To the end of the world

I’ve just come back from two extraordinary months in Antarctica, and I want to tell you all about it. I was working on the M/V Sea Spirit as a lecturer in glaciology and a guide. The plan was to join a total of 4 back-to-back cruises, from the beginning of November to the end of December. Lucky me!

It all started in Ushuaia, often regarded as the southernmost city in the world. There, I met with the rest of the dream team, and together we spent two days exploring the Tierra Del Fuego and the Arakur Hotel. Fun fact, this is where Leonardo Dicaprio finished shooting The Revenant. Pilgrimage.

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After these two fun filled days it was time to begin the big adventure, and embark on what will be our home for the next two months. Sea Spirit has a crew of 69 people, and can welcome a total of 115 guests. The first cruise was 21 days, sailing to the Falklands (!), South Georgia (!!) and finally the Antarctic Peninsula (!!!). All subsequent cruises focused on the Antarctic Peninsula.

So first off, the beautiful Falkland islands. The Falklands are true birders’ paradise. We spent two days on the Malvinas, the first day on West Point, and the second day in “Little Britain” aka the capital Stanley.

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After a few sea sick days, we made it to South Georgia. I’ve always dreamt of going there, and my expectations got more than exceeded! We spent a total of 8 days there. What I remember from it is a lot of early early landings, ever changing weather and a lot of swell. But most importantly I remember the steep mountains, the colors, the fast shifting clouds, and of course the out of wordly wildlife.

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Fortuna Bay, St Andrews, Drygalski fjord, Grytviken, Stromness, all these names still resonate in my dreams. As we left magical South Georgia we made a surprise stop at Elephant Island. ELEPHANT ISLAND! I couldn’t believe it. This is where Shackleton’s men stayed for four months waiting to be rescued. What a place. Hell of an island. It looks like someone had vertically stretched the mountains. Fortunately for us, the weather was blissful.

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And eventually we made it to the imposing, the magnificent, the astonishing Antarctic Peninsula. As I saw these icebergs, these mountains covered from head to toe by huge glaciers I knew I was back in my dreamland.

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There’s nothing like it on earth. No matter where you look your eyes get stuck on the scale and the beauty of this landscape. There wasn’t a day I didn’t have to pick up my jaw that fell on the floor.

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At the beginning of the season, the conditions were every changing, and we rarely got to see the blue of the sky. But as December came, the weather only got better, the wildlife got happier and richer, and Antarctica was truly blossoming.

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The penguin chicks started to hatch

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The Whales migrated further and further south

Antarctica is not populated by the Antarcticans or the South Polians, but by researchers. We got the chance to visit three different research stations over these two months.

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Over these four cruises, all of us in the expedition team started to find their favorite sites. And for me, above and beyond all these stunning landscapes was one that stole my heart. And that is the Antarctic Sound. The Sound is a location at the very northern tip of the Peninsula. The waters there, in between tiny islands, are quite shallow. This is the place where the huge tabular icebergs become grounded. A temple for glaciologists.

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And sadly all these amazing adventures had to come to an end. After 52 days on the ship, 8 drake passagers and a huge number of icebergs, I had to greet goodbye to these frozen lands. And greet goodbye to all the inspiring people who travelled with us across the Peninsula. Thank you Poseidon for the fantastic experience, I’ll be back (I hope!) 🙂

And hop another picture of the tabulars 😉

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