Thursday, August 19, 2010

Antarctica 2005 – Day 6 - Neko Harbor

Day 6 - Thursday, February 3, 2005 Travel to Neko Harbor and the Lemaire Channelglacial ice  The morning brought more surreal sights as we were headed blue ice below clear cold water towards Neko Harbor. It is an inlet on the Antarctic Peninsula on Andvord Bay situated on the west coast of Graham Land. There are so many icebergs in the water now and many of them have such beautiful blue tints. Although we have been in Antarctic waters for some time zodiac and the french returnwe have never actually landed on  the Antarctic continent as we have  been stopping at many of the islands off shore. This will be our first real landing on the continent itself and many on board are excited since they have been to all the continents but this one. They have a life goal of visiting all seven continents. 

Neko Harbor is known as one  of the two easiest accessible spots to Neko gentoos and ship the mainland of Antarctica but it is not without its hazards. Glaciers calving off the tabular ice have been known to create eight-foot waves, washing everything off the beach including Zodiacs, penguins, and humans, oh my... The sea is dark and covered with brash ice as we make landfall… I stepped off and set foot in Antarctica…

 Neko glaciers and jzh Once again I helped set the trail for the tourists and then took off  on a hike up a steep snow covered  hill. Un-layering as I climbed to the rocky knoll high up on a ridge. Once to the top I sat on the rocky knoll above Neko Harbour all alone for about 30 minutes before the first group of British arrived.  One asked me to take her picture and while doing so there was a loud CRACK! Part of the ice below in Neko had broken off and I could hear John Kernan the Expedition Leader below yelling “Get that boat of the beach… now!” The photo below shows the ice debris trail in the sea after calving the small bergs off from Neko Harbor Crevasses its edge. The ice falling off the glacier and into the dark blackish sea caused a loud roar and made 3-4 foot waves that quickly made their way to shore where we had landed. The sound was also captured on video by one other fellow and quickly shared with all so we may all keep the beauty of this moment with us forever.  

After soaking in the moment and  the spectacular views from above I  descended the hill to watch the gentoo penguins and to watch everyone prepare to head back on the zodiacs. The gentoos were making quite a ruckus as they communicated with each other. They were also “tobogganing” through snow to travel faster. Tobogganing is when they slide on the bellies when they want to  travel faster down hill – funny to watch…  

Then the last two zodiacs were  coming back to take the rest of us back to the ship. Hilariously one of the musical entertainment groups, the Paraguayos, had come onshore for a cameo photo opportunity before we all had to return to Le Diamant.  Then it was up on the top deck to watch the sail away as we cruised through the Lemaire Channel before dinner. 

huge berg B&W

NOTE: The oldest blue ice retrieved as a core from Antarctica — and  the world — travels back about 850,000 years in time, revealing eight previous ice ages.


  1. What an incredible story!!! I have been off line so I had to go back and catch up my blog reading. Your story is so fascinating. That had to be such an incredible adventure and what memories. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    Love those little gentoo cute!!

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  2. What an experience! Thanks for sharing. :)

    The Freely Living Life Family

  3. funny I actually created this blog many years ago just to document this trip... never thought about the lack of internet there :)