“At a time when it’s possible for thirty people to stand on the top of Everest in one day, Antarctica still remains a remote, lonely and desolate continent. A place where it’s possible to see the splendors and immensities of the natural world at its most dramatic and, what’s more, witness them almost exactly as they were, long, long before human beings ever arrived on the surface of this planet. Long may it remain so.” ― David Attenborough
Last December 6, Jonathan and I somehow made our way into the world’s windiest, coldest, and southernmost continent in the world, Antarctica!! It started as a dream, and it finally happened last 7th of December, just in time for our 365 Days of Honeymoon! We were on board Hurtigruten's MS Midnatsol for a 16-day cruise and every single day we were there I was just crying. I wasn’t sad. I was overwhelmed with happiness and joy that my childhood dream of exploring this continent is unfolding right before my very eyes!
A cruise to Antarctica is pricey, yes. But I assure you, it’s worth every single penny. And if at the back of your head you think it’s not worth it because you’ll just be staying on the ship and see ice everywhere, you better keep on reading and think again! Here are 10 things to do while on a cruise to Antarctica ❤
1. Make Your Feet Happy By Getting Up Close And Personal With The Penguins And Seals
I LOVE PENGUINS! They are my most favorite creatures on planet earth (aside from elephants). So seeing them in their natural habitat (and not in a cage) is just captivating. There are only 17 species of penguins in the world. 7 of it live and nest around the Antarctic, hence called the ‘Antarctic Penguins’.
Depending on what season you visit, you’ll definitely see thousands of these so-called flightless birds! You’ll see a lot of seals too! And not only will you see them--- no matter how far you stay out of them due to regulations, these guys will be the one to come close to you, so close that they will sometimes touch you, they’ll leave you with no choice.
2. Go Kayaking
We took off through the fjord towards our first truly amazing natural sight of the journey, the Garibaldi Glacier. That was our first excursion in the tender boats. It’s just an amazing sight to paddle across Antarctic’s freezing waters with the marvelous mountains around.
We also kayaked at Puerto Williams and we were lucky enough to be taken kayaking with David Mocke, a world champion surf ski kayaker from Cape Town, South Africa. There’s a 360-degree view of the mountains from here and it was such a beauty!
3. Enjoy Your Cruise Ship’s Jacuzzi/Sauna Room
I suggest you take a cruise with a ship that has a jacuzzi. Bathing with its warm water with the view of the snow covered mountains and seas is just a moment to behold. Not to mention you’ll meet a couple of travelers too!
Hurtigruten's MS Midnatsol has two open-air hot tubs on the top deck and the panoramic viewing lounges to sit and watch the ocean go by. Their sauna room also has such a scenic view!
4. Take The Polar Plunge
Polar plunge is the act of dipping into Antarctica’s zero degree celsius waters. Jonathan and I were both crazy to do it! If you’re wondering how it feels like, it was not immediately painful, just numbing. But after ten seconds thousands of needles started stabbing all over my body and I was just shaking and chilling all over so I had to get out of the water. But thinking about it now while staying in the humid Florida, I feel grateful that I was able to do it at least once in my life ❤
5. Experience The Drake Shake or Drake Lake By Crossing The Drake Passage
Drake Passage is known to be the world’s roughest seas-- this is where the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean meet. It was created some 40 million years ago when the connection between South America and the Antarctic peninsula broke. It takes a full day and night to cross the Drake Passage, even on a ship like the MS Midnatsol. The waters on this area is really unpredictable. Huge waves smash the ship once in a while as if Antarctica is repelling humans, hence, the Drake Shake. I was seasick all day the entire time we were crossing this passage. But sometimes, it could be really calm that it almost looks like a Drake Lake. Regardless if you feel excited, anxious, or seasick, crossing the passage is definitely an adventure of a lifetime!
6. Marvel At The Beauty Of The Half Moon Island
Half Moon Island is a sanctuary to a large colony of chinstrap penguins and several types of seal depending on the season-- there are like thousands of them here!! It will take time before you can actually set foot on it, so while we were on the ship, we were just taking photos of this marvelous place with the sea and the snow capped mountains on the background. It’s just a lovely lovely sight that I will never forget!
7. Enjoy The Movies and Scientific Lectures About Antarctica and the Antarctic Exploration While On Board
There are times where MS Midnatsol is just showing movies all day, as well as scientific lectures about Antarctica and the Antarctic Exploration. It’s just very nice to learn so many things about the continent that we’re heading to, and watch chick flicks of course!
8. Enjoy ‘Life’ At Cape Horn
There’s a lighthouse keeper, his wife, and two young children here who have been living alone on the island for most of the year. There’s a utility shed, a small chapel and of course, a lighthouse. It’s just nice to talk these people and hear about their life on the island.
9. Send A Postcard
What do you think your special someone will feel if they receive a postcard from Antarctica? :) In Goudier Island, you’ll find a museum, gift shop, and a post office! So see for yourself and try sending one from there!
10. Whale Watching
Depending on the season you’ll visit, whales can be seen from your ship. These whales are dauntless! They are like free men in Antarctica (only they are whales). They are unfazed and almost untouched. I sincerely hope it stays this way forever.
What I loved most about Antarctica is its wilderness. This trip gave me such genuine admiration on how beautiful and magnificent the world we’re living in is. It made me question my existence and my purpose. Even though I was already there, I had to pinch myself at times because it felt like I’m in a dream. I felt like I was living in a fairytale. And I sincerely hope you’d experience that same feeling too. Have you changed your mind yet? I hope this inspired you to take this once in a lifetime trip! ❤
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