Welcome to the Weddell Sea, a wide open and lively body of water kicking up waves off the coasts of Antarctica. Filled with icebergs, the Sea is surrounded by jaw-dropping landscapes and is filled with all sorts of wildlife.[all pics are from https://oceanwide-expeditions.com/gallery/destination/weddell-sea ]
Weddell Sea scenery
[Weddell Sea scenery]
The scenery gets dramatic fast as your cruise ship arrives in the Sea. The view is dominated by white mountains with brilliant white-blue icebergs drifting through the deeper blues of the sea itself.
People are sometimes surprised by how robust the waters around Antarctica turn out to be. Despite the harsh conditions life beneath the waves thrives, starting with the tiny but plentiful krill, right up to great big bruisers like Killer Whales.
[There are huge icebergs in the Weddell Sea]
Another aspect of the Antarctic that takes people by surprise is the size of the icebergs. Cruise passengers know icebergs are big, perhaps the size of a house or even a cruise ship. But ice bergs of that size are actually on the smaller end – some ice bergs can be the size of cities, or even small American states.
For example, what you’re seeing in the foreground of this picture isn’t a mountain range… it’s an iceberg floating free from the continent.
[Swimming Weddell Seal]
Ice flows and icebergs aren’t just pretty pieces of Mother Nature’s art; they’re also a fine place to find different species of seals. Seals will haul out on ice in order to take a snooze in the sun (or to escape the Killer Whales mentioned above).
Zipping Zodiac rides
When you want to head to shore or get closer to impressive icebergs then you’re likely going to hop aboard a Zodiac (a rubber outboard-engine boat). Aside being fun to ride in, they’re perfect for taking tours of the shorelines or getting close enough to lick an iceberg.
Profound penguin populations
[Halfmoon isl. amos nachoum l3298.jpg]
One of the biggest draws for Antarctic cruises is of course the penguin population. Millions of the waddling little wonders gather on the continent and the sub-Antarctic islands (all the way up to New Zealand and the Galapagos Islands) to mate each year.
The elusive Emperor penguins
[Helicopter taking off]
Emperor penguins are found far enough inland that you’ll probably need to take a helicopter ride in to see them. Helicopter rides are fairly exclusive, so make sure you do some research to get the right kind of cruise if you’d like to enjoy a bird’s-eye view.
The majestic Emperor
At the end of the ride you’ll be able to visit with these regal lads and lasses. (Don’t worry, the helicopter lands far enough away so as to not disturb the colonies.)
A new angle on the Antarctic
Aside from visiting with the Emperors of the Antarctic, helicopter rides have an awesome and obvious additional benefit – you get a fantastic view of the beauty of our southern-most continent.
A brand new adventure
[Sunset in the Weddell Sea]
The worst part about taking an Antarctic cruise is that you know that you’re only ever going to be experiencing one small part of the overall wonder. As soon as you leave you’re going to be thinking about when you can make your triumphant return again… and again… and again.