Our boat at the end of the earth

Our boat versus their boats:

Nonetheless, it’s quite the successor to the little red ship:

Each day on our recent trip to South Georgia and the Antarctic was chock-full of both big and little moments (not including the time spend in bunk trying to make the world slow down and stop rocking by force of will alone). These moments left us with no choice but to evaluate that ever-present “tyranny of the urgent” that we all live through. This may sound clichéd, but bear with us and we’ll show you some of the pictures and share some of these moments.

To be put into a tub of steel and ferried to some of the most remote areas on the planet. To spend several days walking the beaches and hills of South Georgia. To sit with hundreds of thousands of penguins. To watch the mammoth elephant seals practice for next year’s mating battles. To kayak with the humpbacks. To walk, even briefly in Shackleton’s footsteps. To be given the chance to watch life and death unfold. For a couple of sheltered Bay Street lawyers, these were experiences and ultimately treasures we are not normally afforded here in Toronto – except perhaps through nature documentaries or the increasingly depressing nightly news that continues to baffle us.

Situated in a bowl of towering, glacier-capped mountains, crawling up the sides of the valley, and clinging to the banks of the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia marks the end of Argentina and the end of the earth.

With only the Channel and the Tierra del Fuego national park between you and the Drake, the sense of anticipation for what lies just out of sight is almost unbearable. Although Antarctica itself is fairly well travelled, you can’t help but feel something of a kinship with those explorers who looked out onto the same harbour as the start of their adventure.

It wasn’t long before we picked up the first of what were to become our constant companions over the next three weeks: the albatross. It only seems fitting to end this post by stealing a little from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”:

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name.

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