Ex­pe­di­tions to the last true wilder­ness

Kate Pow­ell meets with po­lar ex­plorer Sun­niva Sorby for an ex­clu­sive in­sight into the chal­lenges, re­wards and hid­den se­crets of the enig­matic South Pole.

Signature Travel & Lifestyle - - Profile -

Any true trav­eller knows that lux­ury is more than sim­ply cost, more than sim­ply com­fort. The time and free­dom to search for some­thing more, to chase ad­ven­ture sim­ply be­cause it’s there, and even to chal­lenge your­self to evolve: these are the more re­ward­ing lux­u­ries af­forded by this short life that Po­lar Lat­i­tudes’ Global Sales Di­rec­tor, Sun­niva Sorby, val­ues. “We have a range of guests – they’re al­ways well-trav­elled, well-ed­u­cated, they want ser­vice and pro­fes­sion­al­ism – but they also want to achieve that un­re­quited dream within,” she con­fides.

Sun­niva is the phys­i­cal in­car­na­tion of the ad­ven­tur­ous spirit. Born in Nor­way and raised in Canada, she made his­tory as a mem­ber of the first women’s team ever to reach the South Pole on foot.

To­day, she leads ex­pe­di­tions to Antarc­tica aboard Po­lar Lat­i­tudes’ bou­tique pas­sen­ger ships.

Break­ing the ice ceil­ing

In her twen­ties, Sun­niva was in­vited to join the first team of women that would ski across Antarc­tica to reach the South Pole.

The ex­pe­di­tion re­quired each mem­ber of the team to pull a 100-kilo­gram sled be­hind them for a gru­elling three-month journey, but on 14 Jan­uary 1993, the women pre­vailed.

“It was mi­nus-76 de­grees Cel­sius, and we were stand­ing at the place where the earth squeaks on its axis,” she tells me. “It was in­cred­i­ble.”

I am thrilled to learn that to­day, Po­lar Lat­i­tudes proudly car­ries the torch for women in ex­plo­ration and sci­ence with the Home­ward Bound ini­tia­tive for women, which serves to in­crease women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sci­ence and pol­icy de­ci­sions that af­fect our planet’s fu­ture.

Lux­ury in ex­trem­ity

Antarc­tica is an ex­clu­sive des­ti­na­tion few have been lucky enough to wit­ness.

Is­land Sky houses just 114 pas­sen­gers in all-suite ac­com­mo­da­tion. Ships also fea­ture live en­ter­tain­ment, a voy­age pho­tog­ra­pher and a li­brary equipped with Wi-Fi and lounges, of­fer­ing com­fort in this oth­er­wise un­for­giv­ing cli­mate.

How­ever, hid­den within life’s great­est chal­lenges are also the great­est op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow, and Sun­niva un­der­stands the ap­peal of Antarc­tica for this very per­sonal as­pi­ra­tion.

“It’s trans­for­ma­tional be­cause Antarc­tica is a place that re­flects our great­ness,” she tells me. “It re­flects power in the ice and the snow and the his­tory, and all the things that live down there. It re­flects our tenac­ity, and our hu­man spirit. It’s the only place in the world where we go that we can’t take any­thing; we just ex­pe­ri­ence it.” po­lar-lat­i­tudes.com

02 01 Stun­ning ice-scapes viewed in com­fort from MS He­bridean Sky © Po­lar Lat­i­tudes 02 Up close and per­sonal with na­ture © Po­lar Lat­i­tudes/Thomas Kokta

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