"Jane's Antarctica Page [with Photography Tips]" Antarctica by leigh767
Antarctica Travel Guide: 1,150 reviews and 2,668 photos
... there is no telling how far we will go
"One thing about trains-- it doesn't really matter where they're going. What matters is deciding to get on board." -- The Polar Express
Ideas are sneaky little things. They start in a whisper, prickling your ears like an innocent dandelion. But before long, they take on a life of their own, and the sheer possibilities from that one seemingly innocuous suggestion spread like a wildfire in the mind's eye. Soon, you are planning and plotting the next big adventure as if it would really happen. The next thing you know, you are on a ship heading due south with nothing but carry-on luggage.
My trip to Antarctica began very much like that. Visiting The Ice was always at the back of my mind-- but as is the case for so many people it was nothing but a little fantasy, just crazy enough to keep myself sane, to keep life interesting, to keep the options open, you know? Then, one day, I came across a traveller's website about her to Antarctica. The pictures weren't big, and the selection of photos very limited. But she spoke of the land and of its ethereal beauty, of the icebergs that were bluer than the most electric blue. She spoke of the timeless of the world down there, of how the rest of the world simply faded away between the blue and the white.
Then I walked out of my dorm room and plopped one of my most well-travelled and open-minded friends down on a couch. "Tell me, Ben, on a scale of 1 to 10 how adventurous do you consider yourself to be?"
* * *
And so what began as an idle weekend surfing online ended with my packing bags, camera, soul and all to head to the last frontier on Earth, Antarctica. Though it would have been nice to simply report that the rest of the world did indeed fade away as Sharrie had promised, I think I owe it to you, my dear readers, to tell the truth: the rest of the world did not fade away down in Antarctica and if anything, had become more vivid in my eyes.
It is the strangest thing, but at the ends of the Earth bonds and friendships blossomed between people who may otherwise have never met in life. We were a random collection of passengers from 15 countries, united only by our sense of adventure and desire to see the White Continent Every person has a story of why and how they are here, and every story is as fascinating as the next.
A family from Mexico had driven all the way from Mexico City to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world to board the Orlova. An American woman had lost a loved one several years ago, and had been devastated. This is her first solo trip since her loss. Another deceptively young woman is in fact 39 years-old. She chose to spend her 40th birthday onboard with us, visiting her seventh and last continent. A newly wed Belgian couple is here on their honeymoon, except the wife had no idea she was going to Antarctica because it was a surprise gift from her husband. She did not find out until she saw the ship.
One night, sitting in the ship library as the Orlova rolled on in the dim light of the twilight hour, Luis told me of his family's road trip from Mexico all the way to Alaska. He spoke of the Aurora Borealis that streamed from the heavens overhead, and of another couple's cycling trip that took them from Fairbanks, Alaska to Ushuaia. It had "only" taken them a couple of months to get from the northern most tip of North America to the southern most tip of South America. And to think that my Nile cycling trip was epic. As they say, there is always a higher mountain to scale.
The world is a large and endless place, and I understood this most clearly onboard the Orlova, listening to the tales of fellow travellers and to the tales of others they had met along the way. Somehow, in floating between the glacial peaks of Antarctica I had also come to understand the strength of the human spirit.
*An extract from my Antarctica travel blog here.
I travelled to Antarctica in Jan 2009 on board the MV Orlova with Quark Expeditions. Since every cruise company has its own quirks, my Antarctica tips and page here will no doubt reflect the trip that the Quark staff had put together. You may have a different experience with another company, but regardless who you go with, it will doubtless be a memorable and fantastic journey.
Antarctica is, as you may have heard, a stunning vista of beauty in every direction you turn. There are some fantastic pages out there by other VTers so I'm going to focus on an aspect of Antarctic travel that is less commonly discussed: how to maximize the use of your camera while there and what type of equipment to bring if you do indeed plan to lug a DSLR over.
Hope you enjoy my Antarctica photography tips and images!
- Pros:Worth the queen's ransom that you pay for the trip.
- Cons:The Drake Passage always claims its victims. Bring seasick pills.
- In a nutshell:Once is not enough.
I travelled onboard the MV Lyubov Orlova, which is operated by the fantastic Quark Expeditions. It's a 110-person ship,... more travel advice
This iceberg is so beautiful I think it deserves its own tip! The legendary iceberg arches are stunning in photos but... more travel advice
leigh767's Related Pages
Antarctica Travel Guide
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