Antarctica. The landscape in Antarctica is breathtakingly beautiful. But the beauty of the Neumayer Canal surpasses much and fills my heart with damming and joy. Because the wide glacier fields and ice falls are almost within reach. Steep mountain flanks reach up to 1,000 meters and are reflected in the smooth water. Due to the s-shaped course of the Neumayer Canal, the entrances and exits are not visible. We are surrounded by majestic cliffs. A trip through the Neumayer Channel takes about two hours and is the fulfillment of a dream, accompanied by whales and penguins. It is pure Antarctica, as one knows it from illustrated books or nature documentaries on television. With the following photos I would like to present you one of the most beautiful landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula.
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Whales and icebergs in the Neumayer Channel
With all these whales, I can't remember where to look first. There are seven whales at the same time. Three diagonally in front of us, two on our right and two further away. As I watch the whales, we drive past beautiful, dazzling icebergs. In different sizes and shapes they float in the water. Where the icebergs dip into the water, they are bright blue. Sometimes a seal rests on an ice floe or penguins prepare to jump into the cold water. It is lunchtime. I manage to tear myself away from the wonder world and get some leftovers from the buffet for a quick lunch. Then I go outside again, to the whales and icebergs in the dream landscape of the Neumayer Channel.
Excursus: The colours of the icebergs
Iceberg are mostly white. Sometimes they are bright blue. The white colour results from the scattering of the light at the air bubbles trapped in the ice. If fewer air bubbles are trapped, the ice appears clearer. As a rule, older ice or ice under high pressure has fewer air bubbles. The clear ice then acts like a colour filter - similar to water itself. This is called selective absorption. This means that first red, then orange, then yellow and then green light are absorbed by the ice one after the other. Blue light is absorbed last, so the ice shimmers blue.
The Neumayer Channel and Gerlachestraße
The Neumayer Channel is a narrow sea road in the Palmer Archipelago and separates the Anvers Island from the Wiencke Island. It is about 30 kilometres long and between two and four kilometres wide.
The Neumayer Canal was first sighted by the German captain Dallmann during the hunting season of 1873/74, when he searched for new sealing grounds. With his agile steamboat he could also penetrate into the narrow canal. The Belgian polar explorer Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery later named the channel after the German geophysicist Georg von Neumayer (1826-1909). Neumayer dedicated his life to polar research. In recognition of his commitment to Antarctic research, the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) later decided to name the German research station in the Antarctic after him. Find out more about the Neumayer III Research Station here.
To the north, the Neumayer Canal opens into the wider Gerlachestraße, which separates the Palmer Archipelago from the Danco coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. This waterway is named after the Belgian polar explorer Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery (1866-1934). Gerlache explored this area during the Belgica expedition (1897-1899). Among others, the Norwegian Roald Amundsen and the American Frederick Cook were present at that time. Both were still unknown at that time, but later they were to have a decisive influence on polar research. The ship, the "Belgica", was later taken over by Sir Ernest Shakleton and renamed "Endurence". Sir Ernest Shakleton and his crew wrote the most fascinating polar adventure of all time with the expedition of the "Endurence", its downfall and the subsequent rescue operation.
It's an exciting feeling to drive where the polar explorers filled the white areas of the maps with life. The circumstances under which these expeditions took place are hardly imaginable today. And that makes them even more fascinating. Do you want to know more about polar research at that time? Then here's to my favourite books of polar literature.
Book Recommendations for Antarctica
Do you want to know where the journey is going? Then I can recommend this travel books* to you.
You can order the travel guides on Amazon by clicking on the pictures. If you buy a product via an affiliate link, I get a small commission and you help me to keep filling Fernweh-Motive with interesting articles. This does not make the product more expensive for you.
Have you ever been to Antarctica in a ship yourself? How did you like it and what were your highlights? Do you have any questions about my article or any other tips for a trip to Antarctica? If so, please write me a comment!