Skinny Dipping in Antarctica


Okay. Not quite skinny dipping in this picture,  but I couldn’t let you see the whole gory thing, could I? And yes, we did do it, although the water was in our bath and not in the ocean!  Actually the take on ‘skinny” is not just about dipping into the cold air of the Antarctic but also one of the down sides of cruising which is weight; that which goes on the body not in the suitcase. These pictures are taken on a cruise my husband Alan and I took around the coastline of South America which included a few days sailing into the Antarctic during the winter months of 2008.

penguin colony in AntarcticaAs you can see we met some interesting locals during a stop in that well-known British seaside resort of the Falkland Islands. One thing that the natural life programmes do not tell you is that they may be cute but they have serious problems with body odour. The announcements over the tanoy were unnecessary to inform us that we were passing a colony. The smell warned us well in advance.

One of the first sights encountered in the Antarctic is an iceberg. You know how they look quite small on television? Well, they are not. They are huge. Bigger than the ship so as we glided by we looked up and up and up. I spent so many hours looking up at these magnificent sculptures that I needed a massage to return my chin to its normal downwards position. There is a smell to the ice. It is hard to describe; fresh and clean and it almost burns the insides of your nostrils with the cold. And another thing, the bergs are blue. The blue is unlike any colour I have ever seen. Caused by the crystals impacted within the ice it gives the bergs depth and highlights the contours of all of the mystical shapes.

If you think that your roads are busy then have a look at Iceberg Alley. The good news is that all of these beautiful beasts are wedged into their spots and unlikely to move without something major happening. The bad news is that ‘el capitane’ had to negotiate his way through and that made him a wee bit uncomfortable at times. Did I manage to lose weight on this cruise? No way, but with daily visits to the gym I was able to indulge in afternoon tea and cakes once in a while and disembark the ship without any extra pounds.

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