Ships can be such wondrous worlds. They cross the wildest of seas and the furthest of horizons, bringing the world to us while we sit snuggly on the library sofa indulging in light-hearted chit chat. But even as we carry on with our seafaring adventures, there is this very definitive amount of space to call home for a week or two.
On a ship, travellers bond in ways that humans typically cannot when there are roads and schedules and Blackberries between us. Before you know it, everyone becomes your makeshift family. I could casually catch the eye of a stranger across the ship deck and, though I may not know your name, we are quite literally “in the same boat” and therefore a brethren in our own right.
We share a simple smile and the moment glides by quietly, almost uneventfully. But the thing is, that smile is eventful. For travellers to the Antarctic in particular, that smile is the quiet acknowledgement of our common awe of this land, a simple salute to the miracles we witness everyday. “Isn’t this quite an adventure we are having here?”, the smile almost seems to say.
Panorama of the Gerlache Straight. Click for full view.
I was knee-deep in a game of chess with John today in the library when Luis popped by. “There are some beautiful mountains out there. You should take your camera and go take a look,” he tells us. Then, breaking Chess Rule #1, I leave in the middle of the game after apologizing to John. “I’ll be back soon,” I promise. Just after I go see a bit more of Antarctica.
I don’t blame John for not heading out; with strong headwinds and a sun that is all too merciless on cloudless days like this, it takes a brave and somewhat wreckless soul to dare battle with the elements outdoors. Indeed, once I step on deck the UV rays begin their relentless attack like invisible pins and needles. The sunglasses can only do so much.
Alas, Antarctica is a sly one; she hides her beauty far from the realms of the six continents, and will only let you in on the Secret if you are willing to make the journey to see her. The moments and the miracles are there, but you have to endure the elements to discover them. And so, standing at the bow on the highest deck, I brave the raw, bitter cold and snap away.
And it is all worth it.