My last post about Antarctica is coming almost exactly a year after my trip. It seems like yesterday that I was shopping for winter clothing, dealing with the angst of leaving my students behind, and practically vibrating inside with excitement about crossing the “hardest” continent off my to bucket list. Looking back, my wife’s kind and lavish 50th birthday present changed me in ways I did not expect. I am so grateful for the experience.
I am grateful to:
- The support staff at Quark Expeditions for helping me plan the trip.
- The crew for keeping us all safe and making a special effort to keep us as comfortable as possible. Case in point: On the return home across the Drake, our Captain chose a route that took us behind a storm instead of heading straight through it.
- The interpretive staff. Like experienced camp counselors, they entertained and educated. I learned so much.
- My fellow passengers. It’s been almost a year, but I still have fond memories of hearing their stories from the four corner of the world.
- My cabin mates. As a snorer and rookie cruiser, I couldn’t have asked for more tolerant and helpful travel partners than James and Tariq.
- My loving wife for saying yes to my hair-brained idea. There was so much in the trip to cause her stress. Setting up the cruise involved the bank and paperwork that both of us had to sign; something that ranks right up there with getting a tooth filled for my wife. I was going to be off work without an income for half a year; there was sacrifice there. And lastly, in thirty years, we’ve been rarely apart for very long. Being left alone in our home with all its creaks and bumps in the night was not fun. And yet she gladly took on all of this for me out of love.
How did the trip change me? Well, the obvious teacher answer is that I have a new appreciation and understanding of the 7th continent and the early explorers who traveled there. My science unit on “Extreme Environments” will never be the same. Sadly for my bank account, I have also been bit by wanderlust like never before. There is nothing like successfully traveling half-way around the world to fill you with confidence and curiosity. But more than these, I’ve been changed in the same way anyone is when they encounter a beautiful and priceless museum piece – Antarctica was art for me. I came; I saw; it moved me. I know the trip is not for everyone, but for me it was pure brilliance wrapped in wonder. I am so glad I went.
The shots below are mostly from Half Moon Island and from our journey back across the Drake.
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