My Favourite Place in the World: Antarctica
Written by Daniel Luff, @luffoutloud
It begins with a glance. All that’s visible is the ocean water, ice, and snow in every direction. Endless icebergs begin to take form as far as the eye can see. It doesn’t look like much at first. However, a detailed look at the numerous shapes and sizes of the ice begins to reveal an unexpected depth to the environment. The different patterns and hues of blue have a way of captivating the individual; it is difficult to look away.
Once the eyes adjust to the landscape, the abundance of wildlife begins to make its presence known. One might look to the land to see Elephant Seals peacefully napping along the beach. The nearby shores appear to come alive with the movement of countless penguin colonies nestled on the beach with their unique penguin highways. Their boisterous calls fill the air and echo across the shore. Turn to the sea, and one may spot the enormous tail of a Humpback Whale breaking the water as it submerges for food; or the dorsal fins from a pod of Orca Whales surfacing for air. The sharpest eyes may notice a curious seal barely poking its head out of the water as it investigates the small zodiac boat.
You start to realize that the ambience here is unlike anything in the world.
In December, Antarctica is covered in perpetual daylight that makes for a rare spectacle. The sun will momentarily set on the horizon, but in a matter of minutes, it will begin rising a short distance away. It is one of the few places where sunset meets sunrise, and together they put on a display of beautiful fluorescent reds and pinks that illuminate the entire sky. It’s important to keep an eye on the time.
Light is just one of the many deceptions from the frozen continent. Antarctica also has a deceitful mood. On a calm and quiet morning, the day can appear sunny and serene for a time, but without warning, the clouds can roll in, the waters begin to churn, and snow begins to fall. The wind and the air can be cold to the skin, but the glaring sun can leave a person sun burnt if not careful. The continent exists in a strange state of continuously contrasting beauty and danger.
At the end of it all, perhaps the most enchanting experience is to look beyond the horizon and sit in complete silence. Be entertained solely by the harmonious sounds of the wind howling, the crackling song of icebergs, and the faintest calls from wildlife that are both intriguing and haunting. The final orchestrated piece creates a lasting impression on the soul.
… And that’s only the first day.
Daniel Luff also wrote our most read article “Everything Is The Same, And Nothing Is The Same.” He shares his thoughts on returning and adjusting to life after a long journey abroad.
If you’d like to contribute to our series “My Favourite Place in the World” then please check out the link below.
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