Sailing Through The Spectacular Lemaire Channel


I am not, nor will ever be, a morning person.

Waking up early is always a struggle. I am much more of a night owl, and I can easily stay up until dawn with no more sustenance than a cup of coffee at dinner.

However, travelling challenges this side of me, as for the most part while on adventures, the early bird truly does get the proverbial worm.

The morning on which we sailed through the Lemaire Channel was one such occasion.


The Lemaire Channel – also sometimes referred to as the ‘Kodak Gap’ – is one of the narrowest and most scenic straights in the Antarctic Peninsula. At just 11km long and 1600m wide at its narrowest point, the channel feels and appears even narrower, due to the dramatic mountains flanking it and the particularly dense output of icebergs.

This channel is a favourite for Antarctic cruises to go through due to it being just really bloody pretty, but sometimes cannot be passed through due to icebergs clogging it all up.

Our expedition was reasonably lucky in regards to weather (although the passengers who didn’t get to camp on the ice may not agree) and as a result, on one very early morning, we had no problems passing through this stunning passageway, and it was certainly worth the early wake up call.

Me on the stairs, repeatedly telling myself not to slip and fall on my arse

It had been snowing quite heavily overnight, which meant the entire deck was covered in a crisp and crunchy layer of white. Feeling the snow crunch beneath my boots was incredibly satisfying, and even though it sounds like such a small thing, it somehow made me extra stoked that I’d managed to pull myself from the warmth and comfort of bed.


The snowy conditions meant that visibility wasn’t completely clear, and the tops of the mountains remained shrouded in a grey haze, but honestly, I think it made the journey even more mystical.


The overcast-ness (not a word, I know) also had another bonus – it made for extra water visibility – meaning that we could see parts of the icebergs that would normally remain hidden by the water.


This next shot is easily one of my favourites – not only is it soft, light and pretty (if I do say so myself) – it was also taken just moments after spotting Minke whales not far from the ship!


The next few photos are from various different mountaintops. I switched from my 7-14mm to my 12-40mm to capture these shots, as the ship was a reasonable distance away from them.




Despite frequent lens changes, on this morning I was so bloody glad that I had brought my 7-14mm with me. Without a wide angle lens I really would have struggled to get everything in frame…


…especially when it comes to shots like this one!

Pictured up front: one of my favourite passengers on the voyage, the ever inappropriate but oh so lovely Ralph Senior

I really, really, deeply and truly despise getting up any time before 9am…


…but on this day it was well worth the effort.



Getting to Ushuaia: Ushuaia is well connected to Buenos Aires and El Calafate
Oceanwide Expeditions: An 11 night Basecamp Ortelius voyage starts at around $9650 USD
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: If you hate getting up early like I do, just remember to tell yourself that the sooner you get up, the sooner you get coffee!

Disclaimer: I travelled to Antarctica with Oceanwide Expeditions on board the Ortelius MV. This post was sponsored by Oceanwide Expeditions through a subsidised expedition, however, all thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest, unbiased and in no way influenced by the Oceanwide Expeditions brand, its management or its affiliates.

Posted by

30-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

9 thoughts on “Sailing Through The Spectacular Lemaire Channel

  1. Really loved this post too! You’ve introduced a part of the world to me which is so magical. You didn’t mention the temperatures … I’d love to know how cold it was! The pictures and description is out of this world. You are amazing! Is this the one in which your dad went with you too? Stay blessed and keep inspiring.

  2. Alie also is a night owl but was out on deck at the “ungodly hour” of 7 a.m. with me because the Captain said ice closing in would mean we had to turn around one morning instead of proceeding as planned. She too agreed it was worth it. The early morning Antarctic light is unlike any other place we have been.

  3. Being a morning person who is also somewhat a midnight-oil burner (afternoons are my down time), I would treasure the sunrises and seek out Aurora Australis, with gleeful abandon.

Leave a Reply