Explorations shouldn’t be judged only by results, but by efforts made and by taking into account the circumstances in which they were done.
José María Sobral
geologist and Argentine Explorer,
pioneer in hibernating in the Antarctica (1901)
It is believed that Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great expeditionary, was the one who published the following announcement in The Times in 1914: “Men wanted for dangerous journey. Low salary, bitterly cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger and little chances of returning alive. Honour and recognition in case of success." What happened later was history, and the story of one of the most famous expeditions to Antarctica: The Voyage of Endurance.
A century has passed since the years in which the success of the Antarctic feats was measured by those who went further into a southern location or by how much time they spent on those frozen lands. Fortunately, at present, we know that the white continent is a much more pleasant experience, but an adventure nevertheless. And, there are few places in the world where anyone can so strongly experience the sensation of being on virgin land.
From a modern expedition boat, conditioned as a luxury hotel, commanded by a specially qualified captain used to navigate these icy waters, and with a team of specialised naturists willing to educate any and every soul, we can perceive an Emperor Penguin in a distant iceberg. The captain changes course as if it were a bicycle and advances breaking ice in search of a better sight. On deck, the only noise heard is the sound of ice breaking. Unique.
At the break of dawn, just a few hours earlier, between giant waves, a zodiac leads us to the shores of a white island. It is the arrival of the morning, there is not much to see, but we feel we are watching it all. And this is how we could describe the Antarctic experience: a sensory experience almost meditative, difficult to express.
While returning to our civilization, we discover that silence will never be the same for us, and neither the concept of immensity. And whomever returns is no longer the same person, but someone similar and with the strong feeling that something has changed forever.
History will not recognise us like great explorers who have risked their lives to conquer terras australis incognitas, but the fortune of having been there is already an essential part of our own history.
Ecotourism and adventure