On a jaw-droppingly beautiful morning, I climbed into a tiny inflatable zodiac boat at Paradise Bay in Antarctica. Wide swaths of sea ice stippled a dead calm ultramarine sea. On the horizon, mountains huddled beneath a blanket of unsullied snow, showing only their jagged black peaks. From every direction, crevassed glaciers marched from the mountaintops down to the sea. At their faces, immense blocks of tortured ice teetered, as if resisting the urge to take the polar plunge.
We idled in front of one glacier. It felt like the entire face might come tumbling down at any moment. I held my breath. I’d read about tiny boats being swamped by giant waves when glaciers unexpectedly calved into the sea. Only when we motored silently away did I allow myself to exhale. After two hours of cruising around Paradise Bay in Antarctica, I felt blessed to have witnessed such magnificence, and truly insignificant as a human being.
If you enjoyed this mini-story about Paradise Bay, you may also be interested to read about my close-up and personal experience with the penguins of Antarctica.