Sunday 16 January 2011

Antarctic Riviera

Another stunning day. You just can’t ask for better weather, especially when you are sailing through the legendary Lemaire Channel. Early this morning our 5 Polar Cirkle boats sped off ahead of the Fram southwards through the strait. It was a visual smorgasbord of crabeater seals, spectacular ice, a leopard and two humpback whales. The views from the ship were equally as majestic, running the gauntlet between soaring glaciated peaks. The prize at the end of the run was Petermann Island, which never disappoints. Some of the most difficult terrain we have yet encountered did not prevent us from visiting the blue-eyed shags and Adélies, nor from hiking up for a peek into the mesmerizing ‘Iceberg Alley’.

A warm greeting by the Ukrainian personnel at Vernadsky Station (erstwhile British Base Faraday) rounded out the afternoon, and a fascinating tour of the base finishhhed with a tashting of the tashty locally dishtilled vodka. And then we cruised, big and small, northwards back through the Lemaire in dramatic evening light.

I am a Polar Addict – Polar history, Polar wildlife, Polar beauty. We are half way through our voyage, and surely there are 244 additional addicts on the MV Fram!