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Published: February 23rd 2014
If you find yourself asking the same question to yourself which is: why go to such a cold, damp, icy place when there are warm places to go? Why go there when Canada (and other Northern Hemisphere areas) have enough snow and ice to make you crazy especially during the long drawn out wintery spring that we sometimes can get, and that last snow fall in June just to remind us that we live in the north?
I went to Antarctica with no expectations. I knew the wildlife was going to be amazing. But what I did not realize that I was to learn about the most preserved, most prestine place on the planet. Where mountains are still being carved by hundreds of glaciers, where volcanoes are still reshaping the landscape. Where scientific study is still exploring the ecosystem. A no-man´s land, that is respectfully shared amongst the Antarctic Treaty´s countries for peace, science and preservation. Where military or exploiting interests have been banished. No one government governs this land. So there is no monopoly. Not like in the rainforested countries where the rainforest ecosystem is always a pawn in the game of money and politics.
Antarctica can be
harsh, and bleak. And one is at the mercy of such extreme weather. Then it can surprise you (if you wait 5 minutes the weather changes). Then it can give you the most spectacular colours, sunrises, and gift you with 10 Humback Whales, or a bird flying over your head, or a juvenille penguin who walks right up to you. It is the extreme contrast of this place that intrigues me.
Most people that I spoke with on the ship of 111 passengers, were well traveled. They had seen much of the planet in different ways. Some wanted to step onto the 7th continent. Some wanted to see penguins. Some wanted to see what the explorers saw and felt when they found land at the south end of the planet. Some wanted to debate the history books of such explorers. Did they not get enough recognition? Did they get too much recognition? Did the history books tell the real story?
And some, like me, wanted to step into the unknown. For to travel with no expectations, is to be open to the miraculous sights and experiences that lay before me. I had moments that took my breath away.
And most of them were when I was on the deck, alone, gazing at this strange world that lay before me. In moments like these, I would privately open my heart to the vision before me, and each time that mountain moved inside my heart. The tears would swell in my eyes as my left brain would struggle to put a label on why. There are no words, my spirit would say to me. Just feel the immensity and power of this place, that is all you need to do. Okay, I agreed. I will do just that. As I am paralysed with emotions, and no words will suffice. So I allow this feeling inside, this sense of awe to the n-th degree to penetrate my being. It will flow through me forever, this immensity, this intensity, this respect for the harshness and beauty.
I am silent and still but I am forever moved.
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