My dad and I began our adventure in Ushuaia, Argentina a small town at the most southern tip of South America. Ushuaia is also known as the “End of the World.” It is a picturesque place complete with blue water, green forests, and snowcapped mountains. We ate a delicious lunch in a local restaurant at the end of the Pan-American Highway and then had a quick tour of the town before heading for the dock to begin our expedition.
The ship was very small and pleasant. There were 122 passengers and 121 crew members, so we were able to meet a lot of people. Even though there were 25 different countries represented, we found out just how small the world really is. It was great learning the things we have in common – such as a love for traveling – and where everyone came from.
Shortly after we headed out to sea we were introduced to the Drake Passage. This body of water is where the Antarctic Current, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Southern Oceans meet. It is also famous for being the roughest waters in the world. During our trip the waves were around 15 feet high on average with a few even larger rogue waves. To give you an idea of typical wave height range, 15 foot seas are considered to be “moderate.” Thank goodness for Dramamine.
People keep asking me what my favorite part of the trip was. My answer is simple – everything. Each day we visited new places – notably the Antarctic Peninsula, many of the South Shetland Islands, and Port Lockroy. Along with going to shore, we also cruised around in a Zodiac raft looking at the stunning icebergs, watching penguins try to decide who is going in the water first, and taking in the gorgeous scenery. To simply say I’ve set foot on Antarctica is amazing in itself. To take things further and comment on how adorable sleeping seals are and say I’ve explored snowy Antarctic islands with penguins marching alongside is just incredible. Plus, I don’t know of many other places where you can get all four seasons in a matter of a few hours – rain, bright sunshine, fog, and pelting snow.
Antarctica is incomparable to any other place I’ve been. It is truly unique and without a doubt the most inspiring and beautiful place I’ve ever visited. I’ve wanted to go back since the second I left.