Last night’s BBC4 documentary ‘The Secrets of Scott’s Hut’ marked the 100th anniversary of Sir Scott’s South Pole Expedition, and allowed us inside the eerily preserved hut where he and his ill-fated team took shelter. If like us you were captivated, you may well be itching to don the Gore Tex, pull on a balaclava and set out on your own Antarctic adventure.
Our travel expert Emma was lucky enough to do just that with the pioneering Antarctic Cruise company, Quark Expeditions. Here she tells us about some of the experiences she had – which we can assure you if you do the same, will just be the tip of the iceberg...
Beginning your journey in Ushuaia in Argentina you’ll retrace the path of many a doomed ship on the notorious Drake Passage, before the sublime landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula slowly draws you into its clutch. Alternatively, if your sea legs aren’t so great and you want to avoid the “experience” of the Drake Passage, we also offer fantastic part fly/part cruise packages.
As you draw closer, the glassy clear seas appear to melt into the sky, only interrupted by awe-inspiring icebergs and barnacle covered whales breaching lethargically from the deep.
Slightly less grandiose, but equally unforgettable, is the smell of krill which is shovelled into the mouths of marauding baby penguins and regurgitated by galumphing herds of elephant seals.
You’ll also see ghostly traces of Scott’s 1912 expedition, like discarded cans of SPAM, along with old whaling stations where tanks of whale blubber were stored.
All this, coupled with the skeletons of animals littering the shores, really brings it home how unforgiving this Antarctic landscape is and makes you feel privileged to be one of the few humans to have set foot here. For more information on Antarctic and Arctic cruises - including the most established of the cruise companies, Quark expeditions - give one of our experts a call on 020 7337 9010. Most Antarctic cruises take place November to March, but it’s definitely worth booking now to bag yourself a cabin.