As another Christmas draws closer I realise that it is almost a year since I travelled to Antarctica and fulfilled a life long goal of travelling to all seven continents. Last month I got to relive this experience when I was given two tickets for a free 3 course lunch at the Antarctic Experience, put on by National Geographic and a number of sponsors.
It was a cold, wet day even though it was the middle of Spring but I was determined to wake up early and make the trip to Darling Harbour. We were a little tired as we had been at Steve’s nieces 17th birthday the night before. Yet we were undeterred by the cold conditions, which seemed strangely fitting as we were celebrating all things Antarctica. We watched videos and heard lectures about the history, wildlife and adventure challenges in one of the remotest and least travelled places on earth. During lunch we were truly fortunate to listen to lectures from Don and Margie McIntyre – the couple who spent a year living in Antarctica; Ian Brown, who was a member of the first Australian party to walk to the South Pole, in 1997 and David Johnson, who was the founder of the Mawson’s Hut Foundation. We found it incredibly inspiring to be in the presence of explorers and adventures such as them and listened in awe as they gave us an inkling into what it must be like to have experienced such things. Don and Margie McIntyre’s had an incredible year-long stay, alone at Commonwealth Bay, in tiny Gadget Hut, which measured 2.4 x 3.6m. During the winter, they would stay trapped inside for days with the longest period being 20 days. They talked about going to sleep in bedding that was damp in freezing cold conditions and how they got through this ordeal! I certainly didn’t envy them this adventure and would never wish to experience this myself!
A week after our Antarctica experience, I hear that the article I sent to Sri Lanka on Antarctica has been published. Here it is:
A visit to AntarcticaNovember 25, 2011, 7:52 pm
The snow is lightly falling as I fly in to Ushuaia at the tip of the South American continent in Argentina. I am in one of the remotest places on earth and yet it is quite a bustling little city, full of people either completing a Patagonian adventure or beginning an Antarctic adventure.There is a palpable sense of excitement in the lobby as we hear our ship has just come in to shore. I am chatting to Angela, a fellow passenger on the expedition ship that will take us to the Antarctic continent. In a few days I will accomplish my dream of travelling to all seven continents before I turn fifty and spend both Christmas and New Year in Antarctica. Life does not get more exciting than this.