From the National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica
Feb 5, 2013 - National Geographic Explorer
Drake Passage, Antarctica
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” Thornton Wilder
We are in the Drake Passage in the awesome and wild Southern Ocean, crossing the between the Antarctic Peninsula and South America. We are grateful for our days in Antarctica. The ship (and therefore we too) physically pulled away from Antarctica last night, though when we shut our eyes we still see blue icebergs of all shapes and sizes, killer whales swimming beside the ship, and penguins walking, hopping, calling and porpoising. It is good that we have two days at sea. After such an extraordinary experience and magical place we need time to enjoy this dream before we see “civilization” again.
Today is a day of reflection. A day of watching the waves, and enjoying the albatross as they soar by to look at our ship, showing off their expert abilities to ride the southern winds. Oh and there are photos to sort… many, many photos to sort. We are also busy with some wonderful presentations onboard. Stefan Lundgren brought Antarctica to life in a new way with stories about his time working in Antarctica with a group from India to build a base. Mark Thiessen shared stories and photos of his work for National Geographic. Eduardo Shaw recounted the amazing feats of the Shackleton expedition. And our guest Alex Isern from the National Science Foundation told us about some of the research being conducted at the U.S. Stations in Antarctica.
If the quote above is true, then we have been at our most alive for the last six days. Our heads and hearts have been amazed, delighted and awed by treasures we have seen. Miles of separation will not take away the reality that we have been to one of the gems on the planet. It is a place that somewhat defies description. Not that we can’t describe it, but it is as hard to capture it all in words as it was in photos. Ask us anyway and we will try.