Brown Bluff: geology and gulls

The geology of the Antarctic Peninsula continued to fascinate as we arrived at Brown Bluff. The bluff in question is a line of pancake rocks towering over a huge glacier to the east and a narrow rocky beach. It sits at the entrance to the Weddell Sea on the edge … Continue reading

Whalers’ Bay, Deception Island

The flooded caldera of Deception Island is known as Port Lockroy, and just inside is the wide, black arc of Whalers’ Bay. Going ashore in 35 knot wind, buffeted by hail and grit was both challenging and satisfying. I wrote then about the sensory overload: the crunch of gritty snow, … Continue reading

Fog at Half Moon Island

Half Moon Island is a caldera in the strait between Greenwich Island and Livingstone to the south. When I went on anchor watch at 0600 the ship was shrouded in mist, icebergs just visible drifting past the bay. Snow was falling, bringing that characteristic hush. We made an early start, ashore … Continue reading

Fort Point: fit for Westeros

After Yankee Harbour we travelled the six miles to Fort Point on the south easterly side of Greenwich Island. It’s obviously named after its rocks, and it wouldn’t be out of place guarding a strategic river crossing in the Seven Kingdoms.  The rocks are piled up in basalt slabs from … Continue reading

Arrival in Antarctica

I finally recovered from seasickness enough to stand my watch our very last night in the Drake. It was bitterly cold and pitch dark at at 1900 when I went on deck. A big swell was still running, so Europa was pitching and bouncing around. It is hard to take … Continue reading

#AntarcticAlphabet: I is for ice

Ice strains, cracks and sometimes breaks, under the burden, slips and slides, does not stay in place, does not stay still. Glaciers, like poems, appear solid, inevitable, perfect at their heart, but are not. Impermanent ice weathers like epigraphs in the graveyard, words written on the changing world. Rivers flow, … Continue reading

Puerto Williams: southernmost city in the world

Puerto Williams sits at the eastern end of the Beagle Channel on the northern coast Isla Navarino, a large island with a toothed mountain range at its heart. It’s very proud of its ‘southernmost city’ tag, despite having less than 3000 residents, and marks Chile’s ownership of the south side … Continue reading

Garibaldi, Pia and the matter of harnesses

The folded, twisted landscape of the southern tip of south America creates ing fjords leading off the Beagle Channel, twisting lines in the rock where the water is still and opaque under the dark sky. The cliffs end in ice, slow rivers coming to a shattered blue and white wall wall. … Continue reading