I didn’t expect to wind up with a collection of photos of icebergs. But in January 2010 my mother and I went on a trip to Antarctica. She had worked as a research chemist and was very much into science, so Antarctica was her idea of a great vacation. She had wanted to go to the bottom of the world for about as long as she’d known that everyday people could go there. She often travelled with friends, because the only travel my dad could tolerate was a trip to the beach, just a few hours down the road. He expressed incredulity that someone would want to spend thousands of dollars to see snow and ice. (He was the type of guy who, in his retirement, would go to three or four grocery stores in a day to take advantage of the specials.) So my mom kept putting off her trip to Antarctica.
Then my dad died and left my mom a lot more money than she expected. Once she got over the shock of his death, she announced that she was going to Antarctica.
By then she’d started showing signs of memory loss, and I was a little concerned about her going on an expedition like that by herself. She was in her late 70s, and none of her friends were particularly interested in such an adventurous trip. But I was. I’d starting thinking I’d ask her to take me with her, when one day she asked if I wanted to join her – on her dime. Naturally I said yes.
It was quite the trip. The company partnered with National Geographic, so it was very education-oriented. There were scientists on board, as well as professional photographers and even a celebrity guest: Buzz Aldrin! And not surprisingly, all of the passengers (only about 100 or so) were pretty interesting folks, and I’ve actually kept in touch with a number of them.
Our daily activities included hiking on the little islands off the Antarctic peninsula, kayaking in some of the calmer waters, cavorting with penguins (lots and lots of penguins), going out on little dinghies in search of a variety of seals, visiting the Palmer research station and the Port Lockroy historical site and museum, relaxing on the boat and watching the albatross in the air and the whales in the water, and taking pictures … of icebergs. I’ve included a sample in this post. Enjoy.