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Lemaire Channel Antarctica

The snow was coming down steadily as we approached the opening to the Lemaire Channel. The thermometer read 0 degrees Celsius and the wild was blowing. The ship traveled slowly–only 5-7 knots. Visibility from the bow of the ship was about 100 meters—enough to see a series of icebergs spaced throughout the Lemaire Channel.

Approaching the Channel

The Lemaire Channel is a seven mile stretch of water that  is only half a mile wide at its narrowest point. It was discovered in 1873, but not navigated until 1898 by Adrien de Gerlach, a Belgium explorer. The Lemaire Channel is considered one of the most scenic places to sail through in Antarctica. I was eager to see it. Everyone on the cruise was looking forward to seeing it.

Will We Make it Through the Lemaire Channel

I stood outside the Bridge with a few people as we anxiously stared at the Icebergs. We felt the wind, the snow, the slowness of the ship. We all wondered what would happen.

Inside, in the Bridge, Captain Denis Radja was in quiet conversation with his officers. The ship slowed down even more. We were all wondering if we would be able to make it through the channel? Not sure.

We crossed our fingers.

Then, the ship slowed down even further. There was a lot of conversation going on on the Bridge.

It seemed like it was moving to the right (starboard if you’re a sailor). Yes. We were definitely turning around. We would not be going through the Lemaire Channel.

Turning Around

I step into the Bridge and hear the announcement from expedition leader Laurie. We were turning around. There were too many icebergs in the Channel. We were now setting sail for Jougla Point where we would have an evening excursion.

So it goes on an Antarctic cruise. The weather and ocean conditions determine the activities. The good news is that wherever you go is spectacular.

To read more about my adventures, check out Antarctica Travel Tips