The Ultimate Polar Experience with Hurtigruten
Thursday, January 22, 2015
That single word is the only way to describe our eighth day on our journey aboard Hurtigruten’s FRAM here in Antarctica. Some of what made today special was blind luck and happenstance, but much of it was made possible thanks to Hurtigruten’s diverse optional excursions.
It began at 0830 this morning, as we joined “Boat Group C” for an optional morning of scenic cruising aboard FRAM’s Polarcirkel boats in Cuverville’s Errera Channel; a narrow, ice-choked passageway that borders both Cuverville and Danco Island, where we were just a few short days ago.
At a cost of 750 NOK per person ($100 USD), I had my doubts about paying extra for two hours of scenic cruising. But on a grey and misty morning, we ventured out into the Errera Channel, going far deeper into it than those guests who were just going ashore would ever get to see. During our two hour cruise, we came up close to gigantic icebergs and ice flows, illustrating their scale in a way that just isn’t possible from onboard the FRAM.
We were also treated to one of the best spectacles I’ve ever seen in my life, as two large whales came within feet of our Polarcirkel boats, clearly visible under the crystal waters beneath us. They played with the boats for nearly 45 minutes, and chased us when we had to leave to return to the FRAM, jumping out of the water repeatedly ahead of us in an attempt to get us to stop.
Our morning remains completely indescribable. It’s not for lack of trying; I’ve sat here with the cursor blinking in front of me for well over half an hour now. But once again, words fail to adequately capture Antarctica’s majesty. So, I’ll show you instead: