From the moment you set foot on your Antarctic expedition cruise, it’s very clear that you are in the wildest of frontiers. Next thing you know, you’re zipping through the icy waters towards shore on an inflatable Zodiac dinghy. This is exploring on the edge.
The weather here can change in an instant, and often does. Guides are in constant radio contact with the ship and all are effectively on weather watch to keep everyone safe. That said, on a good day the sun can surprise you – and we know just the place to show off Antarctica at its best.
Paradise Bay is the perfect spot. As you come ashore, the guides might offer you a glass of champagne in the sunshine. You are surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains of rock, snow and ice. Set off on a short trek uphill, keeping your eyes peeled for small avalanches from the surrounding snow and ice. If you’re lucky, from this vantage point you may even spot humpback whales spouting great fountains of water into the air. It’s an immense privilege to view such a mammoth performance of nature.
If the sun is still shining, the air temperature can rise. In this case, the ultimate finale to your day out just might be possible. “Take off your parkas and follow me”, says one of your guides. Placing his jacket on the floor, he then shows you how to make a sledge before descending down the hill.
Anyone who visits Antarctica will have life-affirming moments like this. Whether it’s just the sheer beauty of the scenery, or being face to face with penguins in their own environment. Space tourism is still some time away, surely for now Antarctica is the ultimate and perhaps the most rewarding challenge.