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In the Antarctic

On Petermann Island, Antarctic

Specially abled – An eight dollar squish – Penguins! – Dali landscapes.  (Map this!)

It takes a special person to go to Antarctica. To get on a converted Navy ship that takes you through waters so rough that you can barely stand up and lurches so violently that you pray to the God you don’t believe in to have mercy. Mercy that the steak and salmon that you had for dinner in the evening won’t come up in thick partially digested chunks and that the pills you doped up on will keep you comatose till its over. In that sense ‘special’ starts to resemble the politically correct description ‘specially abled’. But our fellow passengers were quite delightful and turned out be a part of the charm of Antarctica, better by far than any other companions we have had on our other previous packaged holidays.

 


You can also read An Antarctic Dream – The White Continent (2/2), part two of this series


 

Since we shelled out enough moolah to finance an entire Bangladeshi village for a year just for a self indulgent cruise we had very high expectations. Every time I donned my company issue rubber boots and stepped out onto the mud each squish said, “You paid like $8 for this squish, so make it count.”

Antarctica, the White Continent

If you have the bandwidth, I would highly recommend the high resolution version with larger pictures.

Ask anyone in America about an image of Antarctica and you’ll most likely get a response like “I’ve never been to that country.” Okay, but the second most common will be “Antarctica – that’s where you see penguins!”. And there are a lot of penguins in Antarctica. Just as the smell of America is coolant and rubber, the smell of Antarctica is of penguin shit. You smell them WAAAY before you see them. They smell bad but are very cute! Maybe because they are bipedal like us or maybe because they appear so clumsy and vulnerable on land we tend to imbue them with human qualities. Their cries are reminiscent of the cries of the Bangladeshi villagers you didn’t help and took this trip instead.

 


For an unvarnished account see my unedited trip log. Contains profanity, not suitable for children.


 

The landscapes in Antarctica are vast, dramatic, and breath-takingly beautiful. Locked in the grip of ice are tall mountains and towering cliffs. Glaciers with the bluest of blue ice spill into the ocean, creating icebergs sculpted into shapes even Dali could not conceive. The pull of the white continent is so strong that despite the sharp tang of Penguin and the stomach churning seas we will return to explore more of it.

15 Responses to “An Antarctic Dream – The White Continent (1/2)”

  1. madhuri says:

    Liked the pictures. The penguins look so tiny and cute!

  2. Pramod taskar says:

    Glad to know that you are back safely from Antarctica. It seems like quite an adventure. I was not able to open the pictures. So, no comments on those. How was Madhuri able to see the pictures? How are you both feeling after that rough ride on the ship?
    Let us know your next plans.
    Aai

  3. Fred says:

    Cute birds!

  4. Neena says:

    Hello Aai,
    I do not know why you cannot see the pictures. Have you been able to see our other slideshows in the past? We haven’t changed anything.
    Maybe you can try from another computer?

  5. Luis says:

    Great post. I really enjoyed the unedited trip-log. The cursing in the first post made you sound like the stereotypical sailor…
    The photos are beautiful, your best album so far.

  6. Neena says:

    Thanks Luis! It is hard not to take good pictures in Antarctica!

  7. Marco says:

    Hi Shreesh and Neena:
    Your first few lines are so intense that it sounds as you were heading to hell.
    However, luckily for everyone on board you were taken care of.
    Have a huge hug.
    Marco

  8. Neena says:

    Hello Doctor Marco,
    Good to hear from you. Are you back home safe? Will you take another commission like this?

  9. Suhasini Taskar says:

    We rebooted the computer and I was able to see all wonderful pictures. I never knew that there are so many varieties of penguins that live in Antarctica. Some of the closeups are extremely beautiful. How were you able to take these pictures when the ship was rocking so vigorously as you had mentioned?
    Where are to heading to next?
    Aai.

  10. Neena says:

    Hello Aai,
    Those pictures were taken on land. Just like the Galapagos, once you get to the Antarctic, there are wet landings everyday on various islands.
    We are now headed to Buenos Aires via the east coast of Argentina, from where we will be shipping the car back to San Francisco.

  11. Shreesh says:

    Hi Marco,

    The crew on the ship were awesome! Extremely responsive to anything we asked. I particularly liked the doctor – kind, friendly, and handsome! :)

  12. Suhasini Taskar says:

    Thanks for the update. How long will you take to get to Buenos Aires? Will you be flying back to San Francisco from there? How is your health after rough ride to Antarctica? It seems that your photographic equipment is holding up pretty good.

    Aai

  13. Ada says:

    Finally got a chance to read the more detailed blog entry. So cool! So how did Neena do after the first day of seasickness? Loved the pics and expletives, can’t wait to hear more when you return.

  14. Neena says:

    Hello Aai,
    We expect to be in Buenos Aires in the first week of April, then look into shipping the car before flying back to the US. We were totally fine after we got off the boat, although a friend of ours got land sickness.

  15. Neena says:

    Hello Ada,
    All days of the Drake passage I pretty much stayed in our cabin flat on the bed and watched TV. Our cabin had 3 big windows, so this was not so bad. Also, I didn’t get seasick when I was lying down.
    Once we got to the Antarctic, the waters were pretty calm, no problems there. I was laid up again on the way back, I didn’t want to take a chance!

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