Getting to Antarctica is no easy feat. First there's air travel to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world's southernmost city. From here specially designed cruise ships take passengers across the Drake Passage – the world's most turbulent waters – and finally you arrive in the surreal world of rock, ice and snow.
I traveled to Antarctica with One Ocean Expeditions on a small research vessel that takes on 125 passengers for a handful of excursions every summer from November to March.
Traveling along the northern edge of Antarctica offers all manner of ever-changing scenery. Great mountains and glaciers reflect the summer sunlight against a backdrop of crystal blue skies.
Seals cruise by on ice flows and penguins swim past the ship as it cruises the still waters.
Twice a day passengers take small inflatable Zodiacs out on expeditions looking for whales and other marine life and often visit islands.
On one excursion to Half Moon Island, I sat on the beach and photographed Chinstrap and Genntoo penguins and seals. I sat very still and was eventually surrounded by the curious animals.
After five days of exploring, the ship headed north toward Argentina. I stood on deck and took a few more photographs before we entered the Drake Passage for the two-day journey back to South America.
For me this truly was a trip of a lifetime.
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