Real tales from Hurtigruten
Photo: Kristen checking off the last continent on her bucket list
If there’s one thing I learned after returning from my expedition to Antarctica, it’s that there are no words to perfectly describe such an experience – but I’ll give it my best shot!
I sailed onboard the state-of-the-art MS Roald Amundsen, the world’s first hybrid electric-powered ship with Hurtigruten. We had Fleet Captain Torry (aka “the Driver”) at the helm, along with a passionate, knowledgeable Expedition Team who shared lectures onboard from polar history to climate change, and stood in waist deep polar water near shore purely to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for our guests. Antarctica is the low hanging fruit after crossing the infamous Drake Passage, or “Drake Shake” as we encountered. I spent the first couple days behind my camera, trying to capture all of the firsts – our first iceberg, zodiac ride, landing, penguin encounter, whale sighting, Antarctic sunset…before I realized that it was SO much better just living in the moment, without the camera (btw, Hurtigruten has a professional photographer onboard who captures the entire trip for you!).
Photo: local Gentoo penguin right next to zodiac as part of your Hurtigruten experience
One thing you learn very quickly is that Mother Nature is completely in control, and you have to succumb to the power of the Great White Continent. Some days we had to move onto Plan B or even C to ensure that safe operation could be carried out, and yet I still caught myself saying “I can’t even believe this is Plan B – how could we possibly have topped this?” I finally ticked off my 7th continent, navigated through the Lemaire Channel, crossed the Antarctic Circle, added 6 penguin species to my penguin bucket list (yes, it’s my thing) and, ok, although it may not have been on any formal bucket list of mine, I braved the polar plunge! When in Antarctica, you do as your fellow explorers do, and don’t worry, Hurtigruten provides you with the certificate to prove it happened!
There were so many moments of peace and quiet (except when you’re with the penguins), where you catch yourself in a moment and truly connect with your inner explorer – this is the pure magic of Antarctica…a lifechanging journey I’ll never forget.
Photo: Kristen and iceberg.....new best friends.
Article and photos courtesy of Kristen Erz, Hurtigruten.