25 January 2015
Andrew Gasson ARPS
Why would anyone want to spend several days sailing across roughest seas in the world with the worst weather to spend a month in the remotest, coldest most inhospitable place on earth? There’s actually no point in trying to explain: Antarctica either takes a hold on you or it doesn’t.
It is often said that you never go to Antarctica only once. Of the 100 or so passengers on this latest voyage over three-quarters had been to the ice before and were what they term down there ‘repeat offenders’. If explanation there must be, it could be summed up as: Adventure, Ice, History, Wildlife and Photography.
The adventure starts when the ship begins to roll 20° – keep taking the tablets - and is confirmed a day or two later with the sighting of the first iceberg. This particular Antarctic journey was a circumnavigation of the continent, starting in the Falklands and ending in Hobart. The itinerary passed along the Phantom coast, so named because it hadn’t even been mapped until the 1960s. It is scarcely ever possible to visit and then only by means of a specialised vessel such as our icebreaker, the Kapitan Khlebnikov. Mainly for environmental reasons, there will be just one more season in Antarctica before it returns to full time duties in Russian waters. After 2011 it is possible that some of the remotest places on the planet may never be revisited ...
This article is an extract from Andrew Gasson's article first published on Page 4 in Travel Log Issue 60. Andrew is a member of the London Region of the RPS.