As I stepped out to one of the lower decks of the ship a massive, cold gust of Antarctic wind hit my face. Yet when I made my way over to the railing and I saw Antartica for the first time the joy I felt warmed my soul and body. I watched in awe as I saw off in the distance massive sheets of ice and snow that seemingly plunged right into the frigid ocean. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and this was only the beginning of my journey around the Antarctic Peninsula.
As the ship sailed ever closer to land the full-scale of ice, glaciers and snow covered mountains became apparent. However, these unexpectedly massive features were not the only impressive geological structures to be seen as countless icebergs constantly surrounded the ship. These massive natural structures, both in and out of the water, made me realize that photos and films of this remote part of our planet did not give the continent justice.
Throughout my voyage around the Antarctic Peninsula, I continued to marvel at the snow covered landscapes from a high vantage point on the ship along with some new found companions, but then we noticed small creatures jumping in and out of the water. We quickly made our way down to the lower decks of the ship to get a better view of these mystery creatures. To our joy the creatures were Magellanic, chinstraps and gentoos penguins. The occasional fur seal also appeared in the frigid water. As a wildlife lovers we could not have been happier.
The majestic wildlife was not the only rarity that Antarctica offered as periodic snow storms gave all the passengers aboard another spectacle to experience. One such snow storm produced massive snowflakes; larger than I’ve observed before during my time living in the Midwest. Those who braved the upper deck experienced a flurry during the Antarctic summer.
Antarctica was with out a doubt deserving of a visit and unexpectedly only left me wanting to return. The magnificent animals and geological features of our southernmost continent had only been a thought or something I saw in a nature documentaries. To able to witness these wonderful this splendor with my own eyes and with such incredible people made for a truly unforgettable experience.