Antarctica is one of the greatest adventures that anyone could have. It is the final frontier, the dream of a lifetime, and an incredible journey. It will remain a top five travel experience in my life. From sailing through 1,000m high mountains of ice that towered over the ship to taking a polar plunge, Antarctica was full of dreamland experiences that are better than your wildest imagination. To share it all with you would take me months, but I’ve chosen five of my favorite experiences to show you and take you to Antarctica with me. Enjoy the ride. Continue reading
I failed. Attempts two and three at going aloft on tall ship Bark Europa were unsuccessful. So many others rose to the challenge yet I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I returned to my cabin teary-eyed and discouraged after every try. I was a failure; I had let myself down. Why was I making it so difficult? Why couldn’t I do it? I struggle with accepting defeat. I didn’t want to hear how I can try again or that I don’t have to do it or that it’s okay. I felt angry to even hear the words. I would rather others look me in the face and say, “Wow, you really blew that one” than to try and make me feel better. I’m angry at myself for being defeated and I’m angry at others for encouraging defeat. I need someone to say that it’s not ok to quit. I need someone to say that I’m not a coward so stop acting like one. I need to climb up those rungs with someone behind me that won’t let me down until I do it. I need to try until I can’t see through the tears or until I fall then I need to try more. Why do we say it’s okay when someone can’t conquer their fears? Why do we immediately default with accepting fear? Is it unhuman to expect greatness?
One of our duties on Bark Europa was to be on watch during our sail through the 450NM dreaded Drake Passage on our way to Antarctica. I had heard about the Drake and how extreme it can be. It’s known as one of the most difficult sailing passages in the world and the Dog Watch from 12 pm until 4 am sounded nasty. My Dog Watch, however, was remarkable! I was alive. The ship took on a life and made me feel in control and powerful. At the helm, I was controlling the wind and the sea and the sails. It was a huge rush. At 4:00 am after my watch, I could have run a marathon I was so full of adrenaline. Continue reading
The training on Bark Europa began almost immediately. Crossing the ocean properly with a square rigger under sail is a team effort and we were encouraged to participate. We weren’t even 30 minutes away from the fueling station and we helped with setting the sails. Enthusiastically, we moved about listening intently to the instructions given to us by the permanent crew. I wanted my adventure to be as much a learning experience as possible and I was eager to participate. Without the internet, we had to rely on the crew for all of our knowledge. Instructions were given for watch responsibilities, basic sail theory, line handling, steering, and navigation. In order to fully participate, climbing the rigging was an essential part of our training. I thought climbing would be the least of my worries since I don’t fear heights and I’m experienced in rock climbing and rappelling. As I made my way up the ladder over the growing ocean waves, I quickly felt out of my element. This was going to be more difficult than I anticipated. Continue reading
Antarctica was everything I envisioned it would be. It was the most dramatic landscape with unique, unexpected experiences daily. There is so much I want to share with you and so many photos that I wish I could just post it all in one day but I’m going to try to pace myself. I’ll start at the end of the world, Ushuaia and bring you on a fantastical journey to Antarctica and back aboard tall ship, Bark Europa. Continue reading
2014 was a kick-a** year! I visited 12 new countries, I finally crossed off an African Safari and scuba diving, and I completed every item on my 2014 list. Somehow, I think 2015 is going to be better. Is it possible? Who knows? I’m certainly going to try and to start the year off right, I’m sailing to Antarctica with Bark Europa. I will visit the last two continents that I haven’t set foot on, Antarctica and South America, and embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Continue reading