a way through to make a landing on Snow Hill. Instead, we landed on a lava-strewn beach on James Ross Island and proceeded to explore our rugged surroundings.

Our geologists informed us that the volcano that formed the island erupted underneath a glacier. A short hike brought us to the top of the island, and the view was truly spectacular –we could see the pack ice around Snow Hill as well as large tabular icebergs on the horizon. It was like we were standing on another planet.
The Fram continued on her way through the Antarctic Sound at the head of the Weddell Sea, passing a large number of tabular icebergs. We were in a state of constant amazement at the shapes, colors and patterns displayed by the ice -- it was as if giants had been at work sculpting these mountains of ice with a hammer and chisel. The sunlight played amid crevasses and fissures in the ice, casting shades of blue and turquoise. Due to the extremely nice weather, many passengers spent time on deck basking in the sun and gazing at the wonderful Antarctic scenery.
The day ended with soft light, the ship still surrounded by an endless number of tabular icebergs – everywhere we looked, there was ice, ice and more ice. Antarctica begins with ice and ends with ice.