From Half Moon Island, Antartica
On Half Moon Island, I very nearly disgraced myself by tripping over a nursing Weddell Seal cub. After my near miss, I was more attentive on the walk over to the chinstraps. I burrowed down into the snow in order to capture a male in the heat of his passion.
It is worth noting that the crisp black and white cleanliness of this picture contrasts with the powerful smell of your average penguin colony.
From the upper deck, Antarctica
A barbecue in Antarctica? Utterly bonkers. Bonkers, but delicious. With the aroma of grilled meats in the air, we sat on the deck and watched the sun slip slowly away between two white mountains, throwing a pink glow across the snowy banks to the stern of the ship.
The fact we were, quite literally, wrapped up in gear for Antarctica just means that this alfresco dinner was a quite surreal, rather tasty end to another incredible day.
From Orne Harbour, Antarctica
The snow whipped around their red hoods, huddled together for warmth as they watched the chinstraps. The penguins were impervious to both them and the conditions. I continued my ascent towards the mountains looming through the mist.
Pausing, the wind struck me full in the face. I could no longer see the zodiacs at the landing site through the blizzard. I sucked at the whistling air and continued, feeling blessed. This was Antarctica.
From the Southern Ocean, Antarctica
I’m past the age where I need to prove my fortitude to my peers. But not past the age where I won’t rise to the provocation of, ‘I’ll do it if you do it.’
Thus I found myself on the beach in my boxers, toes curling in the volcanic sand. Seconds later, we ran into the Southern Ocean. How could water be this cold and not be ice?! Later, a lovely feeling of satisfaction warms me, as does the brandy my nemesis kindly buys me.
From Danco Island, Antarctica
I’m fairly sure William H Davies never set foot here. But the first lines of ‘Leisure’ could have been written with Antarctica in mind.
As I stood on the peak, gazing over the bay where our ship was moored among the icebergs, I felt more connected to the world around me than I ever had before. It made me feel hugely insignificant, yet at the same time imbued with a surge of joy that made me feel I could conquer worlds. I never wanted to leave.
From Drake Passage, Antarctica
I clutched the camera as the ship dipped into another trough between waves. We were in the library, and the books on the table were increasingly mobile. The expedition leader I was interviewing – an Antarctic legend – gripped the table, his knuckles turning white and his voice kept steady. What a professional.
Right up to the moment the Drake showed it holds no respect for anybody’s credentials, and sent his chair tumbling overbackwards.