Taking a chance on Antarctica
Adventures don’t come much more remote and dramatic than Antarctica, but for a landlubber like Geoff ‘Manch’ Manchester, would this Intrepid co-founder cope with being cooped up on an ocean voyage…
“Backpacking and Intrepid-travelling is my thing. Cruising? Hardly! I get cabin fever being on an island, let alone in the confines of a small ship. And I’m used to groups of 12 travellers, not 100!
But Antarctica is different, surely! Well I took the chance, jumping at the opportunity to join Intrepid’s first-ever Antarctica trip a few years ago. Forget the likelihood of seasickness, forget the fact that onboard you have limited areas to explore (one can’t really wander around the engine room like you would wander a food market it China), forget the difficulty of getting to know everyone over 10 days.
What I will never forget is the Minke whale swimming under our Zodiac, then poking its head out of the water less than a metre away to have a good look at the humans. Or climbing an ice-covered hill overlooking a magnificent bay and hearing the gunshots, that were actually the sounds of giant cracks in the glacier. And seeing sections of glacier break off and fall into the water, causing a mini tsunami that radiates across the bay. Totally strange is the concept of photography in Antarctica. Everything is white. Often it is hard to distinguish between mountains and clouds and yet the contrast of sky and ice is stunning.
A thrilling experience was during one of the shore visits to go walking. With the temperature around zero degrees Celsius, suddenly the wind would pick up and reduce the temperature with wind chill factor to -20 degrees Celsius. Fortunately we were never far from our zodiacs and the warmth of our ship.
And as we always want during Intrepid trips, we did experience a different culture. This time it was the culture of an ocean expedition and seagoing traditions, the behaviour of wildlife in the wildest of places and an appreciation of what it was like to be at the mercy of Mother Nature. A truly great and enriching experience.”
Have you explored the Great White Continent or is it on your travel bucket list?
Shackleton Epic – the re-creation of the historic expedition is happening now!
Environmentalist and explorer Tim Jarvis AM is undertaking this expedition to honour one of the greatest leadership and survival stories of all time; Sir Ernest Shackletonâ€™s 1914 expedition. You can follow their progress in Antarctica via the Shackleton Epic blog and Live Tracking at shackletonepic.com/blog.
Photo: Linda Borozan, Intrepid Travel