As I took my first step outside of the airport in Ushuaia, my lungs filled with the refreshing and intoxicating air of the region. It was at first breath that I fell in love with the city at the end of world. On embarkation day, I spent the morning exploring Tierra del Fuego National Park. This was an expected highlight of my trip—the contrast of the lush forest and mountains against the lively lakes and rivers was a beautiful way to kick off the trip.
My next adventure lay ahead—the Drake Passage—and it was here that the unimaginable happened! With calm waters and a cloudless sky, the expedition team loaded us into Zodiacs so we could closely observe a few playful humpback whales within this vast open waterway. This moment was the first of many where we felt the true spirit of being an explorer!
The unbelievable moments didn’t stop there, day after day I was caught standing in awe. In Ciera Cove we cruised through an impressive array of enchanting icebergs. The endless shades of blue, crackling sounds from the ice, and seals catching a rest made for a captivating ride.
Then it was off to Paradise Bay where I sat for hours amongst the large colony of spirited Gentoo penguins. They waddled within a foot of us proudly holding the perfect rock to bring back to their nest. On top of being welcomed by these amazing hosts, we feasted our eyes on an immaculate glacial backdrop, patiently waiting for the exhilarating moment of a calving glacier.
My penguin-filled morning was contrasted by a serene evening spent camping on a pristine island with a 360-degree view of dramatic mountain peaks and a sun-kissed sky. In the calm of the morning as we rode back to the ship, a humpback whale surfaced right next to our Zodiac! We collectively gasped in awe, the wave of excitement we felt was the morning wake-up call for the ship.
While these stories are unique to my experience, there are countless awe-inspiring tales from everyone who visits this region. Being in Antarctica is a humbling experience. Witnessing a raw, untouched, and wild environment is something to strive for in this one precious life we have.
Antarctica is a polar paradise and every moment far exceeded my wildest dreams!