For the past several weeks, I’ve written about little else other than my Silversea Expeditions voyage to Antarctica. This week, I am including one more inspirational photo from what will go down as one of the best trips during my 56 years on planet earth.
It was a sunny day when I snapped the photo from a zodiac, and the ice, sculpted by nature, was simply stunning. In all, I framed more than 1,000 photographs in my viewfinder. Of those, I would print and hang at least 100, if I had a wall to hold them all.
I also penned, digitally of course, more than 17,000 words, not including personal notes to friends and family — and posts on Facebook, like the one below.
If I could recommend that you put one cruise on your list for 2014 it would be Antarctica. I can understand why you may be reluctant.
- It’s costly. More than two dozen vessels operate in Antarctica. Depending on the company you choose to cruise with, you can expect to spend from $7,500 to $10,000 or more per person, not including air.
- It’s cold. Wrong. Chicago is cold. -22F on Tuesday. My hometown, Asheville, North Carolina, is cold. -1F on Tuesday. My other home, Helsingborg, Sweden, is pushing 43F today. Antarctica hovered around the freezing mark during most of my voyage, 32F, although one day was so warm that I had to shed my parka. Antarctica should run a campaign inviting Chicagoans who want to escape the cold.
- It takes courage. I admit to being a bit nervous about crossing the Drake Passage, a nearly 600-mile (1000-kilometer) transit across the world’s most notorious stretch of sea. Wave heights exceeding 30 feet (10 meters) and winds of 35 knots or more are not uncommon. The combination of the two weather extremes can make for a rough ride during the two-day transit across the dreaded Drake. For the queasy, some companies give their guests the option of flying over the passage, not a bad idea if you are prone to motion sickness. I chose to cruise across. Fortunately, wave heights reached only 15 feet (5 meters) during the first morning of our transit before receding to a more tolerable 9 feet (3 meters). Read The Race To Beat The Storm Through The Drake Passage
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No matter how high the cost or how low the mercury dips or how you choose to cross the Drake, get yourself to Antarctica to experience the world’s largest and most pristine wilderness area. Doing so may change your life. At 56 years old, the only life change I experience is whether to have red wine or white wine with dinner each evening (I usually go for red). Seriously, no matter what your age, you will not come away from Antarctica unaffected by what you have seen and experienced.
In the coming weeks, I’ll have a super-sized photo slideshow of my Antarctica voyage and a video of what we experienced during our time on the White Continent. I traveled to Antarctica with talented Vancouver-based videographer Chris Stanley, pictured with me in the “selfie” (or would that be an “us-ie?”) below on our charter flight to Ushuaia, where we began our Antarctic voyage on Silver Explorer.
If you haven’t taken the time to do so, find yourself a quiet and comfortable place, and read (or at least browse) the posts at the links below, preferably in chronological order. I think you’ll find the photographs — and hopefully the narrative — to be inspiring.
Nothing would make me happier, professionally speaking, than to enlist you as an ambassador of Antarctica. It is a wilderness worth preserving, and the more ambassadors, the better.
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An avid traveler and an award-winning journalist, Ralph Grizzle produces articles, video and photos that are inspiring and informative, personal and passionate. A journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ralph has specialized in travel writing for more than two decades. To read more cruise and port reviews by Ralph Grizzle, visit his website at www.avidcruiser.com