Actually the cold does bother me – I’m not Elsa. But you can’t pass up the opportunity for Frozen references, right? Maybe I can squeeze in some more for you.
Fortunately, it was not too cold on our trip down south. It is summer, after all. Now that I am back, I feel like I am going through withdrawal. I just can’t let it go. It has been rough coming back from the high of all the beauty we saw. But I am excited to be in Buenos Aires now, which is more my natural element. And I was REALLY happy to call my mom after not talking to her for over a week.
Now that I’ve done that, it’s time for some reflecting on the last few days of the trip to Antarctica. I was able to check off two of the three items on my wish list at the end of the last post.
Our second landing day, we did get spectacularly blue skies. It was spectacular to see the frozen fractals all around glistening in the sun. We were able to hike to the top of a little hill on Danco Island where we were treated to spectacular views of the bay and whales. Did I want to build a snowman? You bet! I made my own little Olaf up top, although I found out later that this was against one of the many rules we were told about at the beginning. (I can’t see how it was that much different than having a snowball fight, but I have been wracked with guilt since, barely able to function.) Coming down, we opted for the bum-slide option, and got up to pretty high speeds. People had to watch out for my butt!
I also got to check off the polar plunge from my list. We got back on board, put on bathing suits (well, some of us – there were a handful of hardcore polar plungers who did it in their birthday suits) and jumped off the side of the ship into the frigid Antarctic waters. I was nervous. But they say “have courage” and I’m trying to. I jumped in, got out as quick as I could, and downed my free shot of vodka with rapidity. I’m proud that I did it. Some of my new friends cheered me on from a few decks above. I’m told that I was the most vocal, and the only one that audibly cursed.
Much to my dissatisfaction, I did not see my orca. Anyone who grew up watching Free Willy or the amazing Sea World shows (before they were tainted by Blackfish) knows that some whales are worth melting for. I did have a heart-crushing orca fake-out when one of the guides said he’d *thought* he’d seen an orca, but it was just another humpback (“just another humpback” – I’m the worst). I guess that old saying is true: “never trust a birdman to do a whaleman’s job.”
Orca or no, the whole trip was perfect. If you get the chance to go, do it. It is worth it. It’s unique. It’s an eternal winter everywhere… I didn’t know winter could be so beautiful!