"Countdown 2005 Atop The White Continent!" French Southern and Antarctic Lands by SharrieShaw
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 61 photos
this page is dedicated to both my parents.
Happy Anniversary, Dad & Mom!
Jan. 6, 2005.
As with many of my trips, the flight over Antarctica was merely an "accidental" find.
As you know, I was in Antarctica on the Radisson Seven Seas Cruise in mid-Jan. 2004. It was a trip of a lifetime! For a virtual tour, please visit my other Antarctica page.
Even after many months since the return, I was still checking out the white continent on the internet. I knew there were military flights to Antarctica, but I did wonder if there's any commercial ones heading there. So, one day in September 2004, I simply keyed in "Antarctica" on the search engine & viola, I found this site: AntarcticaFlights.com.au. Of course I was excited! & as soon as I looked at the prices, I signed up on the very day! It was cheap compared to the cruise (you can get on the flight for less than A$1000 but to really see something you have to pay a little more ;-)). As I had been to Antarctica before, I wasn't willing to pay too much for it. I opted for the Economy Standard window seat & was lucky enough to be upgraded to Economy Premium seat (that's a A$900 upgrade)!!! I didn't find that out until I boarded my flight on Christmas Eve in Sydney. Naturally, I was happy!
This flight was to be the icing on the cake! I had completed the 7-continents in a single year circuit upon landing in Melbourne, Australia on Christmas Day, 2004. It had been one amazing year! I began the year setting foot on Antarctica on Jan. 20, 2004 & completed my 7th continent landing within 7 years. & then I started venturing to all the continents again & was able to establish the record of 7-continents in a single year. It had been one awesome & unbelievable year!
Yet, returning to the white continent on a flight added another dimension to the record. That's to see the continent from very different perspective & completes the circle. Not to mention it's a new year's eve flight & being one of the very first to usher in the new year! & a very unique countdown! One that's in broad daylight! The sun never sets there in the summer!
By the way, you don't need a passport to get to Antarctica! Not on this flight.
It was very nice to have my passport stamped while in the British base Port Lockroy & the Polish base Arctowski. So, I don't really "need" that on this trip.
It all began with going directly to the domestic terminal in Sydney Airport & picking up boarding pass at Gate 7. There was a festive mood there since it's New Year's Eve. The flight on QF 2902 (that's on Qantas Boeing 747-400 aircraft) took off at 5 pm & returned on New Year Day at 6 am. There was also a jazz band that went aboard the flight with us. It's a chartered flight by Croydon Travel (http://www.antarcticaflights.com.au/). Since it's a round trip flight, everyone carried only whatever they need for the flight, most importantly the camera!
Our flight path was to be from Sydney towards the South Magnetic Pole (& you are advised to bring a compass so that you can see it spinning when one crosses it!), then Cape Hudson & Cape Washington.
This is a complete different side of the continent from where I had been to in January, 2004.
What did we see? No, no penguins since we were flying quite high. But snow, ice & mountains are common sights. Yet, they are mountains which will never be hiked or conquered by the human race, pure snow & ice that'll have no human's footsteps on. The very last frontier! To see that in person is quite something... & to be one of less than 200,000 in the history of mankind to have ever been to Antarctica is even more amazing. & to do it twice in a year, now... that's something worth living for!
I guess this is how I made my own little difference to have ever lived on this planet!
I'm no scientist, I'm no inventors or saints. But I've definitely been to this world & seen as much as I can; more so than I had ever imagined possible :-))) At the very least, I had seen more than all my ancestors had ;-)!
Is this my destiny in life?
We'll see... we'll see ;-)
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