A visit to the Antarctic changes you; the most pristine and wild continent on earth leaves a lasting impression. In a time when the earth's wild spaces are in rapid decline, Antarctica remains a vestige of natural beauty and the great unknown. Mountains that have never been scaled, penguin colonies stretching further than the eye can see and shifting icebergs larger than houses. For every fact we know about Antarctica, there are many more we do not yet know.
On this page, we want to hear from those of you who have stepped foot on Antarctica, be it recently or many years ago. Use the form below to tell us what struck you most about the continent. What was your Antarctic moment?
Add your answer below, with any relevant images or video clips, and we will add them to the page as we move through Antarctica NOW. (At the end of the week, we will choose one of the submissions at random to receive a Hero Roll Neck Sweater.)
My Antarctic moment was...
…when, after landing on South Georgia Island, en route to the Antarctic Peninsula, I chose to join a small group of my fellow adventurers to re-trace Shackleton’s trek over the mountain to the Stromness Whaling Station, following his harrowing transit from Elephant Island. The way was quite steep and covered in loose scree, making the footing quite treacherous. Upon reaching the pinnacle, overlooking the bay, one of the crew – knowing that I was a Shackleton “Groupie” invited me to read from Sir Ernest’s journal, recounting the very location on which we stood. Flattered, I read from the entry and, just as I finished the line about the Endurance rounding the point, our ship did the same! It could not have been choreographed more perfectly! Reaching the end of the text, I was overcome with emotion and felt as if I had channelled Shackleton. Certainly a life-changing experience.”
...waking up before the sunrise to admire the most beautiful scene; orange light, broken ice and penguins on an iceberg. Just to mention one of the special moments...”
...watching an impending storm approach us and having to stop and build protective ice walls and just brace for impact..."
...stepping into Capt. Scott's hut at Cape Evans and seeing the expeditions equipment and belongings so familiar from books I'd read and pictures I'd seen. But what did surprise me was the aroma of the ponies in the stables still evident after all those years, as though Capt. Oates had just taken them out for exercise in the snow."
...two moments really stick out for me, both involving humpback whales. Both were truly amazing, and both involve being in a zodiac. The first experience, we could see bubbles appearing on the surface of the water close by before the heads of three humpback whales came up and out of the water lunging forward, engulfing huge mouthfuls of krill. The sounds, the smells and the sight of these feeding whales will stick with me for the rest of my life. Another brief encounter a few days later on a zodiac cruise, a very inquisitive, friendly humpback came so close it lifted part of the zodiac just out of the water as it swam beneath us. Despite its huge size it was so gentle – I can’t actually put into words how amazing it was to look into the whale’s eye as it passed. It still gives me goose pimples now."
…organising and playing a game of cricket at the South Pole on the centenary of Scott’s arrival on 17th January 2012.”
…on waking at 2am, I realised the vessel was calm so I went up onto the bridge. There, in the half twilight, were icebergs all around us in a millpond calm sea. I watched the sun slowly rise as the snow changed colours through gorgeous mauve, lilac and finally crisp white. We had arrived in Antarctica!”
…Kayaking. With icebergs and humpbacks. The humpback being a day to remember forever – they interacted with us seemingly enjoying the attention, their spatial awareness perfect giving us no fear of being capsized. A mesmerising few hours and the best day of my life.” Photo credit #oneoceanexpeditions
...well, that will not be easy as I had a new moment every day, starting from Drake's Passage all the way to the end. But a favourite moment was to see the seals play with each other in the freezing water. Another one was the stunning sunsets."
…stepping onto the continent for the first time. 13 years ago, almost to the day. We had made our way up a pristine bay on the peninsula. It was a dazzling morning, though fairly chilly at -20ºC. We anchored close to shore and did the last 100m in a small RIB. What I recall most clearly of that moment is the silence."
Martin Brooks, Shackleton Co-Founder
...on the bow of a Russian expedition ship, slowly ghosting down the Lemaire channel ('iceberg alley') on the peninsular. Sheer black cliffs rising each side, a full moon in a royal blue sky, enormous crags of ice as big as the ship, a pod of fin whales alongside and a gin and tonic with a lump of thousand-year old ice. An overwhelmingly beautiful sight to behold."