Antarctica in Pictures: An Iceberg Graveyard in Pleneau Bay

Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

Pleneau Bay is home to an incredible collection of icebergs in an area known as Iceberg Graveyard.  It is a highlight of any visit to the Antarctic Peninsula.

My eyes followed the Minke Whale’s fin as it descended into the water. I continued to stare at the ripples it left behind, willing it to reappear whilst temporarily forgetting that whales continue to move under water.

As the zodiac slowly cruised in the direction the whale seemed to have been heading, the silence that surrounded me was broken by the sound of splashing to my right. I turned in anticipation, camera at the ready: it wasn’t the whale that had resurfaced though, but a raft of Gentoo penguins, gracefully swimming alongside us with a style that couldn’t be more different to the awkward waddle they adopt on land.

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I followed the penguins with my camera, trying to capture them in motion, whilst keeping another eye out for the whale that I hoped would resurface.

Suddenly the zodiac changed direction – a leopard seal had been spotted resting on an ice floe. I put the camera down and laughed. This was crazy – I didn’t know where to look, there was so much going on. And the main attraction of this location wasn’t even the wildlife!

We were sailing through Pleneau Bay, one the highlights of my first trip to Antarctica and as such an eagerly anticipated excursion on my second.

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Pleneau Bay is home to an incredible area nicknamed Iceberg Graveyard, where frozen structures of all shapes and sizes have drifted from locations as far south as the Ross Ice Shelf. Tired of their nomadic life, many have run aground in Pleneau Bay, choosing the area that was named by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot after his expedition photographer Paul Pleneau, as their final resting place.

Sailing through Pleneau Bay feels like visiting an outdoor gallery, curated by a polar expert who has placed a collection of icebergs selected for their individuality in an idyllic setting. It feels like a private viewing of items sourced from a continent that few people have the opportunity to explore in great detail.

It is one of the most magical places I’ve been.

The photos below are from both excursions – in January 2013 and January 2015.

Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

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Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

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Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

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Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

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Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

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Pleneau Bay, Antarctica

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

Comments

  1. Kellie!
    I never thought I wanted to go to Antarctica, but your photos completely inspire me to go. Loving photography as well, photographing the icebergs is almost up there with the Northern Lights. You did a wonderful job capturing each one! I’m inspired. Thank you!

    • I can’t think of a better location in the world for photography than Antarctica, although I agree the Northern Lights are up there as well!! There is something really magical about the polar destinations. So happy to have inspired you – I hope you get there one day 🙂

  2. Truly spectacular photos Kellie…it must be amazing to see. Thanks for sharing your travel images with us.

  3. I love this place and hope I will have a change to visit there when I can.

  4. Wow! Just incredible! Last year I visited Iceland and saw floating icebergs at Jokulsarlon and I was smitten. The glacier lagoon so beautiful and eerie; moved me deeply somehow and definitely one of the most memorable moments for me. Since then Antartica seems even more fascinating, absolutely a dream for me. Would love to visit someday. Your pictures are absolutely breathtaking 🙂

    • I had a very similar experience. It was my first visit to Iceland a few years back that introduced me to my first iceberg at Jokulsarlon and my addiction to icy landscapes began!! I hope you make it to Antarctica one day and get to see this magical place for yourself 🙂

  5. That’s really something. Those pictures look unreal. I haven’t made it to Antarctica yet, but I hope that I’ll go there some day. It’s funny that icy landscapes often become some kind of addiction. A lot of people don’t seem to understand why traveling to cold places is so fascinating. I’ll show them your post and your pictures. Truly stunning!

    • You are right – icy landscapes really do become an addiction for so many people. I have friends who think I am crazy to visit these cold places when I could be relaxing on a beach, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  6. Lesley Burnett says:

    I love icebergs and glaciers. Incredible photos that remind me of our trip there

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