Antarctica - February 4, 2018...A rare opportunity for travelers...We're in the Polar Circle..Paradise Bay nd Pleneau...


This is where we are now, the Polar Circle.  Soon, we'll be boarding the Zodiacs again to explore this area.  The ship hosted an outdoor barbecue today.  It was outstanding!
What can we say?  There are no words to describe the elation we felt this morning as we crossed into the Polar Circle, heading as far south as this ship is allowed in these waters as the sea heaved up and down congested in ice.  This stunning experience has left us reeling in awe and in love with this mysterious place, Antarctica.
The deep blue in the iceberg is due to crevices in the ice.
There are no hotels, no restaurants, no tourist traps and no roads or highways.  There is ice, ocean, and wildlife only accessible by sea or air with only a handful of visitors allowed to enter each year (round 37,000) and a mere 30,000 worldwide, allowed to step onto its islands and glaciers to partake of its majestic beauty, Antarctica.


We’d never have been satisfied to embark on one of the “cruising only,” non-expedition type cruises that the other 30,000 passengers experience. This numbers aren't exact but estimated since the records we could find online don't break it down for "cruising only.
Pristine landscape in Antarctica.
It wouldn’t have been enough for us to "cruise by."  Getting up close and personal with the wildlife and the terrain has changed us, as we've changed in many ways over these past 5¼ years since we began our journey.
Each iceberg has its own distinct shape and design, a product of nature.
Do we feel lucky?  Ah, we’re beyond such a flippant perception of good fortune befalling upon one’s head.  We worked hard for this.  We sacrificed a lot to be here.  We scrimped.  We saved.  We lived frugally. 
It was two years ago we booked this cruise knowing it wasn’t within the realm of our usual budget and we’d have to tighten our belts to make it happen.  
Many icebergs create spectacular shapes, portals, and openings.
And, we did.  Living a life of perpetual travel requires us to carefully pick and choose what matters most to us.  Our decisions may not appeal to the average traveler. 
A closer view of the above photo.
Many travelers seek to fulfill their objectives of visiting certain sites when they arrive at their preferred destination.  Often, they have only one or two weeks to accomplish this.  And, once they do, they’re content and satisfied.  We get this.  

During each maneuver in the Zodiac, the scene becomes more unique.
Had I been able to travel more in our old lives, we’d have felt the same way…see and do as much as possible, in a limited period of time, going home from the vacation/holiday to face a painstaking routine. 
They have to unpack, do laundry, clean the refrigerator and head to the market, the health club and ultimately, if applicable, the office or another place of employment. 
At times, we all talked about how unreal it is being in this magical place.
On the few occasions, we were able to travel, we experienced all of these.  But, now, it’s different.  We feel no sense of urgency, other than to catch a flight, board a cruise and get ourselves to or from the next location. 
At times, the water was calm and almost still.
Instead, we embrace the moment, longing for nothing, remembering everything, emblazoned in our hearts and minds or from the simple task of checking one of our previous post now numbering at 2015 posts as of today. 

How we got here baffles us.  It baffles us in the same way as this morning at 6:40 am when our captain announced over the loudspeaker in our cabin that we'd all better look outside "where the big show was going on."
When we spotted this massive 10 story circle, we all squealed with delight, knowing we'd be able to get closer.
We're in the Polar Circle, for an ice show one can only imagine.  We grabbed the two cameras and began taking photos of the spectacular display.  Oh, Mother Nature, what glorious gifts you have bestowed upon us. 

Today, we share only a handful of photos from a stockpile into the 1000's that in itself has kept us busy trying to determine which we can use to share with you here, based on limitations of the Wi-Fi connection in this remote part of the world.
Tom, who's always seen images in clouds, did the same with the icebergs, seeing a face here.
Our main photo was taken this morning standing on our veranda.  The remaining photos are from yesterday morning and afternoon visits to Paradise Bay on foot and Pleneau when we were on a Zodiac boat with friends Marg and Steve as the four of toured together with a fabulous naturalist, Marie, who drove the boat and explained details to us as to the sightings we encountered.
We'll continue to do our best to keep it all sorted out, based on our location of the previous day and the current day.  Thank you for sharing this experience with us.
We had to keep our distance from this delicate structure which would be a disaster for us in the small boat, where it to collapse near us.
P.S.  As I prepare this post today, we can hear the loud roar of the ship cutting through ice as we head toward the Drake Passage on our way back to civilization.  Wow!
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 Photo from one year ago today, February 4, 2017:
At first glance at the Huon Valley Visitors Centre, we thought these were baguettes, big and small, when in fact they were rolling pins.  For more photos, please click here.

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