After the first expedition we thought that perhaps Icebergs would become old news and that with the furthering of summer that Icebergs would be seen less or the size of them in general would be somewhat reduced. In some respects that was true for t he impact of the summer melt, but as for seeing Icebergs they never got old and we were still excited to see new shapes, sizes, form and textures.
However of this expedition we were on a different course via The Falklands and South Georgia. With this new course Larry the expedition leader had a ‘little’ surprise for us. Before we hit the ice of Antarctica proper we sailed south into the Weddell Sea on a slight detour.
The detour he announced was to sail alongside the current largest iceberg C-19. Now I had seen and heard of large icebergs before previously B-15 a few years back I had read about and seen on TV. So this was going to be awesome.
Now as some background to Icebergs in Antarctica is that the Ice Sheet each year calves in volume about 2300 cubic kilometers, and it is estimated there are around 300 thousand icebergs in the southern ocean at any one time. Size can vary from a few metres to tens of meters to kilometers. The larger Tabular icebergs are calved from the Ice shelves around the continent, such as Ross, Larson or Amery as an example. These Icebergs are typically 30 to 40 metre’s high above the sea and up to 300 metre’s deep below.
So with this in mind we were sailing to an Iceberg that is half the size it was when it was calved in 2002 from the Ross Ice Shelf (It split in 2003 into two Icebergs 19a and b) but still measures 15km by 23km on two of its sides……
As we approached C19 from its North West edge we saw, excuse the pun, just a tip of the Iceberg. For the next couple of hours we sailed down one of its longest sides, marveling at this beast, we were witness to a Natural Wonder of the world that in a few years time will simply have broken up and melted away. As you can imagine no photograph can do such a magnificent piece of Ice mass justice, but in an attempt to bring home the enormity and amazing spectacle we were able to witness here are a few photographs.