Antarctic Fox
The log of Rachel and Kevin Fox's trip to the Antarctic Peninsula in the Summer of 2008-9
Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker
January 1 - Crystal Sound, the Antarctic Peninsula

We woke up New Years day, groggy from partying, to the familiar bing-bong sound of the PA system followed by Tim's rise and shine voice. We had now crossed into the second half of our 12 day trip and overnight we had turned to head back north again. Apparently early in the morning we had again passed through the gullet and it was now a beautiful day in the Crystal Sound and Tim wanted us up to enjoy it.

One of us got right up (Though Rachel was forcing herself to do it), and the other dozed a bit more. The view from the bow of the ship was just spectacular to those few of us who made it up there.

Voyaging

Voyaging - On board the Hanse Explorer on a beautiful day in the Crystal Sound, Antarctica. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Antarctic Beauty

Antarctic Beauty - Crystal Sound, at the mouth of the Gullet. "The Gullet, Antarctica. The narrow channel which separates Adelaide Island from the Antarctic Mainland. Named for the complex of twisting channels that look something like a digestive tract, and choked with ice for much of the year, The Gullet is notoriously difficult to pass through, but rewards adventurous navigators with spectacular views, of the high mountains and tumbling glaciers on each side of the channel." - EYOS - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Let's take a minute and emphasize again how unusual the weather we are having is, even in the summer. This is not however surprising to our family, its called the Alan Phenomenon. We don't know why, we just don't question it, but when you travel with Alan you will get unusually good weather. I don't mean its all perfect, you will of course get a few days of normal weather for the area, and his radius is only so large so a storm further away may give us rough water from time to time, but in general you will have better than average weather much more often than average. As family we just accept this.

Convincing Tim, Rob and Martin of this was not exactly easy though. They don't often get this kind of weather on a trip and so they pushed us hard early on to get in as much as possible, figuring later we would have not as good days and may not be able to go out. Now half way through the trip, they are starting to take us a little more seriously though still not full believers. Either way they now claim they are beginning to run out of things to show us. We of course know they must be bluffing because some of our most incredible experiences were still to come, but today they decided we were just going to make our own fun.

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Clouds & Ice

Clouds & Ice - A beautiful day in the Crystal Sound, Antarctica. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Sydney Opera Ice House

Sydney Opera Ice House - This snow covered hill (or maybe glaicer) looks kind of like the Syndey Opera House don't you think? - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Reflections?

Reflections? - I love looking at this one, some of what you see on the water is reflections but they layer over top of the ice berg you can see extending under the water. I never got over how clear the water is!! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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The Crystal Sound had some great broken pieces of ice floe floating everywhere, and Captain Martin wanted to test out his ship. So the plan became that we would all go out in the zodiac boats, enjoy the sun, the beautiful surroundings and so forth, and also watch the Hanse Explorer cut through piece of ice floe from an interesting lower down perspective. The Hanse Explorer is not a Icebreaker class ship, but it is rated as an ice enforced haul, and this is a tough little ship. Even Tim and Rob sometimes seemed surprised at what she could do. The owner of this ship, who owns a shipping company and is a captain himself, built his little ship to really take into consideration how she moves and what she can handle.

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Layers of Ice & Cloud

Layers of Ice & Cloud - Down in the Zodiac boat I get a better angle on how thick the ice floe really ice, and how much of it there is here. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Deep Blue Something

Deep Blue Something - Again, can't get over the color and clarity of the water and ice beneath it. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Ripples of Ice

Ripples of Ice - The different textures, patterns and shapes we found in the ice bergs were always amazing us. Just when we thought we had seen all those possible, we found more. I'm sure there were many we didn't see as well. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Bumping - Cutting the ice like butter! - Video by Kevin Fox
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Where'd That Come From?

Where'd That Come From? - Just kidding, Tim was keeping a close eye on where the boat was in relation to us. This was not the closest we got to the nose of the oncoming ship. All of our guides are CRAZY and AWESOME!! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Hanse Explorer + Penguin

Hanse Explorer + Penguin - Hanse Explorer in the Mouth of "The Gullet", Antarctica with an Adelie Penguin. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Adelie on Ice

Adelie on Ice - A lone Adelie penguin resting and cooling itself on this ice floe. Poor thing really didn't know what to make of us. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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On The Edge

On The Edge - Checking out how thick the ice floe is. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Magestic Explorers

Magestic Explorers - The other zodiac finding a good viewing point for the ship which I'm sure is oncoming. You just can't beat being in this place! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Final Fly-By - And hello Boatswain!! - Video by Kevin Fox
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Face in the Mirror

Face in the Mirror - The face of a broken glacier as we pass through the Crystal Sound in Antarctica once again. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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“I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright,
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv’n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow moved; in which the world
And all her train were hurled. . . . .
- Henry Vaughan
“The World”

Field of Ice

Field of Ice - Ice as far as the eye can see! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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On The Bridge

On The Bridge - Martin, Tim and one of our awesome crew driving our ship, north again. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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It was a just an amazingly beautiful day, we couldn't have asked for more wonderful conditions of watching our amazing ship cut ice like butter with barely a scratch to her paint (Yes, Captain Martin did check this!). And the crystal sound sure lives up to its name.

Read the next chapter: Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 1


Table of Contents:

Introduction: Telling the Story posted Jan 10, 2009

Day 0: Positioning posted Jan 12, 2009

Leaving, on a jet plane posted Jan 12, 2009

Day 1: The Herc posted Jan 15, 2009

Day 1: Penguino posted Jan 16, 2009

Day 2: Chicken posted Jan 17, 2009

Day 2: Leopard posted Jan 19, 2009

Day 2: Snow Day posted Jan 22, 2009

Day 2: Shipwreck posted Jan 26, 2009

Day 2: Totally Tabular posted Jan 27, 2009

Day 3: Gentoo Cute posted Jan 29, 2009

Day 3: Lichen Shag Glacier posted Feb 3, 2009

Day 3: Palmer Station Visit posted Feb 9, 2009

Day 4: Icy Penguins posted Feb 11, 2009

Day 4: Adelie Awesome posted Feb 15, 2009

Day 4: Leopard Seal Attack posted Feb 17, 2009

Day 4: Kayak posted Feb 19, 2009

Day 4: Vernadsky Station Visit posted Feb 23, 2009

Day 4: Vernadsky Sunset posted Feb 25, 2009

Day 5: Antarctic Circle posted Feb 27, 2009

Day 5: Polar Plunge posted Mar 5, 2009

Day 5: Mouth of The Gullet posted Mar 13, 2009

Day 5: Ice Camping posted Mar 18, 2009

Day 6: Flamingos on Ice posted Mar 20, 2009

Day 6: Mountain Climbing posted Mar 24, 2009

Day 6: Ice Textures posted Mar 26, 2009

Day 6: Antarctic New Years posted Apr 2, 2009

» Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker posted Apr 9, 2009

Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 1 posted Apr 17, 2009

Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 2 posted Apr 21, 2009

Day 8: Bird Watching in the Fish Islands posted Apr 23, 2009

Day 8: Icee Day - Part 1 posted May 5, 2009

Day 8: Icee Day - Part 2 posted May 11, 2009

Day 9: Port Lockroy - Base A posted May 20, 2009

Bonus Chapter: Baby Penguins! posted May 21, 2009

Day 9: Antarctic Humpback Whales posted June 3, 2009

Day 9: Dallmann Butt Sliding posted June 11, 2009

Day 10: Birthday Whales posted June 23, 2009

Day 10: Hannah Point Part 1: The Birds posted July 15, 2009

Day 10: Hannah Point Part 2: Elephant Seals posted July 22, 2009

Day 10: Deception Island - Part 1: Walking on the Moon posted Dec 11, 2009

Day 10: Deception Island - Part 2: The Martian Chronicles of Oz posted Dec 15, 2009

Day 11: Emperor Penguins posted Jan 8, 2010

Day 12: Black and White and Pink All Over posted Aug 4, 2011

More chapters posted every few days...



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