The Seventh Continent
Antarctica, the Falklands, and South Georgia
And then later that day, the moment we had all been waiting for: our landing at Brown Bluff, where we would first set foot on the continent on Antarctica! Almost two weeks into the trip at this point, it was really exciting to have just now reached this landmark, resulting in many photo ops and talk of the 'Seven Continent Club'. As might be imagined, the continent proper was mostly barren of vegetation, unlike the lush hillsides of the Falklands or South Georgia. We hiked up the hillside and took in the view with the knowledge that we had reached our ultimate destination. And, of course, we took in the penguins. Always the penguins.
Later that night our group celebrated with a surprise fake birthday dinner for me. As mentioned earlier, the trip itself was an extravagant present to myself for my 40th birthday, which was about a month away. My wonderful friends had planned this celebration for me well before the voyage and chose to hold it on the night we made landfall on Antarctica. And even though I thought it was curious that the staff - who apparently were in on it - had suddenly been wishing me a happy birthday all day, I NEVER caught on. Not until the moment that they sat me down at the table made up with special plates and an inflatable penguin, all carted all the way from the U.S. by my friends. As with all of the best celebrations, there was a tiara and a sash, and the staff provided a cake and hospitality bags. I even won the impromptu poker tournament up in the lounge that night: perhaps an unusual 'talent' for Miss America, but just about right for Miss World Traveler.