Antarctica travel diary – Part 3

18 Feb

Finally – a first visual contact with the Antarctica! Philipp Katzer depicts moments for eternity.

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When we experience beautiful things for the first time, then sometimes this moment remains in our memory forever. So I hope I will never forget this Monday morning in February. How I climb up the stairs to the deck, still quite absent-minded from all the days at sea. How, in the moment before arriving on deck, I am convinced that we will never see land again, that we have travelled over the edge of the human world. And how it blows me away, simply blows me away, when I see it for the first time – the sixth continent.

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The image I save in my mind at this moment is a painting: in the foreground deep-blue, nearly black water, behind it – out of nothing – white mountain peaks illuminated by the sun like a singer on stage, a rock blinking through every now and again, while the deep-grey sky towers high over everything. These perfect colours, these soothing contrasts: dear nature, stop showing off! I simply cannot get enough of this marine Himalayas.

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We are sailing through the Bransfield Strait, past Elephant Island, an ice-covered speck of land some 250 km off the coast of Antarctica. Next to me Mathias and Richard, the asisi team. Together with Yadegar Asisi, we are on our way to Antarctica. On the MS Hanseatic, we have travelled from Ushuaia at the tip of Southern Argentina and stopped at the Falkland Islands and South Georgia on our journey towards the Antarctic land mass. This journey will decide whether Asisi is going to dedicate a Panorama to the world of ice at the South Pole.

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This morning, he stands in front of us on the upper deck for a long time. In the middle of the icy polar wind blowing. He hasn’t slept much, not that he shows it. He is beaming with joy. He is absorbing the nature with all his senses. He is the only one of us to have experienced how the fog that surrounded us slowly dispersed and how white mountains suddenly emerged from the thick South Atlantic soup.

He was the first to see Antarctica.

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I then want to know if he has already come to a decision.

Is there going to be a Panorama on Antarctica?

“It beats me how anybody could have the effrontery to claim they can reproduce this nature here”, he replies.

“It’s not possible, it’s just too overwhelming. But I’m going to try anyway.”

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If the weather plays its part, if it doesn’t get too cold, we will have six days to explore Antarctica. Six days to moor at volcanic islands, visit abandoned whaling stations, get right up close to glaciers. In a few hours we will set foot on the mainland of Antarctica. 14,000 kilometres from home. Another moment for eternity.

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