I may have been able to achieve a continent landing at Base Brown, but my dear old dad had been busy kayaking during this landing, as a result, remained yet to achieve an actual landing on the Antarctic continent.
Luckily, we had one more opportunity to hang out on the continent, so it was with a seriously happy face that I once again landed on Antarctica, this time with Papa Burne (my father) in tow.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by this absolutely adorable Weddell seal! These seals have the most southerly distribution of any seal on the planet, so it was pretty cool to see one at a more northerly part of Antarctica.
Being with my dad brings out the truly terrible jokester in me, so it came as no surprise to hear totally awful seal puns coming from my mouth.
I actually spent time contemplating whether to call this fella ‘Seal-o Green’ or ‘Sealine Dion’… just slightly cringe worthy!
Getting around at Stony Point was a little more difficult than it had been at Base Brown, and on this particular outing, crampons were most definitely required.
Amazingly, by the time I had fumbled my way through crampon application something pretty unusual happened…
The sun appeared!
Well, sort of.
During an Antarctic summer the sun never truly sets, but that doesn’t mean you get to see much of it!
There were only two instances on our voyage in which we saw blue skies, and the small bits of colour you can see poking through the clouds in these photos was one such instance.
From the landing point, we were encouraged to make the ascent up this snow covered peak.
I could have climbed to a much higher vantage point than I did, but Papa Burne was cursed with a bit of a bum knee and was really feeling the pain of such a steep and slippery climb. I could certainly have pressed on alone, but I found myself wanting to stay with my dad instead.
We may not have made it to the highest vantage point, but the views were still certainly nothing to sneeze at!
After spending a fair while taking photo after photo (seriously, my memory cards were getting stretched to absolute capacity) and soaking up the stunning scenery around us, it was time to descend the hill and return to the shoreline below.
Once we got back down we discovered that good ol’ Seal-o had not felt any inclination to move from his lounging spot, and the sun came out just a little bit more – making for some even better photographs.
He was so relaxed in fact, that he didn’t even bat an eyelid when I crept up a little bit closer.
I only have one Antarctica related regret, and that is that I went there without a telefoto lens! Sometimes the Antarctic wildlife would be almost close enough to touch, and other times it was so far away that my beloved 12-40mm just didn’t cut the mustard. It did okay, but you better believe I will not be without at least a 150mm lens when I go on safari later this year.
Eventually, it was time for us to depart from Stony Point and head back to the vessel. Papa Burne was pretty damn stoked with his continent landing, and it meant a lot for me to be to be there with him.
Over the years, the vast majority of my travels have been done solo (hence the name of this blog) and for the most part, travelling on my own has been an incredible, life affirming and truly special way to see the world. I will always be a solo traveller at heart, but despite all this, having such an amazing adventure with my father by my side was like no adventure I’d ever had, and if I could do it all over again, there is nothing I would change.
I have always loved my father, and we have always had a rather special bond – but going on this trip together strengthened that bond even further, and provided me with memories that I will treasure far more than many others.
I owe so much to my father.
He worked so hard to give me a good life, to give me opportunities, to educate me, to teach me, and essentially to help me grow into a person that I can be proud of being.
He taught me how to respect all – and to treat every single person with the same dignity and kindness that I’d expect in return. He taught me to question, to enquire and to always strive to gain more knowledge. He taught me critical thinking and he taught me to be strong in the face of adversity. He taught me complete and utter honesty, even if he did so without teaching me the tact that would ideally go along with it.
Most of all, he taught me to be fearlessly independent – a trait without which, this blog would never have existed, as I would never have had the drive and courage to go on all these travels by myself.
Without my father, I would not be the person that I am today, and essentially, all my adventures and all the wonder that my life has been filled with – he is responsible for.
So on this day, to see his face light up with such unabashed joy and unparalleled excitement, well, it’s those memories that I will cherish for many moons to come.
Getting to Ushuaia: Ushuaia is well connected to Buenos Aires and El Calafate
Oceanwide Expeditions: An 11 night Basecamp Ortelius voyage starts at around $9650 USD
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: Solo travel is amazing, but travelling with family can be unbelievably special