Montagu Island and South Thule
The next day, December 8, we arrived in the morning at Montagu Island for a Zodiac tour. This island is 9 miles long
and five miles wide. It is an active volcano and our Expedition Leader had been told that there was a flow of red molten
lava to the water on one side of the island.
This morning was to be a wild zodiac ride along Montagu Island. The picture below, which I took from the ship, shows
the unusual glaciers on Montagu Island. The ribbons of dark in the glacier come from volcanic ash falling on the glacier.
All of the Zodiacs proceeded one by one around
the island looking for the red lava flow. Our
expedition leader, Jonas, was driving the first
Zodiac. Soon he was out of radio reception of the
group. The swells were substantial, and one by
one the Zodiacs turned back to the ship leaving
us the next to last Zodiac to get back to the ship.
As we returned, we heard the captain warning our
Zodiac driver that the Katabatic winds coming off
the island had reached 45 knots an hour.
Right, one of the other Zodiacs.
Below, Jackie. Getting back on the Khlebnikov
was a challenge with the Zodiacs rising and falling
some eight feet against the ship. One of the crew
men almost went in the water trying to tie up our
Zodiac to the gang plank and he was pulled into
the Zodiac by passengers.
When we got back, we
went up to the bridge
where we observed
our frantic captain
calling out over his
radio for Jonas.
passed by and no
Jonas. So the captain
pulled anchor to
search for Jonas when
the radio call came in
from Jonas who was
back in range. Jonas
kept going around one
more bend, each time
hoping for that IMAX
view of the volcano
flow which his Zodiac
group never found.
When Jackie and I
went to get out of the
Zodiac, the crew
literally yanked her up
on to the gang plank.
When it came my turn I
waited for the water to
rise and then threw
myself on my knees on
to the gang plank.
This day was supposed to conclude with a stop at the southern most of the Sandwich Islands, South Thule, but that
was not to happen. Normally, the pack ice does not reach that far north, but this day there was pack ice all around the
island making a landing by Zodiac too hazardous.
We did observe a spectacular cloud formation in the sky caused by aliens or the strong winds that surround Antarctica.