My Antarctica Journal

Antarctica Travel Journal by Natalie ParkerAntarctica Travel Journal by Natalie ParkerAntarctica Travel Journal by Natalie Parker

At sea.  We crossed the Antarctic Convergence overnight and are now in the Southern Ocean.  The temperature outside has dropped below freezing.  See some whale spouts in the distance.

Every single night.  Sometimes during bits of time the next day.  Our boat would chug along in the Antarctic waters and I would write in my journal.

After breakfast, rest up and get into our gear.  Zodiac to Brown Station on the Antarctic Peninsula.  Officially step on our seventh continent for the first time.

This was the trip I want to remember most.  But it was the most challenging journal I’ve ever kept.  Snow.  Ice.  Penguins.  Icebergs.  Run up to the bridge.  Head out to the bow.  Watch the sun not actually set.  Share a meal.  Gear up.  Launch the zodiacs.  Down the gangway.  Repeat.

We walk up the beach and follow John to the top of the mountain.  We have to help forge the path because there isn’t one.  Hike has amazing views of iceberg central.  We sit up there and watch the penguins down below.

It was all wonderful but such a blur that if I did not capture what we did by the next day, it would run together.  How many times did we go outside on the top deck to watch the birds?  Checking the map on the wall to get the name of the landing site spelled correctly.  Was it the safety briefing or the itinerary talk that was delayed because we were busy chasing whales?  Don’t even bother trying to remember how many whales we saw.  This was the first time I almost ran out of pages.

We descend and sit watching the penguins for a while, one in particular that keeps stealing rocks from others’ nests for his mate.  An elephant seal lies close to the nests but doesn’t disturb them — he belches and then goes back to sleep.

I would often sit in the ship’s bar with Mr. P and our friend who came with us.  We’d sip happy hour drinks and I’d jot in my journal.  Our friend kept remarking how she would need to photocopy my pages someday.  There was no way she was going to remember it all.  Just one long stretch of awesome.

Back to the bridge for rounding Cape Horn.  John reads a poem as we round it.  “I, the albatross that awaits for you at the end of the world / I, the forgotten soul of the sailors lost that crossed Cape Horn from all the seas of the world . . .”

Being diligent enough to keep a travel journal is challenging.  I have no idea how people travel blog. I have no desire to travel scrapbook.  Experiencing something wonderful.  Getting it all down in order to relive it.  It’s a clever balancing act.

Christmas Day.  Our first white Christmas.  The snow is coming down sideways.  Chad delivers a Christmas message from one of the 1911 Scott diaries.

Sometimes I’d rather have been napping but I kept at it.  It’s challenging but so gratifying.
I made my travel journal for this trip using the Sapphire Geometric design from Echo Park (I wanted something nice and blue that would remind me of the ocean and ice).  Visit here to learn about my travel journal tradition and here for how I make my own travel journals.  See pictures from our Antarctica trip here.

Photos from Antarctica

Iceberg Alley near Port Charcot, Antarctica by Natalie Parker

I’m wading through all the photos from our trip, deep in my post-vacation organization process.  Mr. P handled the camera for a lot of the time and used the continuous shutter release feature (not wanting to miss any penguin moments), so when he pushed down the button it took 2-3 shots.  I’m carefully choosing the best of each.

First up:  create a slideshow on a DVD for visiting relatives.  Next:  put together a photobook.  Eventually, eventually, I’ll figure out a way how to scrapbook this all.  We had 2 days at sea, 5 days of landings with 2 locations a day, then 2 days back.  Let’s not even start on our time in South America, I’m barely through those photos.

And of course, one of my priorities is picking out some favorites to share with you!  Enjoy!

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Petermann Island, Antarctica by Natalie Parker

Seven.  It’s an auspicious number.  Right now it’s an overwhelming sense of . . . overwhelming.

Walking around in the snow this December, I wondered aloud, “how am I going to scrapbook all of this?”  Mr. P and our friend chuckled and we started talking about how I might go about it.  While climbing to a 50m viewpoint.  In Antarctica.

I still haven’t quite made sense of the trip nor how I’ll ever document it.  I did have fun, though, dreaming up what seven photos I would pick for a layout about seven continents (which wasn’t my idea, Mr. P told me such a layout was necessary).

Berkeley, California by Natalie ParkerNotre Dame de Paris by Natalie ParkerGiza Pyramids, Egypt by Natalie ParkerTerracotta Warriors, Xi'an, China by Natalie ParkerSydney Opera House, Australia by Natalie ParkerUshuaia, Argentina by Natalie ParkerPetermann Island, Antarctica by Natalie Parker

Nary a vacation goes by that I don’t wonder about shots I could have gotten.  This shot is overexposed because the camera settings were off, but I love it anyway.

Brown Station, Antarctica by Natalie Parker