Journey to the Antarctic Circle
Written by Anna Atkinson
“Don’t open the door” shouted the Captain, as I pulled on the solid iron handle. I peered outside and saw snow furiously flying horizontally past the window. I could hear the fierce winds howling, adding to the sound of the blizzard outside. Not quite the picture postcard blue skies I’d imagined.
Too cold to go on to our second landing, the Captain and crew decided this was the perfect day to ‘test the boat’ and to see how far south we could go, and really push it towards the Antarctic Circle. I wasn’t convinced and would have settled for a lecture on penguins or explorers – but unfortunately I was in the minority.
The further south we went, the blacker the water became. The sea turned to an icy porridge and I could hear it crunching along the sides of the boat. I could see penguins and seals sitting on top of the ice, which moved in time with the waves. The rolling pack ice and the misty whiteness all around was doing nothing to help me find my sea legs.
The weather and ever-thickening ice was determined to beat us and we weren’t making any progress. Forced to turn around, we headed back into the swirling waves of the open seas towards the calmer waters of this morning – thank goodness!
Like so many things, yesterday was amazing…in hindsight. The extreme weather, the eerie feeling of being detached from reality, the strange motion of the floating pack ice – all of this was a once in a lifetime experience that couldn’t happen anywhere but Antarctica.