The first hint that you’re approaching the Antarctic continent is the sighting of icebergs.
As icebergs become more plentiful, excitement grows, anticipating your first sighting of land in two or more days. They’re the precursor to the real allure of Antarctica – penguins and seals.
Yet, somehow as the days of an Antarctic adventure go on, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the varying shapes and sizes of the icebergs you cruise by.
You begin to learn a new lingo. You start talking about pancake ice, bergy bits and tabular icebergs. The bergy bits being smaller chunks floating in the water, while tabular icebergs can be behemoths larger than your average multi-story apartment building.
You learn that only 10% or so of the iceberg is actually visible above water, the rest hiding under the surface.
You see different coloured icebergs too, with blueish tints, sometimes quite dark and dense – hints that the iceberg was made of older, compacted ice which broke off from an ancient glacier.
Different types and colours abound, as do shapes. One iceberg may look like an animal, another could look like a scoop of ice cream.
Far away from the remote control and constant visual stimulation we’re so used to, icebergs take on the role of entertainer when you’re not communing with the wildlife in Antarctica. Your imagination takes hold and before you know it, these chunks of ice become one of the most exciting parts of your day.