29 REA­SONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT ANTARTICA

An In­dian on a mis­sion to travel the planet checks “seventh heaven” off his bucket list and presents ways you could too…

Hindustan Times - Brunch - - Front Page - Text By Arvind Jain

1 How of­ten are you likely to start your va­ca­tion with a char­tered flight to the south­ern-most city in the world (Ushuaia, Ar­gentina), know­ing that all the 150 pas­sen­gers on this flight will be your co-ex­pe­di­tion­ers for the next 10 days?

2Marvel at how Earth’s seventh con­ti­nent seems like a to­tally dif­fer­ent planet.

3 Chuckle over how your hol­i­day feels like a boot camp, with 7am wake-up calls and 8am ar­rivals at the mud­room to board a Zo­diac (an in­flat­able boat) for the wa­ter-cruis­ing and is­land-land­ing ex­pe­di­tions.

4 Be aware that the ex­otic wild crea­tures in their own nat­u­ral habi­tat are as fas­ci­nated by you as you are by them. (If you’ve never been poked by a pen­guin, you re­ally haven’t un­der­stood what cu­rios­ity is.)

5 Put to­gether lots of anec­dotes about cross­ing the Drake Pas­sage from South Amer­ica to Antarc­tica. This is like a nat­u­ral roller­coaster ride over and be­tween 11-me­tre-high waves. This lasts for two days and makes your cruise beds dou­ble as swings!

6 Make travel friends like no other – from an eight-year-old kid who is a part of a cli­mate change study group team, to an 80-year-old man who still loves to ex­plore.

7 Dive into ice-cold wa­ter for the rit­ual po­lar plunge, and swim with whales.

8 Know that even veg­e­tar­i­ans are served de­li­cious food, and not just bread, pasta, and salad.

9 Smile when you think of the mem­o­ries you’ll have of an on­deck BBQ party, sur­rounded by ice­bergs and snow-cov­ered mountains!

10 Kayak in the calm sea, and en­joy the show­ers from the whales’ blow­holes.

11 En­joy the ad­ven­ture of be­ing on a boat that jumps on ice sheets to break them.

12 Pray that your Zo­diac is not bit­ten through by a seal or you’ll have to rush back to the ship to dis­em­bark.

13 Laugh hys­ter­i­cally think­ing about your sum­mer wear in In­dia as you bun­dle up in three to five lay­ers of cloth­ing, com­plete with dou­ble socks and wa­ter­proof boots, all adding up to your own body weight!

14 Ap­pre­ci­ate the sun as you never do when you’re home: you’ll be lucky to see it even twice over your whole trip. But when you do, you’ll for­get to blink as you try

15 You’ll be sur­rounded by pen­guins! Some (the species called mac­a­roni) even have yel­low feath­ers! Oh, happy feet. to take in all the beauty. And the sun­sets over crys­tal clear wa­ter, floating ice­bergs, and snow-cov­ered mountains? Spec­tac­u­lar!

16 Don’t for­get to en­joy the seals, sun-bathing on sheets of ice, to­tally ig­nor­ing the preda­tory whales lurk­ing in the wa­ter.

17 Learn pa­tience (you’ll have to), silently hold­ing your cam­era ready for an ac­tion shot of three dif­fer­ent species of whales, and their wa­ter bal­lets.

18 Dis­cover how easy it is to live with­out tech­nol­ogy as there are no cell­phone tow­ers in Antarc­tica.

19 Con­tem­plate camp­ing and hik­ing in the icy wastes.

20 Learn how lovely it is to live a pol­lu­tion-free ex­is­tence.

21 Bring back thou­sands of pic­ture-per­fect pho­tos!

22 Pad­dle­boat stand­ing up, en­joy­ing crys­tal clear po­lar wa­ter, be­tween whales on one side and the mountains on the other.

23 Gape at how artis­tic the ice­bergs and ice for­ma­tions are, mim­ick­ing ev­ery­thing from an arch to a tower to a huge wall.

24 Think about the ef­fects of cli­mate change. Even this pris­tine, un­in­hab­ited-by-hu­mans land now suf­fers from avalanches, larger-than-usual ice­bergs point­ing to the melt­ing of the pole, and the chang­ing be­hav­iour of the pen­guins.

25 Add to your knowl­edge about whales, seals, pen­guins, pho­tog­ra­phy, ex­plo­ration, cli­mate change, and so on via the ex­perts on the ship.

26 Dress up for the cap­tain’s cock­tail party, and the maitred’s wel­come/farewell din­ners, and en­joy watch­ing movies in the lounge. (Whales out­side the win­dow, Jaws in­side.)

27 Learn to live with­out plans, ready to put on your parka and re­port to the deck at a mo­ment’s no­tice to see some­thing spec­tac­u­lar that the ship’s crew has just spot­ted.

28 See re­search sta­tions and mil­i­tary posts of sev­eral coun­tries, all of whom are wait­ing for the Antarc­tica Treaty to ex­pire so they can claim the land as their own. This is the only hu­man civil­i­sa­tion in Antarc­tica.

29 Re­mem­ber these ex­pe­ri­ences when you’re back, and be­come an am­bas­sador of en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion, pledg­ing to pre­serve, re­spect and ap­pre­ci­ate Mother Na­ture!

Photo: GETTY IM­AGES

1 BREAK THE ICE 1. Ob­serv­ing pen­guins in Antarc­tica is like watch­ing a real-life an­i­mated com­edy.

Photo: WWW.THEWHITECONTINENT.COM

2 2. Mar­vel at the artis­tic ice­bergs and ice for­ma­tions all around you.

Photo: GETTY IM­AGES

3 CUT THE ICE 3. En­joy crys­tal clear po­lar wa­ter be­tween whales in one di­rec­tion and mountains in the other, while pad­dle-boat­ing stand­ing up

Photo: WWW.THEWHITECONTINENT.COM

4 4. Cruise the Antarc­tic Penin­sula on the Bo­real ship

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