A massive cruise ship dominates Curaço island, Caribbean. Photo by Robert Pittman.
Steve’s Antarctic Trip from Buenos Aires, Argentina
A simply awesome expedition to this area of the world and the ”White Continent”. Highlights included thousands of King penguins and their chicks crowding the beaches with elephant seals and fur seals on South Georgia Island. Opportunities to hike the mountain snowy slopes were many and we were rewarded with stunning snow-capped landscapes and breath-taking views. We visited the relics of 1800’s abandoned whaling stations that once thrived on nearly wiping out the whale population in that area of the world.
On the Antarctica peninsula we were treated to a pod of Orcas hunting a seal on a small ice flow. Unable to dump the seal into the water, the Orcas gave up after 12 minutes, but the viewing was unbelievable. Of course, we participated in the ”Polar Plunge”. . . how could one not go to Antarctica and not go for swim? More spectacular landscapes, unique and massive iceberg sculptures, and thousands of Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins. Unpredictable weather and snow blowing sideways made you feel you were on a real expedition to this southern frontier.
Don Webb’s Antarctica holiday
Antarctica is a separate world. One can feel its presence as it approaches, sailing south from more temperate climes, Standing on the deck, one may follow the reeling albatross, feel the drop in temperature, the bite of the wind, and the pounding of the waves. Yet it is the presence of ice, from the first occasional fragments, escalating in shape, form and frequency, then finally dominating all else that brings assurance of arrival in Antarctica.
It was a hard crossing; though the captain said that it was not his roughest crossing, it was near the top and he also said that he could not sleep during the hurricane. After 2 days of getting beat around we finally made it to the calmer waters of the passage.
As we were leaving the Drake Passage I received the bad news that we might not be able to make a continental landing on Antarctica. Even knowing the risks and that there were no guarantees, I started to get upset because I made it this close only to be denied. However, I learned that nothing is written in stone and that the itinerary can change within the hour.
Much to my relief the itinerary did change and a window of opportunity opened up for us to make a continental landing. As a beautifully crisp sunny day unveiled itself and the seas lay down for the first time since my departure, I woke up to the full splendor of the Great White South I made it to the end of the earth and in a few moments I would be on a zodiac heading for land.