The Stark (and Fragile) Beauty of Antarctica, South Georgia Islands and the Falklands

by Robert Bush: November 26, 2015

I am back on land.  The sensation of feeling like I am still on a boat has faded away, and I am back in the world of the internet, instant (and mainly, bad) news.  I no longer in a “remote” part of the world.

And one of the lessons for me of this trip was that the concept that Antarctica is “remote” is misleading.  Yes, we draw our maps with the poles barely appearing – and usually not fully appearing – on the map’s extreme top and bottom.  And it is true that not many people live at those polar locations, and not many people visit.  But those polar locations, and the vast oceans that separate the parts of the world that are overflowing with humanity from those vast continents of ice and snow,  are of central importance in the health of the planet as a whole.   Like a canary in a mine, if these areas continue to wither under the assault of humanity, it is a clear sign that  our children and grandchildren will be facing great dangers.  Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear we won’t have to wait for the next generations to feel the adverse effects of climate change.

I have spoken to a number of people about my trip since my return and it appears that I did a decent job in conveying the adventurous nature of the trip – the big waves and big distances, the remoteness and uniqueness of the locations.  In these conversations,  and upon reviewing the descriptions that were posted on this blog, I am not sure that I adequately conveyed the breathtaking beauty of the places we visited.  Now that I have had a chance to spent a little time reviewing and editing the photos, and now that I have adequate internet bandwidth, I wanted to post a few photos that I hope will at least partially convey that beauty.  At the same time, hopefully these images will underscore the message that we need to pay attention to climate change, and be participants in the oftentimes frustrating political discussions after climate change, so that we can help make sure that we all do not squander the gift of such a beautiful world we all have been given.

These images are (not in this order)  from Ushuaia (the Argentinian port town where we ended our journey);  tabular icebergs from the giant ice shelf that broke off from the continent 15 years ago and is referred to as “B-15”; sunset on the mountains lining the Bransfield Strait as we departed the South Shetland Islands and headed back to Ushuaia; blue ice floating in Ciera Cove; the rugged coastline and wintry conditions that greeted us on Half Moon Island between Greenwich and Livingstone Islands in the South Shetland Islands; and the penguins on a perfect day in St. Andrews Bay in South Georgia Islands.


King Penguins in St. Andrews Bay

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Ice and Icebergs, Antarctic Sound

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Blue Iceberg, Cierva Cove

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B-15Y Tabular Iceberg, Antarctic Sound


Half Moon Island, South Shetlands


Ushuaia, Argentina


Bransfield Strait