January 19, 2010
We’ve just got back from a month long expedition on a 55ft yacht ‘Seal’ to Antarctica (www.expeditionsail.com) and I’m finding it incredibly difficult to put into words the amazing experiences. From humpback whales bubble net fishing right alongside the yacht to sitting on the snow gazing into the deep dark eyes of a sleepy Weddell seal; from the majestic and awe-inspiring scenery, which gave me such respect for the early polar explorers, to the penguins who must be one of the greatest little creatures on earth – some nesting up to 600ft above sea level, climbing up through rocks and snow on their little stumpy legs with their comedic gait, but once in the water they are so agile, graceful and fast. From the long sunsets which slowly become a long dawn giving the most amazing light to the 20,000yr old diamond glacier ice in our gin and tonics at happy hour! From climbing up 1000ft of rocks and snow to sliding down 400ft on our bottoms! From easy downwind sailing across the Drake Passage to an 18hr gale which tested everyone’s spirits! From Ukranian hosts at Vernadsky research station to the British Antarctic Survey emergency hut at Damoy Point. From one of the most frustrating moments when our engine went sick to one of the most spiritual moments sitting in Penola Strait in a 10ft rubber dinghy on a very calm evening with a misty light just listening……listening to the sounds of; glaciers calving icebergs and the breaking waves of water; avalanches going off like a big gun; the cracking and creaking of ice breaking up and bumping into more ice; the plip-plop of penguins fishing and the special treat was being surrounded by the sounds of whales surfacing and ‘blowing’ – and even though the visibility was so poor we couldn’t see any of these things – spiritually it was amazing just listening.