3 January 2011

The Mad Dash to the Peninsular!

We travelled through the Antarctic Sound to the western side of the peninsular and arrive at a point from where we had hoped to do a landing on the mainland.  JPEGS 2010 12 29 Antarctica

Unfortunately, we also seem to be in, ‘Iceberg Alley’.  The ship can only go so far and no further.  We are about 3 miles out from the peninsular and the weather is windy, which means the ice is moving quite a bit.

Graham makes  a suggestion.  If we are up for it, we can make a dash for JPEGS  2010 12 29 Antarctica-4the peninsular in the zodiacs.  It will be a longer, faster trip than any we have done previously.  It will also be wet and cold, but we will have a chance to get to the peninsular, have a look and then come straight back.  However, he cautions there will be no time for a landing as there is too much ice that is  moving around and we do need to get both the ship and the zodiacs out of this area quite fast.

Graham also announces that anyone who does not feel they are up for it should stay on board.  The gangway is wet and is being buffeted around by the wind.  From my knowledge, every passenger on board our ship, made the dash to the peninsular.  The group is an adventurous bunch and we didn’t come this far to stay behind now.

The trip is cold, wet and fast.  Beautiful blue icebergs, bigger than any I have seen before flash before my eyes.  We are weaving through a passageway that Graham and Flipper have navigated for us through the icebergs an the brash ice.  The rest of the zodiacs follow behind.  We are moving too fast for pictures so unfortunately, I have mostly memories of this unforgettable day. 

It felt like a scene from a James Bond movie.  We get there eventually, a little wet and cold but none the worse for wear.  When we get there, we find Flipper standing on a rock.  We are told, we will each be able to touch the rocks of the continent before we head back to ship.  Flipper helps manoeuvre our zodiac into place, then holds it while we each take our turn at touching the rock. 

DSC_7639 It is an amazing moment.  The snow is meters deep and comes right down to the shore line.  I smile for someone’s camera, as I touch the rocks of Antarctica.  What an amazing trip this has been.  We have to head back quickly, before the winds closes up the narrow gap through the ice, and we are marooned out here.  I reflect on this fabulous journey and realise that..

JPEGS  2010 30 Deception Island-62 “I touched Antarctica, and it touched me back”  Travelbug62

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