When we changed route to rescue a fellow ship in Antarctic waters, I realized the ice continent is the ultimate voyage.
I didn't know what lie ahead when I booked my 10-day expedition to Antarctica. I actually wasn't even planning on going. I happened to be traveling through South America when I realized that Antarctic trips left Argentina and I had no idea when I would be this close again.
I decided to extend my top-to-bottom South American trip for a 10-day Antarctic expedition. The ship left port from the southernmost point of the world, in beautiful Ushuaia, Argentina.
About 100 of us were on board - researchers, photographers, guides and fellow explorers. The journey to reach Antarctic land took a full day. The ship was quite comfortable with great food, saunas and nice rooms.
Deep blue waters met blue skies with virtually nothing else in view. It wasn't until we crossed the Drake Passage when whales and wildlife appeared around our ship. Crossing this passage is one of the most dangerous water crossings in the world with massive currents and delays being common. We lucked out with calm waters and reached Antarctica in good time.
Twenty-four hour sunlight allowed plenty of time for exploring and close encounters with wildlife. We saw whales, dolphins and glaciers filled with hundreds of penguins. We hiked up a glacier and carved out a route down where we spent time bodyboarding through the snow.
We poured drinks and chipped off pieces of glacier to use as fresh ice. While sipping our beverages, we admired the mountains of snow as big as city skyscrapers. Pieces of ice the size of buses would fall off and crash into the waters below. Our guides explained the surrounding landscape, wildlife and how environmental factors are affecting it.
Exploring Deception Point was an ultimate adventure. A volcano that once exploded and imploded now makes for a perfect hot tub when the boiling waters below the sand are mixed with the arctic waters. I took the "penguin plunge" at a freezing 33 degrees, then jumped into the natural warmer bath waters.
After several days on land, we ventured back for Argentina. A fellow ship was caught in the raging waves so our ship changed course to rescue the passengers. What I found most amazing about this trip was the contradictions of extreme solitude and peace balanced with those short bits of dangerous and terrifying moments.
I was also amazed at how one travel goal can spark the idea for the next bigger goal. My trip to Antarctica and South America sparked the idea to see all 7 continents within 1 year - the hardest continent was completed so my next sales driven mission was to soon experience the others! If you're contemplating a trip to arctic south, I would absolutely recommend it. It's a lifetime experience unlike any other.