Individuals usually ask me what the spotlight was from my latest once-in-a-lifetime journey to Antarctica, the seventh continent—essentially the most distant place on the planet. I inform them it’s exhausting to decide on only one!
Was the spotlight the hundreds and hundreds of king penguins on the seashore at our first touchdown in South Georgia? Nothing however colourful penguins extending from the seashore to the foothills so far as the attention might see. And people fuzzy brown chicks that adopted their dad and mom round, begging to be fed. Watching them chase after mother and pa in search of a meal was a particular spotlight.
Our first day additionally launched us to two-ton elephant seals guarding their harems. They had been large and appeared fairly menacing, particularly after they opened their mouths to bellow a warning to a fur seal that bought too shut. Watching them from a protected distance was completely fascinating.
One other spotlight was visiting Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave in Grytviken on South Georgia. Our journey had a particular emphasis for the centennial of that incredible journey.
We spent a morning visiting Shackleton’s grave and the lengthy deserted whaling station close by. Tales had been recounted of his bravery and management abilities and we raised a glass to his reminiscence. One of many crew members even dressed up as Sir Ernest and greeted us as we took a stroll alongside the identical path that he walked when he arrived on South Georgia after his epic journey. I’m nonetheless in awe after I consider this accomplishment.
The superb iceberg formations that dotted the ocean close to the Antarctic Peninsula had been one other spotlight. Large tabular icebergs larger than my home floated a protected distance from the ship—shut sufficient to get nice photographs however far sufficient away to not fear about any unexpected conferences. Oddly formed bergs additionally floated together with penguins perched on their aspect, which precipitated us all to marvel how on this planet they bought up there.
Definitely the chinstrap, Adélie, and gentoo penguins we bought to know throughout our time on the Peninsula are price mentioning. I spent hours watching their antics as they stole rocks from different nests and took them to their very own nests. After they had been caught with the stolen items their neighbors nipped and pecked at them as they scurried by. Typically one would run crazily across the group in what appeared like utter confusion. We watched these antics on a number of stops we made on the Antarctic Peninsula.
Looking back, maybe it was the brand new buddies I met on board that I’ll keep in mind as the most important spotlight. In spite of everything, we had bonded throughout this superb three-week journey. Despite the fact that we had been all on the identical websites, we every had our personal private expertise whereas there. We celebrated birthdays and particular events on board with our incredible crew. Kayakers enthusiastically shared their actions gliding alongside the sleek waters and all of us marveled that although we might have seen various things that day, it was nonetheless a magical expertise for all.
I nonetheless keep up a correspondence with a number of of my fellow passengers, whom I think about good buddies now, even months after the cruise ended. On the finish of the day, it’s the human interplay I shared with a number of different vacationers fortunate sufficient to go to this distant place that at all times brings a smile to my face when recalling this superb expertise.
Now, if anybody ever asks about my time in Antarctica or South Georgia, I can solely smile and reply that there have been too many highlights to select only one.
-Images and textual content by WT Cruise Supervisor Carmen Gomez, Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands.