Camping on the White Continent

As campers, we couldn’t have been luckier. We were the first expedition ship out this Antarctic season and the first boat to reach the continent. And then we got to camp on the continent – a rare treat!

Stunning Camp Site

The campsite was in Neko Harbor, on the Danco Coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. (To see the difference between the peninsula and the east and west side of the continent, read: Anatomy of Antarctica.)

The harbor is on Andvord Bay — Latitude 64° 49’ South and Longitude 063° 32′ West – and was discovered by Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache in the early 20th century.

Quite simply, Neko Harbor is stunning. It has a massive glacier that was constantly calving. Here’s a clip of the ferocious glacier activity:

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Neko Harbour Glacier

Amazing Camping Experience

Tsunami Alert: The dramatic calving meant that I couldn’t help but opening the tent all night long. See the falling ice chunks are big enough to create small waves that would lap up onto shore. And the bigger pieces were creating small tsunamis.

This was slightly worrying since  a few years back a wave created by calving ice roared onto shore and sucked 12 campers back into the icy water. I think that would be a rude awakening, so I was on alert.

Hence the zipping and unzipping of the tent flap each time I heard a loud splintering of ice, followed by an extra-large splash. I wanted to peek to see that the shore wave wasn’t too big since my tent mate and I had elected for a waterfront view for our tent.

Here’s our amazing glacier-side campsite:

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Erin Ice Camping

Toilet Training: In addition to the tsunami watch, I was also on toilet alert. The camp toilet, as you can see, was al fresco in the extreme.

Disrobing from your multiple parkas and exposing your back side (for women) to the frigid cold is a semi-shocking experience and not one you want to have to repeatedly endure – especially when you need to crawl out of your warm sleeping bag to brave the cold air.

To ward against this unpleasant experience, I discovered the #1 rule of ice camping: Reduce all fluids!

One-in-a-Lifetime Exposure

With the midnight sun shining and the active glacier and the brutal cold, we didn’t get a lot of sleep that night. But who cares? We were ice camping on the mainland of Antarctica = an unforgettable experience and a highlight of my Antarctic expedition!

Want to read about more life-altering experiences? Check out:

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This entry was posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2012 and is filed under Home.

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