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Journeys : April May 2009
Every day we look in awe at sharp- peaked, ice-clenched mountains and huge, wrinkled glaciers sliding slowly to the sea. Albatrosses swoop above the waves, penguins bounce through the icy water and minke and humpback whales frolic around our ship. On the icy coast, Adelie penguins balance on a slippery slope – they’re tough and strong, courageous and feisty, sometimes clumsy and comical. We learn so much – especially the importance of clean oceans to enable wildlife to survive above and below the surface. Every Zodiac landing is an adventure as we go ashore on islands few have been before. Down here, the weather changes fast – our morning Zodiac landing at Paulet Island is in sunshine, then as we land after lunch at Browns Bluff, there’s snow and sleet. We enjoy the wonderful spectacle of a single penguin, soon followed by the whole flock, rushing into the sea to emerge on an iceberg. Giant petrels are graceful scavengers, wheeling on the wind. I stand in awe of an elephant seal, the largest of all the animals we’ve seen – from close-up, I watch as it scratches itself with nails inside a flipper – an amazingly gentle action considering it weighs over four tonnes. We are supposed to keep a respectable five-metre distance from the wildlife but they don’t know the rules and come right up to us! This is a place like no other I have ever been, in a lifetime of travelling. Only 30,000 people a year experience Antarctic cruising. But on this wonderful ship, I’m with just 114 passengers from 27 nations. We’ve all come to see nature at its wildest – untameable and invincible. Antarctica is the highest, driest, windiest, coldest, cleanest, most isolated and most peaceful continent on earth. It is a place of wilderness, of enormous size and rare beauty. It is the only place on Earth that doesn’t belong to any one nation. This is Antarctica, where every day is an unforgettable adventure. Ask your local RACT Travelworld consultant about the journeys available for you to experience Antarctica. April / May 09 37
June July 2009
June July 2008