Cruising the Errera Channel: One of the Most Breathtaking Places to Visit in Antarctica
Cruising through the narrow Errera Channel, surrounded by the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and Cuverville Island, leaves a lasting impact on the heart and mind. This enclave of tranquility and beauty, located off the Gerlache Strait, lies in the heart of the Antarctic Peninsula region and is one of the most breathtaking places to visit in Antarctica.
The untarnished beauty of frosty peaks gleaming with shades of bright white and icy blue leaves you with the sensation that you’ve made it to the end of the earth. And, while exploring this, one of the most magical places to visit in Antarctica, the powerful silence is punctuated only by bird calls that echo against rocky landscapes. This humbling beauty makes it practically impossible not to experience a series of inspiring emotions. How does the Errera Channel make you feel?
1. Wonder: Marveling at the Pristine Ecosystem
As one of our planet’s final frontiers, practically untouched by humans and home only to creatures that can brave the region’s extreme conditions, Antarctica is mesmerizing in its singularity. From vibrant sunrises and sunsets to the glistening of the ice and reflections on the ocean’s surface, guests are frequently amazed by the visual harmony of this intricate ecosystem.
There are also new sounds to absorb and understand, including the crash of glaciers calving to create icebergs and the honking calls from Gentoo Penguin colonies.
Visitors may also hear sounds of seals and whales that now flourish here since recovering from extensive hunting during the 19th and 20th centuries. “The richness of Antarctica is shown in their rebound and recovery, particularly in the humpback whales,” explains Jamie Watts, a member of Silversea’s Expedition Team.
The humpback whale population is growing year by year. During the 2018 and 2019 summer season, there were more than 325 sightings in Antarctica compared to 150 in the year before, according to data from the Happywhale organization. Thankfully, that means guests on an Antarctica cruise will have a greater chance of seeing them, now and in the future.
2. Serenity: Basking in the Silence
Watts describes Antarctica as “the last wild place we can just visit and the last place we do not have mastery,” adding that humans simply “brush the surface” and “touch the edges.”
The Errera Channel is perhaps even more untouched than other places to visit in Antarctica. With such stillness, as well as views untarnished by mankind, it’s not surprising that guests report feelings of serenity and peacefulness.
3. Humility: Feeling Small Against Nature’s Vast Expanses
What’s more, surrounded by seemingly endless landscapes of ice and water, with the sound of wildlife much louder than any sound produced by human visitors, exploring the channel amidst scenes so far removed from daily life can provide a realization of the enormity of the world.
The landscape is so striking due to its huge scale and incomparable beauty. “Guests often comment on how small we are in this landscape,” says Watts. “There’s often a quiet smile – awe, in the genuine and rare sense.”
4. Inspiration: Standing in Awe of the Resilient Wildlife
Traversing the Errera Channel is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a chance to go off the grid and get connected to an immaculate world unlike any other.
Asked about its appeal, Watts says, “there’s always something new. The region’s wildlife, the ice and the sheer magnificence keep surprising me.” But he also notes that it is not only the place that inspires him to return again and again.
“For guests who travel on Silversea cruises, there’s a certain shared value set and appreciation of true wilderness that attracts a particular type of traveler,” he says.
5. Appreciation: Admiring Achievements in Environmental Conservation
Flawless snowy vistas, almost ethereal in beauty with shades of white and blue, make it impossible not to be grateful for Antarctica and our world.
Thankfully, researchers and earlier visitors to the region felt this too. The 1991 Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection designated Antarctica a natural reserve devoted to peace and science and set out how the environment should be protected.
Part of that plan involves the work of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, which was founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally-responsible private travel to Antarctica.
In addition to many other invaluable endeavors, the organization works not only to keep visitors safe on their expeditions but also to keep the icy wonderland pristine by educating visitors to not leave anything behind or take anything away.
With such care, visitors can be assured that the Errera Channel – and Antarctica – is in good hands, and it will continue to leave an impact on the hearts and minds of many generations to come.