Sure, there were specific things that happened and that remain. Like drinking vodka in the southernmost pub of the world, all while being celebrated by Ukrainian scientists because your countryman shot a goal that sent English soccer team home and Russians to the big stage. Or drinking Laphroaig on board UK military expedition boat, while chatting to National Geographic crew and Sebastien Magnen. Yes, that Sebastien Magnen.
But, more than anything else, Antarctica leaves a series of continuous and interlaced impressions in one’s mind, interchangeable puzzle pieces in the big picture of possibly the last pristine place on Earth.
Here are some of mine.
1. When I say that I sailed into Antarctica, it is actually more accurate to say that I sailed until reaching Antarctica. Once there, there are just too many icebergs to hoist the sails, as you need all the quick maneuvering ability you can get. In praxis, there is always a person on the bow, giving signals by raising or waiving arms, so that the helmsman knows – keep going, steer left or right, stop, back off.
2. If it looks cold, it’s because it is. Although the absolute temperatures were not in the absolute low, the humidity, boat movement and the wind added to it.
3. There were, however, many moments of absolute stillness and than it looked like this. January in Antarctica basically knows no night – this was about as dark as it would get.
4. The nature was just… incredible?
8. Our Santa Maria Australis fitting in perfectly
9. The wracks of our predecessors…
10. …were used to dock
11. All within the strangest ice forms.
12. As we maneuvered our way around…
13. …or through the ice. (I froze my butt off, hanging from the mast, waiting to get a shot like this)
14. There were penguins posing
15. And penguins playing. Seriously. We stopped next to this iceberg for like an hour, and little fellas were really climbing to the top, only to slide down right away, time after time
16. There were seals posing
17. And idiots posing with the seals, promoting their baseball teams
18. If, after a first glance, these mountains don’t seem huge, notice a big ship in the bottom left corner, readjust your scale, and try again