“A bank of fog lingered far off in the distance along the Antarctic Peninsula, leaving us with sunshine and blue skies on the morning of a day that would turn out to be one of the best of my life. We started the day by weaving through immense, textured icebergs of every imaginable shape and size. Skeletons of whaling ships, long since abandoned, broke up the pristine shoreline. We ended the day dancing with a minke whale.
In between, there was every shade of blue. There were nesting chinstrap penguins and porpoising gentoo penguins. There were massive, sculptured glaciers; brash ice, and the cold, blue sea.
Sitting on a rock watching chinstrap penguins waddle and snuggle with their chicks, overlooking whale spouts in the distance, I didn’t think the day could get any better.
Then came the minke. We saw her in the distance, as we made our way through a narrow channel. ‘They’re a little shy,’ our Expedition Leader said—until they’re not. We idled, hoping for a distant glance. Suddenly, she slid through the water right next to our boat. For twenty minutes, she circled and surfaced. She blew bubbles, and rose up and crashed down. She was close enough to see the baleen of her beautiful mouth. Being around these mystical creatures is a spiritual experience, and I’ve never been to a church service that made me feel more alive.
It was fitting that we ended the day in a place called Paradise. We would spend two nights in Paradise Bay, camping one night on the ice of Antarctica. Paradise is a protected bay, and we were surrounded by majestic mountains, calving glaciers, playful penguins, and singing Weddell seals.
— Deborah Fischer | Sailing Antarctica: The Ultimate Polar Nature Expedition | 2018