I recently had the opportunity to take part in the trip of a lifetime onboard a polar expedition to Antarctica. The trip began with a short stop in Buenos Aires for some alfresco dining and quick visits to the San Telmo market, La Recoleta Cemetery, and Casa Cavia. From BA, we took a straight shot south to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, where mountaintop glaciers began popping up along the horizon on our afternoon hikes. In the port of Ushuaia, we boarded our Quark Expedition boat, headed through the Drake Passage, toward the Antarctic Peninsula.
The Drake Passage, having earned a “rock and roll” (the other kind) reputation for some of the roughest seas in the world, didn't disappoint. The “Drake Shake,” as our captain described the 25-foot swells rocking our boat, felt something akin to a 48-hour amusement park ride. Day three on the water, we were woken up on a still, quiet boat by a pre-dawn call, instructing us to gear up for landfall. I pulled aside the curtains in our cabin, still groggy from a heavy dose of motion sickness medication, to find a spectacular, otherworldly scene. Outside our window, softly reflected in the pre-dawn light, lay a stunning, sculptural world of ice, with sweeping snow-covered mountains on the horizon and small groups of penguins swimming alongside the boat. And that was just the tip of the iceberg (quite literally!) of what lay in store for us once we changed out of our pajamas into layers upon layers of long underwear.