The Gerlache Strait lies off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, in the large band of the ocean around Antarctica that has been named the Southern Ocean.
This has been classified as the Southern Ocean by National Geographic cartographers. The strait would once have been regarded as part of the Pacific.
“Anyone who has been there will struggle to explain what’s so mesmerizing about it, but they’ll all agree that the glaciers are bluer, the air colder, the mountains more intimidating, and the landscapes more captivating than anywhere else you can go,” says Seth Sykora-Bodie, a marine scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a National Geographic Explorer.
Because National Geographic started producing maps in 1915, it has identified four oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. Starting on June 8, World Oceans Day, it will recognize the Southern Ocean as the world’s fifth ocean.
“The Southern Ocean has long been recognized by scientists, but because there was never agreement internationally, we never officially recognized it,” says National Geographic Society Geographer Alex Tait.
Those who have traveled on the Antarctica Ocean experience its spiky white icebergs and exciting whale sightings and get lost in its ethereal beauty and abundant wildlife. The charming beauty of this unique wonder of the world is spectacular, fresh, humbling, vibrant.
The region is also the one most visited by tourists in Antarctica—all of whom come during the summer season, from December through February.