Monday, December 31, 2012

Antarctica Part 8 – “Ice Berg Alley”

Our last Zodiac cruise was supposed to be at the end of the famous Lamaire Channel; this is a narrow waterway, only one mile wide, with steep mountains on both sides. It was beautiful, like being at the bottom of a watery canyon. Alas, when we got to the end, the sea ice had not melted and there was nowhere to launch the zodiacs. So we turned around, went back to the mouth of the channel, and cruised there. It turned out to be a wonderful choice. Our guide nicknamed it “Ice Berg Alley”. We were farther south and the ice bergs were more numerous and much larger than the ones we had seen to date. Despite the clouds, the water was calm and we had beautiful weather! In fact, it was so wondrous and perfect that our guides did not want to go back to the ship! They communicated on walkie-talkies and told each other if there was something interesting to see, and where it was located. They would also make jokes. One would say, “I don’t want to go back; I can’t remember where we left the ship”. Another would answer. “Yeah, I can’t find it either; my GPS is broken.” I was on the last boat to return.  We cruised for two and a half hours!
The first picture shows a small ice berg close to land. Its blue tints in the middle are almost transparent; there is a deeper line of blue paralleling the white snowy top. Contrasted with the smooth white top and side, it looks like an opal!
               The other pictures show us approaching and circling a large gorgeous translucent blue ice berg with jagged white peaks. As we neared it, we could see that the translucent blues receded into caverns and caves.  When we cruised up to the opening of the largest cavern, it appeared ominous, as if it were guarding a treasure. The blues changed their hues and the white protrusions seemed to be the sharp teeth of an Orca, ready to snap at the first step of an intruder! At the bottom of the mouth, as if sitting on a blue-white alter, you can see a small hint of black ice – a diamond just emerging from pressurized coal, perhaps? Ah ha! That is its valuable gem! The fourth picture shows the back of the ice berg, a totally different shape with a different color pattern. It rises into a foreboding pyramidal triangle, as if to say, “Beware, you who think of entering here! Stay away from my treasured diamond!”

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