I can be pretty loose with the phrase “there are no words” – which I then follow up with lots of words – but Antarctica truly defies description and is easily the most special place I’ve been lucky enough to visit.
Before I set off on on my Best of Antarctica expedition, I was definitely nervous. I hadn’t been that nervous about a trip in a really long time, but the butterflies settled in early. Some of it was excitement for such a once-in-a-lifetime experience (that and penguins, obvi), but Antarctica is just so remote and so unlike anything I’ve done before. I love travelling out of my comfort zone, and over time I’ve inched further and further into the wild, but I usually do my more adventurous travel with my husband, and this time I was setting off on my own.
I think everyone on board had a little moment when the Ocean Endeavour officially left port in Ushuaia and then again when we lost phone signal, just appreciating that remoteness. I definitely had some butterflies that evening but once I busied myself with briefings and chatting with the other passengers, the realisation that I was actually on my way kicked in.
We arrived into Antarctic waters in blustery snow and low visibility. I could just make out the outline of glaciers in the distance. But the next day, one of my new friends rang me in my cabin super early and told me to get outside right away. The skies were crystal-clear blue and perfectly still. Everywhere you looked was like a postcard.
Every day blew my mind in a different way. I knew going into this adventure that the most pristine natural environment in the world would showcase some incredible wildlife, but I had no idea we’d be constantly surrounded by so many curious little souls! I saw so many whales, penguins and seals. Nature is truly showing off in Antarctica. It was so breathtaking to experience this precious ecosystem, especially alongside the expert Intrepid crew who took biosecurity so seriously – they literally cover up your footprints at the end of every land excursion!
But the feeling that will forever stick with me is the huge perspective shift that happens when you go. That kind of brain stretch is what I love most about travel, but it’s on steroids here, because there’s just nothing you can relate it to in your normal life. It’s the beauty of nature at her most pristine and untouched. It’s how microscopic humans are in time and space. How important science is that nations will share Antarctica peacefully just to understand and protect it. How many fascinating people you meet on board and how invigorating it is to live in the moment.
Nothing you expect will match up to what it’s actually like.