The Wandsworth Demons
Antarctica Trip
Sam
Overview

Well, I went. I donít think anyone who met me over the last few years doubted Iíd make it as I was pretty determined to go. Or maybe they did, who knows!

Having met a few people who had been to Antarctica during my South America travels in 2005 I had my heart set on the trip, and in January 07 spent ten days on the Lyubov Orlova out of Ushuaia in southern Argentina.

Iíll leave more details of the practicalities to another section. For now Iíll sum it up by saying it was definitely the greatest trip Iíve ever taken. I suppose that was to be expected in many ways, but it managed to exceed expectations in so many ways that even I was surprised.

Firstly the ship and crew were amazing. It is expensive and you do get treated very well. The ship is very comfortable and the cabins great, even the cheaper lower deck ones! The communal areas were varied and catered for everyone, although I specialised in the bar section. The library and aft lounge were also very comfortable. The mess/restaurant was amazing. The meals which were prepared could not have been better, and it was staggering considering how far we were from civilisation of any kind. And the staff were mainly Russian, and there were a few cuties amongst them.

The expedition crew, as opposed to the shipís staff, comprised the tour leaders, an ornithologist, geologist, historian, the doc, his wife the morale officer, and a few other wildlife experts, like Jamie the krill lover. They worked hard to ensure we saw as much as possible, and knew what we were seeing. It barely seemed like working they all seemed to enjoy it so much.

Antarctica itself is as unbelievable as you might expect. No great surprises in that we saw a lot of ice, glaciers, sea creatures, and birds, which of course included about seven zillion penguins. I went on about them all in my daily diaries, so I wonít repeat myself here. I will say the following though:

Antarctica is big, and there isnít much there. We sailed south along its peninusla for about three days and saw a lot of coastline. Though repetitive in its ice covered mountains, rocky outcrops, occasional beaches, endless glaciers, and teeming wildlife, the staggering realisation that behind it all was just so much more of the same. We only saw about half of the peninsula, so a tiny amount, as we only saw what you could see from the sea. And that was huge. Beyond belief. The knowledge that there is so much more beyond was hard to comprehend but if you got a decent glimpse of the fact in your mind, well it was belittling.

And the best thing is that it is covered in penguins. It must be impossible not to love the critters. All that snow and ice might, for all its beauty, not be enough to enthral anyone but the most avid adventurer. And the other bird sightings and occasional whale and seal or two were great. But it was the penguins which captivated us, and reflecting on it, it is them that I miss the most.

Iíll go back.



A Quick Note About This Page

There is a lot of text on the page so each part is divided up into sections and they are all over there on the right, in case you missed them. I've matched up the photo galleries where they exist with each day, or with the relevant topic.



Akos and the Albatrosses

Our ornithologist was a crazy Hungarian called Akos Hivekovics. He is helping with the Save The Albatross campaign and has donated his pictures to the campaign in the form of a book which you can buy with the proceeds going to an albatross charity. I've ordered one! You have until April 15.

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