Sailing Amidst Nature’s Ice Sculptures

Day 43: Docked in Buenos Aires, Argentina – Find Insignia on CruiseMapper

There are no ice sculptures in Argentina’s Rio Plata, but there was no internet in the Antarctic so we are still catching up with last week’s adventures.

Technically speaking (not exactly Partout’s long suit), there are three types of sea ice in Antarctica:

Icebergs: large floating chunks of freshwater that have broken off glaciers or ice shelves

Pancake ice: slabs of ice that have been shaped by wind and waves

Nilas ice: crusts of newly frozen sea ice less than 4 inches thick

Non-technically speaking, this would be an iceberg.

This would be pancake ice (accessorized with sunbathing leopard seal).

Nilas ice is not pictured because summer is the season of thawing, not freezing, but this trail of mini-bergs (not a technical term) nicely illustrates how many sizes and shapes the ice sculptures could take.

Nature’s Ice Sculptures

We’ve all heard that 70% of the Antarctic is frozen fresh water. What Louis and Doris had not known is that the continent (roughly twice the size of Australia) doubles in size every winter when sea ice around it freezes. Come the “warmth” of summer, some of that ice melts or breaks off, filling bays like the ones we sailed with nature’s own ice sculptures.

Some are an exquisite blue.

Some appear to be finely carved like the sides of this one.

Others float like scenic flotsam. And, yes, that is a private sailboat.

Some floated right past our balcony, making it possible to stay warm and dry while ogling them.

Others provided rest stops for penguins.

Some of the ice chunks were enormous. The one below was the largest iceberg we passed. The line in the concavity is a crack that eventually will rupture the big berg into two smaller ones.

It was not as cold outside as the photographer’s dress would make it appear, but nobody ever accused Louis of being a winter guy. Temperatures were in the mid-40s Fahrenheit most for most of our Antarctic days with variable sunshine, fog, snow and rain.

The ice can pose obstacles and dangers even to large ships. One day, our captain had to reverse course and sail to an alternative opening of a bay because the first opening he tried contained too much floating ice for comfort.

For us, the Antarctic’s sheddings were a constant source of delight and awe.

Another Question Answered

Elisabeth commented while we were in Chile: “I hope you get to try some of the wines – they’re really good.”

We not only tried them, we brought a number of back to our onboard “cave” for future enjoyment. Insignia allowed world cruisers to bring eight CASES of wine onboard per stateroom (!!!!). Technically, personal wines are for consumption only in one’s stateroom or in one of the dining rooms for a $25 corkage fee but, practically, guests waltz all over the ship and into all the dining rooms with wine glasses they have filled from their personal stocks. Obviously, temperature control is not perfect, but we do have mini-fridges to chill the imminent white wine, and it’s not like we are aging anything for long.

We came on board with one case of California wines. We restocked in Chile with Chilean wines (mostly made from carmenere, Chile’s signature grape) and will do a major restocking today while in Buenos Aires. These will keep us stocked to Cape Town, South Africa, where we will do another major restocking. The ship actually has an extensive cave, but we can drink better wines for a lot less money by bringing them on board. And we do. Cheers!

Coming Soon!

One Day in Food

9 thoughts on “Sailing Amidst Nature’s Ice Sculptures

  1. Wonderful updates. And amazing photos and descriptions. But- I thought everything was included in the price. Is wine an additional charge at the meals?


  2. I really appreciate Louis’s beautiful photos of the cold, cold climes, but as a warm weather lover (perhaps after growing up in a climate where -20 in the winter was not uncommon) feel a bit relieved to know you’re in BA and are sampling delicious Chilean wines. Huzzah! Which did you like the best?


  3. All I can say is a very big THANK YOU for taking us all along on your incredible trip. These photographs are absolutely stunning. That’s our Louis at work! Very much appreciate your efforts and lap it all up when it arrives in my inbox! ❤️


  4. I am always surprised to see how fast you seem te travel by ship when I realize that you are moving day and night when not ashore. Buenos Aires will be a nice change of scenery, a bit crowded maybe but warm….
    Try to find the squares where locals are practicing the tango from children to 80+, all very serious but happy dancers.


  5. B.A.’s San Telmo neighbourhood is where the TANGO was born. We recommend ‘LuciayGerry’ world class TANGO teachers who have a studio in San Telmo and know all the best TANGO clubs in B.A. Bob and Cathy Hurst


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