Wanderlust

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A Day on an Antarctica Cruise

By Sean Middleton | 5/4/18

Travelers leap with excitement to be on Antarctica

Sean Middleton, age 14, traveled to Antarctica on a cruise with his mother. When the opportunity came up to go, he said “I’m so excited to miss school for a week and my friends can’t believe I’m going there!” Below he shares his diary from one exhilarating day during the expedition.

Thursday, November 24

7 a.m. Wake-Up Call

BING BONG DING! “Good morning, everybody. It is 7 a.m. and breakfast is going to be served in 30 minutes. See you there.” Hannah, the expedition leader, announces this wake-up call over the speaker system. I like her British accent.

7:30 a.m.

BING BONG DING! “It is 7:30 sharp, and breakfast is now being served in the dining room on Deck 2.” I turn over in bed and say no way to breakfast this morning.

An expedition ship during Antarctica cruise

9 a.m.

BING BONG DING! “It is now 9 a.m. and the Zodiacs are in the water for your cruise. The port side of the ship should start getting ready in 30 minutes and the starboard side soon after.” I guess it’s time to get up. I walk over to the couch in our cabin and start putting on my warm gear. I decide to put on an extra layer of long underwear, so I won’t get cold sitting on the Zodiac cruise for two hours. The ski pants, jacket, and snow boots that the ship supplies will keep me plenty warm, I think.

9:45 a.m. Boarding the Zodiacs

Time to get on the Zodiac. The expedition team reminds us of the four steps of getting on the Zodiac:

1) Hand the driver your bag.

2) Grab one of the worker’s arms in a sailor’s grip.

3) Step onto the rubber on the side of the Zodiac.

4) Sit down and slide across to get to a comfortable position. It’s easy to do, but you have to follow the steps.

Ten people are loaded in the Zodiac ready for the adventure. “We need to stay a distance of at least double the height of the iceberg away from it, in order to stay safe in case it rolls around or crashes,” our driver Marty says. I look around absorbing all of the giant icebergs around me. I think how small we are and how big the icebergs really are if we see only 10 percent of them and 90 percent is underwater.

Looking at iceberg from a Zodiac curing Antarctica cruise

The engine starts rumbling and the Zodiac bounces. “Here we go!” I say.

11 a.m. Up Close with Icebergs

After cruising around the bay for a while, Marty takes us close to a giant iceberg that has ice caves carved into it. We all talk about how big it is compared to us. After some cruising through the ice and touring around, Marty says, “We will now have a moment of silence. I will turn off the motor and we will just sit still and listen and look for five minutes.”

I see the big icebergs surrounding us. I hear the ice splashing in the water and the wind swooshing around us and throughout the iceberg. I feel the cold wind flying into my hat and windbreaker jacket. It feels good.

After five minutes, everyone continues taking pictures and talking. Mom says she loved the five minutes of silence because it was so calming to be still.

Huge iceberg from Zodiac on Antarctica cruise

12:30 p.m. Lunchtime

We get back on the boat after the Zodiac cruise and get ready for lunch. It is Thanksgiving today, so I have some turkey and gravy. I still don’t like stuffing, but maybe someday I will.

2 p.m. Nap Time

I lie down in my cabin and fall to sleep instantly.

4 p.m. Wake-Up #2

BING BONG DING awakens me again. “In 30 minutes time, we will be boarding the Zodiacs to go ashore on the real Antarctica continent.” Yesterday we were walking on an island near Antarctica, but this is the real continent. I’m so excited to go ashore that I get up right away and get dressed.

4:30 p.m. Landing on Antarctica

I get into the Zodiac to go ashore. I meet up with my new pals Blase and Jacky before we start the hike up the snowy mountain. We climb on rocks and run around in the snow jumping and playing all the way to the top of the mountain.

5 p.m. Creating Snowy

My mom, Jacky, Blase, and I take a break from walking when Mom and Jacky start singing “Do you want to build a snowman?” We start to roll the snow but the ball is small until another person makes a bigger ball and we use that as the base. We continue and put our work on top of it and it looks plain. After adding Jacky’s hat, sunglasses, and gloves, we have finished creating our homie, “Snowy”!

Building a snowman in Antarctica
Photo: Polar Latitudes

Snowy stands on a base with a one-foot diameter and looks great in his new outfit. We all take photos and hang out with him until it is time to go. We can’t keep Snowy because you have to leave everything how you naturally found it. So I rev up and dive into him, tackling him down. “Snowy is no more,” I say, “but his ghost will live on. He will haunt the campers that will spend a night on land this evening.”  Jacky is going to be one of the campers and she likes the joke.

Crushing the snowman in Antarctica
Photo: Polar Latitudes

On the way down the mountain, I penguin slide. There is a long, steep slope, so I run, jump, and slide on my belly all the way down. Then I notice other people after me are sliding down, too, but on their butts. It’s very fun.

8 p.m. Dinner Time

I sit down for dinner with my mom and Blase. We talk and eat. For dinner the chef has made a four-course meal with so many choices. Blase picks vegetarian. My mom orders fish, and I get beef. The food is really good even if it’s new things I’ve never tried before. But for dessert there’s banana foster, which I don’t like, so I just get some more ice cream. Our waiter, O’Neil, is from Jamaica and takes good care of me.

9:45 p.m. Evening Fun

I meet up with Blase in the Club to listen to Randy the ship entertainer rock out with his sweet tunes. Everyone gets into it and has fun while we talk and look through everyone’s awesome photos from the day.

11:45 p.m. Bedtime

After a full day, I hit the hay, excited for my next day of adventures in Antarctica!

Teenager looks over shoulder to penguin colony in Antarctica
Photo: Polar Latitudes

Camping on Antarctica
Photo: Polar Latitudes

Taking part in the Polar Plunge during Antarctica Cruise
Photo: Polar Latitudes

Taking photos of a penguin in Antarctica
Photo: Polar Latitudes

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To find out more about GeoEx's Antarctica trips or Family Adventures give our Polar experts a call at 888-570-7108.

 

Main blog image and summary image by Polar Latitudes

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