Thursday, January 07, 2016

A Bit of Sunshine for My Friends in Northern Arizona - From Antarctica

I know that my readers in Arizona must be tired of the snow and cloudy skies. For that, a posting from the Antarctic might seem uninviting. But, we have been having stupendous weather and I hope some of this sunshine from the White Continent will be well received in NorAz. Warning - there is some ice and snow here but also lots of sunshine!

On January 2, The World set sail again for icy Antarctica. The crossing this time was rough but not to the point of sea sickness. Once here, the sunshine parade continues. Here is a photo gallery thus far.

Afternoon January 4 - Deception Island - As with the previous trip, our first stop was the caldera known as Deception Island. This time, we had glorious sunshine.

Here is a topographic map of Deception Island. Note the narrow entrance to Port Foster in the lower right, known as Neptunes Bellows. Our anchorage, Whalers Bay, is located just north of the Bellow's.

After passing though the Bellow's, we could see Neptune's Window, the gap on the horizon. This is where our expedition leader had me stationed during our entire stay here, lasting some five hours.

Once onshore, I was hiking to Neptune's Window. Note the scoria=covered around on the way up - this is material ejected during the late-1960's eruptive sequence.

Looking back to the west at The World anchored inside Port Foster, the name given by whalers in the 1800's for the flooded portion of the caldera.

A virtual moonscape on the way up with palagonite boulders buried in black scoria (cinders).

WooHoo - Neptune's Window - one of my favorite Antarctic destinations.

Looking out toward the Bransfield Strait with icebergs 5 stores high floating by.

Old wooden water barrels discarded by the whalers below Neptune's Window. Fresh water was a bit hard to come by for the early ANtarcicans and they devised ways to bring melted glacier water to their stations.

Photograph of the same water barrels taken on one of my trips to Whalers Bay in the 1990's, some twenty years ago. Can you see the same barrels have hardly changed in that time?

January 5 - The Iceberg "Graveyard" at Cuverville Island

We did not land at Cuverville Island this time but rather took folks on a Zodiac cruise. This is the perfect place for icebergs. The nearby glaciers have widely spaced crevasse, meaning that when the ice arrives at the shoreline, it is quite large and chunky, Then the floating icebergs become grounded in the shallow water where they meet a watery death in the a place known as the Iceberg Graveyard. What a p;lace for Zodiac cruising!

I know I have been deficient in posting penguin pictures but I'll try to ignore the ice and rocks after awhile.

Blue Utah - am icy Bryce Canyon hoodoo down south.

Zodiac cruising through an icy window.


Serrated iceberg.

Same, same.

This is the larger picture of the serrated iceberg.

January 6, Pleneau Island

Morning January 7, Lemaire Channel Antarctica

View to the south in Lemaire Channel, the most sought after locale in the Antarctic Peninsula. The day was clearing as we awoke.

The Lemaire Channel is fault controlled and this view is looking right down the strike of the fault.

Wonderful icy moods. The scale is lost in everything. The cliff of ice going down to the sea is 100 feet high.

A hidden valley back o' beyond.

Afternoon January 7, Port Lockroy Antarctica

Sculpted coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

This is just amazing. Way up on top of a mountain is an ice cap frozen to the summit. The summit cap is perhaps 100 feet thick. Anything with even a hint of flatness is covered in ice and snow that never melts.

The pool was drained before the rough Drake crossing but it still was a nice day to hang out on the upper deck.

Shadows and peaks.

Our ships wake as we exit Hidden Bay.

This was our landing at Jugala Point near Port Lockroy.

Scalloped ice that has been submerged in water but now exposed above water line.

Self portrait running a Zodiac. I've been driving on most landings but also stationed ashore for interpretation when needed.

A Zodiac cruise under flawless skies. There are not many days like this in the Peninsula.

Our kayakers running around the bow of The World.

I was always looking back to the west for the next low pressure system. This weather does not last long as the lines of longitude are closely spaced at these high latitudes. I always tell folks, "In Antarctica, if the weathers good is going to get bad, and if the weathers bad, it will stay bad." But today was fabulous.

A black basaltic dike running through the white granite.

That is Mt. Fran├žaise on the right at about 9,300 feet above sea level. It looks like one could ascend it in a day but it is too Grand Canyon's high, full of ice and crevasse and snow. Steep too. This place is huge and inaccessible. I love it. Missing my girl but I love this place! I hope these blue skies will brighten the spirits of my Northern Arizona comrades!


Dr. Jack Share said...

Great photos once again! Exposure must be a challenge with the bright sun, snow and ice. Any thoughts on how the volcanics of Deception Island fit into Antarctica/Gondwana's geo-evolutionary big picture?

Cheryl Longinotti said...

Wow! Thanks, Wayne, for taking the trouble to post. Your photos are spectacular!