This is a cruise that I took in January, 2009 on the Holland-America's ship the
Amsterdam. My idea was to go someplace where no sane person would go and see
a lot of ice and snow. Whether sane or not, here is where the cruise went. It
wasn't very far into Antarctica, but then the end of the Antarctic peninsula is the
warmest place you can go and still be there. So the sea ice tends to go away
there in the summer making it a relatively sane trip after all. By the way,
January is summer down there. (This is Gallery 1)
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So what do you see down there? From a ship cruising
offshore you mostly see scenes like this. Surprise, it
is ice and snow and a lot of it. Click here for more
pictures like this one.
I am a retired physics teacher (more about me), and I
also wanted to notice things having something to do
with science. Global warming, for example. Freezing.
Melting. The weather; how warm it was (I was
surprised.) Does the moon look the same down there?
Don't worry. This site is not very technical. But I
can't help noticing stuff. (This is Gallery 2)
When all this ice and snow reaches the water, you often see
these huge cliffs made of ice. They are actually the fronts
of glaciers, long streams of ice that slowly slide and deform
themselves down to the water's edge. I previously visited
Alaska and saw a lot of glaciers there, many of which I also
have on this web site. But in Antarctica, unlike Alaska, it
seems to be just about all glacier.
Glacier ice tends to be blue, but this color is frequently not
obvious. To avoid being too dishonest, I am showing these
glacier front pictures in something close to the colors as we
saw them. But there are also enhanced versions, if you take
the right links. Here are more pictures like this one.
By the way, that is a couple of humpback whales in the
water.This is Gallery 3.
I didn't see the moon from Antarctica. This is
the moon from my backyard. However, I did
see it from a few other southern hemisphere
spots. And I put it at THIS LINK. I wonder
if it is the same down there.........
This is Gallery 12.
Like I said, I am looking for, among other things, any suggestion of
global warming. That would include glaciers that seem to be retreating.
But if a glacier extends into the water, then I have no way to tell
whether it used to extend farther into the water. Not from just one
trip, anyway. In this section, I have a reference to a study of a lot of
old pictures of glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula and nearby islands.
Most of the ones in the large sample have been retreating. I think I
even photographed a couple of the glaciers from this study.
But some glaciers do not reach the water. Look at the picture with the
whales just above. There is a little strip of bare ground in front of the
ice. Of course, I have no way of knowing whether that bare strip is
getting larger. But sometimes there is documentation of that. I have
some pictures of that in this section, and just for fun, I have included
several other bare ground pictures. This is Gallery 4.
Speaking of glaciers, here is a place with several of them although it is
not as far south as Antarctica. It is the Beagle Channel, a strip of water
across the extreme southern part of South America. We cruised through
it on Jan 18, 2009, a couple of days after leaving Antarctica. It is more
like Alaska than Antarctica with a few glaciers punctuated by a rocky
coast. However all of the glaciers we saw except one showed obvious
signs of having once been much more massive. I have done a lot of
searching for studies of the Beagle Channel glaciers, including a couple of
large glacier databases, and have come up empty. So I have posted my
pictures here along with links to other tourist pictures from previous
years. Most of what I found is not very old with one exception -- the
description of this place by Charles Darwin in his book "The Voyage of the
Beagle". Same Beagle. The channel was named after it, but that was on
the voyage of the Beagle before the one that included Darwin. This is
|By the way, I have used
this same page for a little
look at some modern
controls used on many ships
including azipods and side
|BEING A TOURIST
HUNTING FOR GLOBAL WARMING
HUNTING FOR SCIENCE
And then there are icebergs. And icebergs. And
icebergs. And more of them. The ones in the picture to
the right were in the Antarctic Sound, a patch of water
off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. CLICK HERE for
more pictures like this one. These are all pretty
irregularly - shaped icebergs, but that wasn't all that we
found in that place. Read on....
This is Gallery 6.
Also in the Antarctic Sound were many of these big, flat
icebergs called Tabular Icebergs. See more of them
HERE. Many of them were even in fairly good repair,
which is remarkable given all the melting, wind erosion,
and water erosion that can attack them. This kind comes
from the big ice shelves such as the Larsen, which has
been breaking up. In normal times, ice shelves lose ice
by calving (breaking off) at about the rate that they gain
new ice from glaciers. But the Larsen and some others
have been disintegrating much faster than normal. These
may have come from normal calving, but there is no way
to tell for sure since bergs this small are not tracked.
Anyway, the Antarctic Sound is directly in the drift path
from a couple of ice Shelves, and we certainly saw the
tabular bergs there. This is Gallery 7.
The Gerlache Strait area is the home to many even more
strangely shaped icebergs, which wind, water, and melting
have been attacking for a long time, it seems. We saw
this place on our second day, Jan 15, and the water was
still, and the wind was calm. I got some pictures that
even showed the part of the bergs that were underwater,
as you can see to the right. More of these can be found
HERE. There is no drift path from any of the
disintegrating ice shelves to this spot, and we did not see
big tabular icebergs here. But we did see a lot.
This is Gallery 8.
NOTE - Please feel free to
download pictures from this site if
you have use for them. Most of
them are my pictures that I took
during the trip or that I drew for
this site. There are a few from
other sites, which are labeled, but
they come with licenses that
allow public use.
There were plenty of penguins here, and they have a story to
tell. GO HERE to see it with many penguin pictures, but here
is a preview: It seems that the adelie penguins, the ones that
like the coldest weather, and the species that has dominated
the main Antarctic continent, are moving out of this part of the
Peninsula. There are still plenty of them left, but some other
types of penguins that like slightly warmer weather are moving
in. These include the gentoo penguins and the chinstrap
penguins. Those are gentoo penguins to the left. They all like
colder weather than I do, but this migration is one bit of
evidence for a warming climate in this region.
This is Gallery 9.
Mostly it was a pretty calm trip, which going in the
Antarctic summer helped to ensure. You have to
pass through the notoriously stormy Drake Passage
to get to Antarctica from South America, but even
it (usually) calms down (some) in the summer. Of
course, January is the middle of summer, and one
officer told me, "You don't want to be out here in
March." Or any time after that until late
December. But here and there we picked up a
wave or three, which affected the swimming pools,
as you can see here. And we enjoyed some wind on
a few occasions, especially a couple of brief, fierce
winds in the Antarctic Sound the first day. HERE
IS more about them. This is Gallery 10, and the
pictures are there but the text is not yet finished.
I couldn't help myself. I couldn't keep myself from
taking pictures of the ship's wake. That includes
the bow wave (seen to the left interacting with some
incoming waves) and the actual wake stretching
backwards from the stern. HERE ARE some of
This is Gallery 11, and although many pictures are
here, I may add more later, and I still have to
write the text.
|STAY TUNED. I HAVE TWO OR THREE MORE IDEAS FOR GALLERIES HERE, AND I WILL
PROBABLY WORK ON THEM AS TIME GOES BY. BUT EVEN THOUGH I NEVER THINK OF
ANYTHING AS FINISHED, HERE IS A LOT. HAVE FUN.