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  • Writer's pictureBuddy the Globetrotter

Danger at Neko Harbour

Neko Harbour lies midway along the Gerlache Strait on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Before zodiac dis-embarkation with intent to climb to the summit above some penguin colonies, the waters here were crystal clear. Gentoo penguins were lined-up and taking turns diving and swimming, with some porpoising and others easily seen to be spiraling like sea lions beneath the water's surface. Quick actions by our crew prevented potential catastrophe when a ten-story sized chunk of ice calved off the glacier to my left in the photo. Details are recounted in the BTG Expedition to the Frozen Continent book. The impact was so great that it sent a fifteen-foot tsunami wave towards our ship. As you can see in my photos from the summit, ice debris filled the harbor. Almost three years later, I can still feel the excitement of that morning! Experience is a great teacher. This experience was also a great reminder of the potential dangers inherent to any expedition into a pristine wilderness. Venture forth, but be prepared and employ experienced guides.

Me standing at the summit of Neko Harbour after a calving glacier dispersed.

View towards our ship in Neko Harbour, National Geographic Explorer, surrounded by ice from the calved glacier. Note the penguin rookery, fellow travelers, and the zodiac boat.

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