I bet you thought I’d misplaced my blog, but I’ve actually just been on another planet these last few weeks.
My husband and I traveled to South America, then on to Antarctica with a small band of extremely fun and intrepid friends.
Though we’ve been back for well over a week, I don’t think we’ve quite got our land legs back. Not really sure we want them back just yet!
The entire adventure feels a bit of a dream.
I’m definitely still in Iceberg Heaven.
Why, how and where do all the incredible blues in icebergs come from??
I’m so glad you asked!
Icebergs are composed of ice breaking away from glaciers. They have very little internal air or reflective surfaces. When the long wavelength light (which is red) travels from the sun to the iceberg, it is absorbed rather than reflected.
The light refracted through the ice returns as blue or blue-green, turquoise, cobalt, indigo, teal, paraiba…you name it. Bring out your colour chart.
It’s absolutely stunning. And wild. I mean who wouldn’t want to go in there?! But of course you cannot, because, at any moment, the ice could break apart. That would not be good.
One of my watercolours from our sketch club. John Singer Sargent I’m not, but it was so much fun to pick up a paintbrush again! Pure happiness.
My husband couldn’t have been happier the entire trip. Who knew he was such a polar explorer at heart?!
I’d love to pass this off as mine, but it’s by the Canadian artist Lawren Harris (1885-1970)
One day I’ll relax into it and paint with seemingly loose abandon like this.
LOOK at that. Water still and clear and true as a make-up mirror.
My dear friend Olivia and me were blown away!
All in all, we were very blessed with the weather, but when it wasn’t optimum, or the winds were whipping and the seas rough, our ship’s captain and crew did a fantastic job of finding sheltered bays or inlets in which to anchor for the night.
Here we are passing through “Iceberg Alley”, a region of the western Weddell Sea, one of the most epic sights in a Full Hand of epic sights to see in Antarctica.
Not the best video, but you’ll get the gist.
These icebergs are like 150ft high, some even taller. And, lest we forget, 85% of an iceberg is under water, which, fyi, is why they so rarely flip (she says, flicking her hair. I happen to know a lot about icebergs now)
Trying to get my head around the mass and age of these bergs gave me a brain freeze.
There are no words!
Well, maybe just a few more…
The majestic parade of floats in Iceberg Alley travel in a north-northeast direction following the clockwise circulation around the Weddell Sea gyre. At some point in time they calved from even larger masses of ice that could be tens and tens of thousands of years old.
Here, you see a massive field of ‘Growlers’ floating behind me. Really-that’s what the smaller bits of ice that break off are called.
I took this shot whilst paddling around in a kayak.
I’m waiting for Nat Geo’s call. 😉
Blue as blue as blue can possibly be.
A lone seal catching a nap. Poor guy… no privacy anywhere ! (no response when I asked for his wifi password)
Seriously surreal. No filters necessary.
This is our guide Richard. Don’t worry-he was a lot friendlier than he looks in the photo. But I think he evokes confidence if One ran into ‘issues’, don’t you??
Perhaps his hands were cold retrieving the glacier ice for the evening Negronis . Now that’s an aged cocktail.
This is a bit of a special shot for me, as the larger black creature you see beside the 3 little blobs is the single Emperor Penguin we spotted on the trip.
Another planet I tell ya!
Quite the view floating by your bedroom window.
Out exploring in our zodiac. As you see, the icebergs emanate blue even when there’s no visible sun.
I was very happy with all the cold weather gear I packed ( agonized and obsessed over) except for my hands, which got so cold after just a couple of minutes sans mittens.
Have you tried taking photos with mittens on?
As they tell you in all the guide books, layering in Antarctic summer weather-which fluctuates quite dramatically, is key.
Note the white waterproof phone case hanging from my neck. I was not going to be the first person to drop their iphone down a glacier crevice. Twice. :-0
This painting, by the late Canadian artist Toni Onley, is of Desolation Sound in British Columbia, but the Antarctic scenery reminded me so much of his work that I wanted to include it.
Early evenings were often spent in “Sketch Club”, listening to old music and sipping Negronis while penguins soared out of the frigid sea in perfect unison just outside the windows.
As class wore on, occasionally paintbrushes did dip into the wrong glass.
A little watercolour never hurt anybody.
Only following ship doctor’s orders
How to make a Negroni: 1 part Campari, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part gin. Orange peel and glacial ice optional.
Oh, the sights we’ve seen and shall never forget!
Both were absolutely wonderful.
There are more posts coming, with lots of lovely pics, as well as more detailed information and reading suggestions for those who might consider putting Antarctica on their list of COOL Places to Go.
Stay Frosty my friends
PS. don’t forget to stay in touch on my Instagram feed where I post a little more frequently ! 🙂