Sailing through Antarctica last year was the experience of a lifetime.
I wish there were enough words to describe it – and that I had taken out a journal and put pen to paper to capture the sights in front of me during that time, much like she did. Nothing could ever do its beauty justice, though.
It’s always been a dream of mine to see Antarctica, mainly because of two factors:
- I absolutely love the cold, whether it’s snow, rain, or wind
- I learned about the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) in 2013 and have been infatuated with the prospect of working and living in Antarctica ever since (I WILL do this program, do not doubt me)
Although I can’t properly say that I’ve stepped foot onto Antarctic soil (yet), sailing through its stunning glaciers proved amazing enough. We cruised through Schollart Channel, Paradise Bay, Gerlache Strait, and Elephant Island before tendering at the nearby Falkland Islands.
The Falkland Islands was the only port we were allowed to get off and see penguins up close in their natural habitat. I was extremely fortunate to escort a private tour to Bertha’s Beach, about an hour’s drive from the port, and saw 800+ Gentoo penguins and two King penguins up close.
I’ve never been so happy in my life. It was definitely the best day of my contract.
I came back with $100 worth of souvenirs, two penguin stuffed animals (adding to my collection of about 10+ I’ve collected just on THIS contract alone), and a very happy heart. I was over the moon.
Our ship also made history as the largest cruise ship to ever sail through Antarctica (2,800+ passengers, 1,230+ crew). For two consecutive cruises (Jan. 20 – Feb. 17), we sailed through Antarctic glaciers and some Argentina/Uruguay ports. We had stellar weather and photo opportunities – it looked like we were sightseeing in California rather than Antarctica since we had clear blue skies and bright sunshine on both cruises. The wind chill on the first cruise proved the most fierce, but it was nothing that my heavy coats and penguin onesie couldn’t handle.
I hope that my penguin legacy lives on, since I’m definitely in about 50+ passenger photos in my penguin onesie, posing with all the officers on the lawn with Antarctica as our backdrop.
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