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.
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.
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.
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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“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
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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