Thankfully the return journey across the Drake Passage was much kinder and fairly uneventful. Now we’d stopped, I think we were all surprised how tired we were from our adventures. The days had been jam-packed, and the two calm days on the way back to Ushuaia were perfect to sit back, relax and truly appreciate what we’d seen and experienced the last 5 days.
Amazing. Spectacular. Life-changing. etc. etc.
I’m not sure what ‘trip of a lifetime’ means. But both John and I agree, our trip to Antarctica was the most amazing experience we’ve ever had. In so many ways. And we’re not sure how anything else will ever compare.
Here is a bit of a summary from our trip.
Travelled – 1645 nautical miles.
Landings – 8 landings on the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctic Islands and the South Shetland Islands.
Boat Tours – 2 zodiac tours and 2 ship tours of various bays and channels.
Birds – Coromants, Skuas, Terns, Gulls and Shealthbills. And on the Drake we saw 3 kinds of Albatross including the Wandering Albatross.
Penguins – Thousands of Gentoos, 2 colonies of Adelie penguins and 1 colony of Chipstrap penguins.
Whales – Lots of Humpback and Minkes and one Fin Whale.
Seals – 3 Leopard Seals, one family of Crabeater Seals and lots of Antarctic Fur Seals.
Dolphins – Hourglass dolphins but sadly no Orcas.
And finally, more glaciers and icebergs than it’s possible to count.
We’ve said a lot about the wildlife and landscapes of Antarctica, but I wanted to finish on two final topics – people and tourism.
While our Antarctic adventure was all about the wildlife and landscapes, it wouldn’t have been the same without the fantastic people we shared the trip with. There were people from all over the world, all walks of life and all ages, but everyone had one thing in common – a desire to visit this unique part of the world (and had all paid a lot of money to do so).
And it made such a difference from other tours and travel we’ve done. We so often see people act selfishly or thoughtlessly – we’ve seen people graffiti on old town walls, feed the wildlife to get a good photo or go into areas it clearly says are preserved. Everyone on our tour had respect for where they were and acted accordingly. Not only that, but they were a great bunch of people to be stuck on a boat with for 10 days. We left not only with great memories but also with new friends.
Tourism in Antarctica.
There is a whole other post that could be written on sustainable travel and what kind of impact tourism is having in places like Antarctica.
Tourism is increasing every year, with 35,000 people expected to visit in the next season. Everyone in their lifetime should be able to experience Antarctica and see how pristine and beautiful it is, but what kind of place would it then become? It’s a question I don’t know the answer to, but something we’re thinking a lot about as we also look to visit Easter Island and the Galapagos on our trip.
Thank you so much for reading our Antarctica posts and we hope you’ve enjoyed sharing this experience with us.
Want to see more?
Video: Our friends Erin and Craig put together a great video. You can check it out here along with their blog posts from the trip.
Photos: Want to see photos from an amazing photographer? Claudio’s pictures from our trip are stunning.
Good-bye Antarctica – we hope to meet you again one day….
Our trip to Antarctica was with Antarpply Expeditions on the MV Ushuaia in March 2014. Review to come (but in short they were fantastic). Contact us if you have any questions.