Hi Everyone! Well what can I say but I am still reeling from my trip to The Antarctic…It was one of the BEST experiences I have ever encountered and would like to share some of those experiences with you. I felt like David Attenborough in the documentary Planet Earth as the amount of life we saw there was just out of this world, everything was moving…
We left for Buenos Aires on 20th February, an 18 hour flight via Rio to start our journey, we decided to stay in BA for 4 nights, I caught up with some old friends from HongKong, seeing them after 40 years was a surreal moment for me and my husband, as we had a lot to catch up on. On 24th we departed for Ushuaia (the end of the world) where we stayed for 2 nights which included a tour around Terra Al Fuego in the Patagonian region. Beautiful mountains and scenery and the food was amazing. Alaska king crabs are a must to have. On the 26th we embarked on the ’Seaventure’ our home for the next 20 nights. This is an expedition ship with 130 passengers only and honestly spending 20 nights with all of them, you become like family and everyone knows everyone after a week.
Heading out to the South Ocean was a bit rough with waves as high as 20 feet and we opted for seasick tablets as it was getting worse. Luckily they had everything ready for their passengers with a lovely doctor on board handing out pills like candy. 2 days at sea with rough weather was not an idle start to an expedition, but who can predict the weather? Finally on day 4 we anchored in the Falkland/Malvinas island a British territory with only 2400 residents, quite interesting. We hopped on a bus to ‘Gypsy Cove’ a lovely area where you find the Magellanic penguins, dolphins swimming freely in the ocean and the natural beauty of the mountains was a sight to remember. We also went to see an area where the Albatros nest with their new born chicks, they were adorable. On the same day we went for another landing on our zodiac to ’Saunders Island’ however we could not land due to the wind factor and the swell in the ocean. We did manage to see 100’s of 1000’s of Magellanic penguins on the shore.
Back on board we set sail for ’Stanley’ where huge colonies of King Penguins live, the first zodiac went with 8 passengers but pretty much came back in 20 minutes as the weather changed again and we could not make a landing. I was thinking to myself if this is going to continue, as I wanted to walk on land and not only be in the ship… It was disappointing but again going to such harsh weather one never knows what to expect, so I surrendered and said the next landing will be amazing and it was!!!. Next day we arrived in ‘Right Whale Bay’ which was filled with King Penguins and my all time favourite baby fur seals. They are so so cute, they come to you like puppies kinda growling, but retrieve as soon as you take a step towards them. They look at your with those sad eyes and you just want to pick one up and take them home.
In the afternoon we sailed toward South Georgia to ’Sunset fjord’ and did a zodiac cruise and landing. 250,000 king penguins and an enormous amount of fur seals live there, it was a sight to see. As soon as we landed 100’s of fur seals just came towards us like puppies wanting attention, but we were not allowed to touch anything. However, I managed to put my GoPro underwater and capture some amazing footage of them swimming. The noise the King penguins make and how they protect their chicks from menacing predators is a sight to see. We had amazing weather, the sun was out the sky was clear and I felt that I had reached ‘GODS PLANET’ as everywhere you looked there was movement. In the near distance were 5 huge elephant seals just lazing around.
Right after that landing we headed for ’Stromness island’ another beautiful place in South Georgia filled with loads of King penguins and fur seas, elephant seals, albatross and so much more. The sea was calm and the kayakers were finally able to kayak amongst the beauty of the ocean and admire the lovely waterfalls and snowcapped mountains on the island. What a beautiful 5th of March we had, glorious weather and some amazing landings and sights.
On 6th March we set sail for ’St. Andrews Island’ in South Georgia where 500,000 King Penguins reside. I mean this is a sight to see, I was shocked at the numbers, the sounds, the smell and everything was alive. You can just stand there and watch them call to one another (I guess their way of communicating) and the sound is quite deafening and one that you will not forget. This image will stay with me forever, specially how they feed their young and protect them from predators like the huge Petrels who would love to steal a chick for dinner. Just mesmerising.
7th March (my husband's birthday) we anchored in ‘Gold Harbour’ in South Georgia, where we landed to be welcome by more King Penguins and my all time favourite fur seals. The island was filled with beautiful glaciers and waterfalls and as usual there was an abundance amount of life wherever you looked. The weather was lovely, clear skies again and the place looked like a fairytale type of landscape, just beautiful. After about 2 hours we went back to the ship for lunch, had a bit of a rest and off to another island called ‘Coopers Bay’. The water was calm the kayakers could get out and do their thing, the sky was blue and the sun was out. Coopers island was similar to Gold Harbour, again with a lot of King penguins and fur seals and lots of elephant seals as well. Lots of beautiful Glaciers, a really scenic place. We spotted a leopard seal just make a kill and it was not a pleasant sight, but this is just how it is, nature in its full glory. It had just started raining and the grounds were wet and slippery, as we made our way back to the zodiac we saw a group of huge elephant seals huddled together as if to keep warm, it was getting quite chilly. Back on ship time to celebrate…
We set sail towards South Sandwich Islands and deeper into the Antarctic Peninsula, sailing for a day to reach ‘Grytviken' a whaling station, where the famous Ernest Shakleton had reached to ask for help as his ship had sunk and he had to leave his men behind in South Georgia. If you get a chance google him and his movie ‘The Endurance’ and ‘South’ it is worth it. There are 7 whaling stations in the Antartica, but they are all closed as whales are protected now, thank god. Shakleton is buried here so we paid tribute on his grave had a shot of whisky to honour his legacy and walked around the island, which has a post-office and a museum. Back to the ship to rest and re-live our experience of totally mesmerised.
On the 9th, 10th and 11th of March we were at sea heading deeper into the Antarctic Peninsula, passing beautiful glaciers floating effortlessly on the sea, with beautiful colours and formation. It all felt surreal again as the beauty was astounding. It was definitely getting colder as well. Passing Point Wild and Elephant island were some amazing sights to witness. Finally on 12th March we anchored in ‘Brabant Island’ and made our way to our first landing after 3 full days at sea, towards Port Lockroy’. Imagine they have a post office here as well which was closed for the coming winter, but we were all able to put our postcards with some money for them to be posted next year when the staff come back… We landed into a beautiful Gentoo penguin colony, it started snowing and the chill factor was getting higher as we watched the mums feeding their chicks, such a beautiful experience to be able to experience this. This colony was filled with Mums and chicks and a feeding frenzy was taking place all around us.
On 13th March we arrived to ‘Paradise Island’ where there are thousands of glaciers and the sea is filled with an ice sheet. The sun was out but it was cold and chilly. We went on a zodiac cruise to see the wonder that god had created with the amazing formations of ice. There were Gentoo penguins and seals all over and we passed an Argentinian military station covered in snow. There were whales around the area but I personally did not see them that day. The sun was out the sky was a magical blue and there was life everywhere. In the afternoon we headed towards ’Neko Harbour’ on a zodiac cruise as we could not make a landing on ice. It was the coldest day by far, my fingers were frozen. There were penguins splashing about, seals and for the first time we saw 7 humpback whales feeding. I cannot explain how I felt at that moment when 2 humpbacks passed 50 feet from our zodiac, blowing from their blow holes like a fountain of water, breathing and gliding gracefully past us, oblivion that we even existed. Time stood still as we followed them closely and watched them feed. After 1.5 hours I was totally frozen, the weather had changed and we made a landing in Neko Harbour. It was filled with snow and the grounds were very slippery, with my muck boots we managed to climb on some rocks and land safely. This was also a colony of Gentoo penguins and their chicks and it was amazing watching the penguins walk in their penguin highway, climbing up the mountain and sliding down, quite hilarious, like they were kids playing in the snow. It had started to snow quite heavily by now and we were frozen, so we decided to head back to the ship for some hot chocolate. As we were waiting for our zodiac there were 2 humpback whales feeding close to shore, again what a sight to see, it was amazing, time stood still again.
The weather is so unpredictable in the Antartica it can change every 5 minutes. We even managed to see 2 rainbows at the same time, one on our left and one on our right, unreal. Heaven!!!
That evening we set sail for ‘Deception Island’ another from Shakletons voyages to discover Antartica, hence the name Deception, as he thought he had discovered Antarctica but it was a bit way out from what he believed. We made a landing on the beach and were greeted by Gentoo penguins and some Chinstraps as well and of course many seals but male mostly. This is a volcanic island and it was a whaling station in the earlier times, and due to the eruption it was abandoned as everything there turned to ashes and burnt. We hiked up the mountain to see the beautiful scenery of the ocean unfold in front of us, it was magicall and the weather was being kind to us. After our hike we headed back to the ship for lunch and some rest before our last landing to a chinstrap penguin colony called ‘Fort Point’. This is the largest chinstrap penguin colony and once you land on the large pebbled beach you are greeted with a stench so bad that you need to be strong to handle it. I had to see these cuties and I went straight out and started walking carefully on the pebbles to take some shots of these cute little sweethearts. The view was lovely and there were leopard seals hunting in the water, other types of fur seals and of course the elephant seals lazing around. I felt sad that this was my last landing and the next few days we are at sea heading back to Ushuaia through the famous ‘Drakes Passage’. I bid my farewell to the cute chinstraps and headed back to the ship, being enormously grateful for this remarkable once in a lifetime experience to venture to the Antarctica.
Our book ’She is Remarkable’ has reached the Antarctic Peninsula as well and if you have not got your copy yet here is the link to order yours. https://experts.market/ebooks/she-is-remarkable I will be speaking on for Tradition Medicine Conference, it is a virtual seminar to register log onto https://www.lumiminds.org/conferences/traditionalmedicine-congress/ to register as as my students and guests you can receive this for US$100.00 only. It is packed with interesting information in alternative healthcare, so do register.
I am back in Dubai and happy to see clients again if you would like to book in. I hope to connect with some of you. I have shared a few images below of my expedition and am so so happy I made it back in one piece to share my experience with you all. Until next time, keep smiling…