It feels like we have traveled to the end of the earth. In fact, we have. Antarctica is so far away from any populated land that traveling on the continent requires a frontier spirit. As explained earlier, we opted to fly across the Drake Passage rather than experience the roughest stretch of water in the world. This journey completed our travels to all seven continents—but I would have gone to the white continent even if it hadn’t been last on our list.
|Icebergs are constantly moving and changing size, shape, and color.|
Most people don’t realize that that Antarctica is also the world’s largest desert (a place that receives less than 10 inches of precipitation a year). Very little rain or snow falls, and what does remains since there is little evaporation. So it piles up year after year and freezes; now 98 percent of Antarctica is covered in ice. With such a harsh environment it’s not surprising that there are no trees or bushes; vegetation is limited to lichens, mosses, and algae.
|Graceful swirls of ice cover the landscape onshore.|
Previously I wrote about our continental landing at Portal Point on our first morning excursion. The warm, sunny weather of this epic day continued as we sailed through Wilhelmina Bay around lunch time and then to Enterprise Island, which was named for enterprising whalers who used its sheltered bays as anchorage for their ships in the early 1900s.
|Penguins are plentiful in Antarctica.|
|Seals have their moments, too.|
Glorious glaciers filled the bay, creating a visual contrast of white snow and ice with dark black-brown patches of rock. There are more mountains in Antarctica than we realized.
|We watched a mother whale and baby cavorting in the water.|
|Birds find a home among the rocky shores of Antarctica.|
|Would you walk around on this iceberg |
knowing it could calve any moment.
|The only way to put out the fire on this whaling ship|
was to sink it into the water--where it remains a century later.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier