Andrew Evans encounters his first iceberg on his way to Antarctica (while wearing a penguin shirt, naturally).
Just like the very first Antarctic explorers (Ross, Wilkes, and Captain Cook), my first sign that I was getting warmer (i.e. getting closer) showed up in the form of this giant ice cube that bobbed in the sea ahead of our boat.
Of course I was delighted. Icebergs are amazing objects to see up close–each is so unique in shape, color, movement and sound (yes, they make noise!). My first iceberg had 20 little penguins on it who, when they saw us, ran up and over to the other side.
Some icebergs are much larger–free-floating pieces of giant tabular (flat-topped) ice have been recorded that reach over 40 miles across and 60 miles long. These floating islands are so massive that ever since 1973, any island over 10 nautical miles is given a name and tracked.
An iceberg’s name begins with the letter (A, B, C, D) that reveals which quadrant of Antarctica the ice has originated from, followed by a number counting forward from the time they first started counting. If the iceberg breaks into two pieces, the smaller piece is affixed with a letter suffix (e.g. A48B means the 48th iceberg that broke off from an ice shelf in the Weddell Sea, which then broke in half).
I didn’t get a chance to ask this iceberg it’s name, but I did take a lot of pictures.
Andrew Evans has reached Antarctica, and is tweeting about his travels aboard the National Geographic Explorer at @Bus2Antarctica. Want more? Follow the map of his journey, bookmark all of his blog posts, watch videos, and get the full story on the project here. Photos by Andrew Evans.
- Nat Geo Expeditions