Tuesday, January 4

We've done our seventh continent

We’ve completed our Antarctic Christmas cruise. What an incredible experience. Every account you’ve ever read about the white continent’s beauty and serenity honestly doesn’t do it justice. Antarctica really is the world’s most pristine, untouched wilderness. Nature is definitely master of this domain as we discovered when inclement weather delayed our flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas for three days.

This delay meant that Garry and I were lucky enough to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Antarctica; all at no additional cost. I use to fantasize about celebrating the start of the new millennium in Antarctica but ultimately never booked a cruise. In my wildest dreams I never imagined ten years later my youthful fantasy would become reality.

In the end we spent eight nights and nine days cruising around the South Shetland Islands and along the Antarctic peninsula. We travelled as far south as 65.05 degrees before pack ice finally blocked our route. Along the way we enjoyed up to three daily excursions, each offering something new and unique. Day after day the polar scenery never failed to amaze, while the wildlife proved more numerous and accessible than I’d ever imagined.  The photo below is just one example.  It's now used by the cruise company on its home page to promote the very cruise we enjoyed.

Highlights include watching penguins mate, build nests and feed new born chicks. We also saw Humpback whales, Fin whales and Killer whales feeding and frolicking; often several times a day. Seals were found basking on ice flows and beaches almost every day. We spotted Crabeater seals, Leopard seals, Weddell seals and juvenile Elephant seals. The bird life was equally abundant. We saw Cormorants feeding chicks on their nests and encountered more than one curious Skua (that’s a large, dull brown scavenger bird).

With so much to share I’ve drafted a separate post covering each day of our cruise. Enjoy these summaries of our incredible experience:
Finally, enjoy the best of more than two thousands photos I’ve taken along the way. Choosing which to upload has been hard work. Everything in the polar regions is a photo opportunity to die for. Without a doubt Antarctica was well worth the wait. Go if you can!

As of January 5, I've posted detailed summaries of entire Antarctic cruise. I'll continue to upload more photos for each post as time and Internet access allows. Check back every few days for more great images of our polar experience.

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