Cruise proves protective of Antartic

Published 9:36am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In my last article, I pointed out that environmental philanthropy has opened the way for leisure travel to pristine places never visited before.

In the case of Antarctica, we have the ability for a leisure do-over… an exciting new chance to practice a more fastidious respect for harmony and wildlife.

Armed with better science, the adventurous modern traveler can enjoy the other pole without worrying about the “bull in a china shop” approach that might have encroached on the Alaskan wilderness, however unintentional it was.

At the end of the day, the positive aspects of travel always come out a winner when it comes to raising Earth-friendly consciousness, no matter where we go.

The MS Explorer, the Silver Explorer, and other ships like these, have the ability to strike the deepest chords within us to the unforgettable song of nature.

Who: Sarah and Lee King and their son, Bob.

Where’ve You Been: Sarah and son, Bob got a wild hair and decided to take a cruise to Antarctica. It took some convincing to talk her husband, Lee, into the journey, but it turned out to be a scenic discovery none of them will ever forget.

Their voyage started in South America, where the tour company arranged a flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina. From there they visited the iconic Iguassu Falls, which Sarah said made Niagara Falls look like “little falls.”

They then flew to Ushuaia, and boarded their expedition ship. Ushuaia was great port of call, a place that held a magic charm unlike anything Sarah said she’d seen before in South America, Mexico or Spain.

Forward onto the sometimes rougher waters towards Antarctica, where they had visits to amazing icebergs and islands of penguins, seals, whales and flora and fauna rarely visited by humans.

Loved: With a ship capacity of about 250 people, they loved feeling lucky to experience such a brilliantly extreme destination in relative comfort and safety. She also loved the penguins. They would swim alongside the ship, and appear as little bubbles that would rise from the water, announcing their whimsical approach.

When visiting land, the crew was meticulous to prevent contaminating their habitat. They would take 100 people at a time, giving them a drill on where to walk, how close they were allowed to get to the penguins and strict prohibitions on touching or feeding them. Sarah said she learned a lot from this approach.

Amusing anecdotes: The Drake Passage, known to have rough seas, was not too bad according to Lee. Sarah did not know about it, because she felt herself become seasick at the beginning of the journey, took some medication and slept her way through that leg of the trip.

On a serious note, there was a rogue wave that overturned some things in their cabin at one point, but it was not out of the ordinary, it was part and parcel to adventure.

All in all, Sarah said she feels that it was not only worth the effort, but the trip of a lifetime. She only wishes other people could experience it for themselves.

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