National Geographic Traveler named the Antarctic one of the “50 Tours of a Lifetime”. One of the world’s most remote and pristine locations, the Antarctic Peninsula, has been on my dream list for a long time. It’s not uncommon to have to book a year in advance. This year my husband and I will hit a milestone. We’ll finish paying for our kids’ college educations. Now it’s time for us! We’re going to spend some of their inheritance and live it up south of the Antarctic Circle.
For a trip of this magnitude and expense, we did a lot of research to know all our options. We selected Quark Expeditions because they have been leading intrepid travelers to the polar regions (North and South) for over 22 years. They offer unprecedented access to these magical environments. We chose a 15-day “Crossing the Circle” expedition because it offers the most in-depth exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula. We’ll have one or two Zodiac cruises and landings a day. We will hike on the peninsula, camp overnight on land and drift past icebergs.
Travel companies who give to local people and try to preserve the places they love to visit deserve our attention and business. For example, in the past two years Quark Expeditions, together with their passengers and staff, have on-board auctions that have raised almost $300,000 for charities dedicated to sustainability and conservation. This year Quark introduced the first-ever carbon neutral voyages to Antarctica.
BOOKS TO READ – Start with Shackleton and Scott’s Journeys.
We are fascinated by the extraordinary feat of the British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton who was stranded with his crew on the ice for 20 months and then forced to row across wild seas to safety. His epic journeys to Antarctica have inspired several compelling books including, The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander.
South is Shackleton’s memoir and Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing is a bestseller.
The other great Arctic explorer, Robert Falcon Scott wrote his own story in Journals: Scott’s Last Expedition.
The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard is the description by a crew member about the tragic 1910 voyage that claimed Scott’s life.
Race to the South Pole (The Great Adventures) by Roald Amundsen is about his incredible journey to reach the South Pole a month ahead of his rival Robert Scott.
The librarian who recommended these books warned me that they are willed with terrifying storms, blizzards, whale attacks and the gritty details of their struggles to be the first on the white continent.
Stay tuned. As we buy gear and prepare for our adventure, I’ll add to this blog. If you have suggestions, please share them!