travel to Antarctica, Antarctica

Travel to Antarctica: An Unforgettable Journey of Discovery

Growing up in Rwanda, East Africa, travel in Antarctica seemed like a distant dream. It was a fantasy each time I looked at the icy continent on a map at home. However, this dream started becoming real when I began traveling for work. Additionally, I got immersed in documentaries about modern journeys to the 7th Continent.

In late 2015, my own Antarctic adventure planning began. The process was like gearing up for a trip to another planet. Firstly, I delved into extensive research. Then, meticulous planning and booking followed. The thrill of preparing for a trip over a year in advance was immense. Also, picking the right gear became an adventure of its own.

I chose an expedition called ‘Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle’, set for mid-January 2017. Initially, our journey would start in Buenos Aires, then move on to Ushuaia, Argentina. From there, we would embark on our polar cruise ship. The ten-day voyage was set to take us from Ushuaia, across the Drake Passage, to the majestic Antarctic Peninsula. Next, we would circle the Antarctic Circle before making our way back to Ushuaia.

This expedition was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream. It was a journey to a place that had long captured my imagination. Now, join me as I share the tales of this extraordinary expedition to Antarctica!

Ushuaia: The city at the end of the earth

travel to Antarctica,

Our much-awaited travel to Antarctica began in vibrant Buenos Aires. Initially, we delved into the details of our upcoming trip. Next, I eagerly met my shipmates from across the globe, all excited for the same journey.

Following this, we took a flight to Ushuaia, the southernmost fishing town and a gateway for trips to Antarctica. The flight into this quaint town, nestled at the continent’s edge, was magical. Known as ‘la ciudad del fin del mundo’ (the city at the end of the earth), its charm captivated us. Strolling down its main street, we were surrounded by majestic, snow-capped mountains and the stunning Beagle Channel.

As we walked, our anticipation for the travel in Antarctica grew, setting the stage for an unforgettable adventure.

Near the port, we saw our polar ship for the first time. It would soon be our home at sea.

At 4 pm, we got on the ship. The Quark Expedition and ship team welcomed us we boarded with big smiles. It felt like a dream, seeing the ship and meeting new people. We all felt excited about our big adventure.

Crossing the Beagle Channel

Then, at 6 pm, we started our journey. The ship’s horn sounded loud as we left the busy world.

We were off, sailing into the beautiful sunset. “Antarctica, here we come!” I thought. I stood at the front of the ship, watching the sun go down over the Beagle Channel. It was a pretty sight.

Our first night ended with a special dinner. We met the expedition and hospitality team. They were the people who would take care of us on our trip. It was a nice start to our adventure.

Drake's Passage

Our first three days traveling to Antarctica on the ship were like a fun school trip. We wandered from one area to another, much like moving between classes. Each talk, from history to marine biology, gave us a sneak peek into our Antarctic journey. During breaks, we often strolled to the deck.

There, the sight of albatrosses soaring over the ship was stunning. I would watch in awe as one glided over the sea, its wings tracing lines on the water like a surfer. Next, it would rise, loop in patterns, then swoop down again, all without flapping its wings. Watching this, I marvelled at the wonders of nature on our Antarctic adventure.

Life on the ship was a constant adventure. The sway of the boat, caused by huge ocean waves, kept us moving like we were dancing salsa. Waking up early each morning was challenging but thrilling. We were eager to see the first icebergs after a night of tossing and turning.

Crossing the Circle: 66º 33’ S / 067º 21’ W

I had experienced snow and ice during my first winter in Europe. But, that did nothing to prepare me for the overwhelming sight of icebergs. They were huge, sharp like sword edges, and sometimes twice our boat’s size. Next to them, I felt tiny and unimportant.

Standing on the deck, I tried to grasp my feelings about being in Antarctica. The mix of mountains and sea was otherworldly. Everything seemed dangerous – the freezing air, the fierce winds, and the icy sea. I would often wonder, “Is this real? Am I really here?” But then, the biting cold wind would snap me back to reality.

In the following days of our Antarctic travel, we navigated through different channels and islands. Each day brought a new adventure. First, we visited Andersen Island and saw our initial rockery. Next, we stopped at Port Lockroy, where we uniquely posted letters.

At Danco Island, the sight of penguins playfully sliding down hills delighted us. Yet, the highlight was Aitcho Island. There, we had an incredible encounter with a group of gentoo chicks. This experience was truly unforgettable!

Attending the lectures on Antarctica’s history was a highlight of my trip. The daily sessions enriched our experience significantly. Knowledgeable experts from various fields divulged fascinating details.

The day trips following these enlightening talks were my favorite part. I particularly enjoyed the photography advice, discovering Antarctica’s historical background, and learning intriguing facts about penguins.

Exciting Activities During My Travel to Antarctica: An Unforgettable Adventure

During my ten-day Antarctic expedition, every day was filled with incredible adventures! I experienced standup paddleboarding, sea kayaking, and even braved the exhilarating polar plunge.

Every activity brought its own unique thrill to the journey. If you’re gearing up for your own Antarctic voyage, I highly recommend exploring all the optional activities offered.

Sharing this amazing adventure with you has been fantastic. I’m eager to hear about your own experiences when you travel to Antarctica!

As my unforgettable journey to Antarctica comes to a close, I reflect on the extraordinary experiences I’ve had. From the mesmerizing icebergs to the unique wildlife encounters, each moment has been a testament to the incredible beauty and allure of the 7th Continent. This voyage, more than just a trip, has been an adventure of a lifetime, deeply enriching my understanding of our planet’s southernmost reaches.

For anyone dreaming of an Antarctic expedition, I wholeheartedly encourage you to take the leap. The memories and insights gained from traveling in Antarctica are unparalleled. Whether it’s the thrill of kayaking beside ice formations or the awe of witnessing a colony of penguins, these experiences are transformative.

Thank you for following along on my journey through the icy, pristine wilderness of Antarctica. May your own travels to this remarkable part of the world bring you as much joy and wonder as they have brought to me.

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