84 Photos

Antarctica - pure awe for 19 days...

Awe -- "an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like." Yep, that sums up my ~3 weeks in and around Antarctica. Always at the top of my must-do list, I decided to stop talking about it and start living it! The following journal recounts my incredible journey. I hope it inspires you to take that leap!

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My bunkmates - from Germany, Norway and Netherlands
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
Argentina, a beautiful land on its own. We disembarked the ship fairly early, then had some teary goodbyes on the dock, beginning our very long journey home to our various ports of call. I had the …
Our final sunset as we leave for Drake's Passage
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
After endless sea for hours upon hours, Cape Hoorn was a welcome sight. We sailed the entire day which ended in a fun evening ceremony thanking the captain for his safe leadership, and our tour …
The might Ortelius which kept us safe throughout
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
The infamous Drake Passage... we slept late after our crazy last few days, and what was disappointing to me, the sea was quite calm. I was ready to rock at least as much as our trip down, but it was …
Whale carcass, Port Lockroy
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
We started the morning early at sunrise with a spectacular still sea with mountains of the Lemaire Channel reflecting their beauty. It's quite odd, you constantly feel like you're headed in a …
Leopard Seal
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
Wow! We started the morning in what would be our coldest adventure - a couple hours in the snow on the zodiacs... just a thin piece of rubber between you and the icy depths! That said, this might …
Gentoo Penguin feet
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
Our day started with a beautiful zodiac cruise around some unbelievable icebergs. The hues of blue are just spectacular! We landed on Paulet Island where several groups of juvenile Adelie Penguins …
Typical view from our room porthole while heading South
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
Finally, the doors were opened and we were allowed back on deck. It was freezing but the fresh air was fantastic! We spotted our first tabular icebergs and endless pack ice. Our sturdy ship just …
Humpback whale dive
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
Generally speaking, today was similar to my entry for February 14, but on this sea day, we also saw our first whales! They were difficult to see in the weather and being a bit from the ship, but it …
Layers of paint on old ship
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
The first of three consecutive days at sea, Valentine's Day was quite uneventful. I found the severe rolling of the ship to be soothing and took many naps on our sea days. It was just so cozy! …
Elephant Seals in Grytviken
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
In the morning we took the zodiacs to Gold Harbour where huge elephant seal males grunted and sneezed and fought each other for the nearby females. They were molting as well with shaggy bits of fur …
Magellanic Penguin
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
On this morning the weather had turned again and was quite rainy. We still went ashore at Whistle Cove where evidence of reindeer lingered and a wide variety of wildlife fought the weather. Some …
Albatross
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
We must have done something right in our lives up until this moment, as all the collective karma on the boat merged and the skies parted in just the right way as we did a sunrise 6:00am landing at …
King Penguin and chick
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
Finally, a landing on South Georgia! It was a rainy day, but a mystical dreamy kind of rain... we felt like explorers trying to find land through the fog all morning. Finally there were shadows, and …
Giant Petrel
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
Today our fabulous tour leader, Rolf Stange, taught us about the rules and regulations on and around South Georgia. The rodent eradication project was particularly fascinating (additional detail -- …
Cormorant
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
We departed the Falklands and headed for legendary South Georgia. Our birders emerged from the crowd fairly quickly, we had 3, who spent endless hours trying to identify if there was a dot on that …
One of many navigational map photos I took along the way
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
The winds calmed and we had our first zodiac boarding experience. I felt surefooted throughout, but was more concerned about sea spray on the camera equipment. That over-paranoia eased as the days …
Commerson Dolphins
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
So..... our first landing at Carcass Island was planned, excitement was in the air, as was the wind, unfortunately. The crew sent out a test zodiac and they determined, correctly, that landing was …
Sunset our first night at sea
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
Day 2 was spent at sea, getting adjusted to the rolling boat and enjoying the excitement of each new bird species flying overhead. The zoom lenses were everywhere, with panicky blurry shots in the …
Setting off towards the Falkland Islands on Ortelius
Author
K. Peyton McCollum
After several days of travel adventures from the US, including a major plane delay mishap, I finally arrived in Ushuaia and prepared to board my home for the next 18 days, the Ortelius. The stress of …

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