Antarctica: Icy morn

ice1Our morning goal is the Lemaire Channel, a dramatic narrow passage seven miles long and one mile wide. It’s a fine day, warm (by these standards, anyway) and windless, lenticular  clouds spinning in the blue sky like alien ships. The ice crunches against our bow as our sturdy ship pushes through the pack ice, past penguins hanging out on the floes like some cartoon scene. “It’s beyond,” says Berryhil, a fellow traveler, using the word that somehow has become the trip’s theme. “Peaceful beyond peace,” says another ice watcher.

Push as we might, the Lemaire Channel proves too clogged for navigation, and we slip back into the icy bay in search of whales and seals. A pair of humpbacks surface, rolling up but refusing to show us their flukes.