Last week, Karsten ‘The Ice Warrior’ Horne shared his trip to Antarctica during which he pondered on the effects of separation, isolation and the very positive effect this had on his family unit as they experienced this together.
So I asked Karsten the key considerations in putting together this sort of itinerary for a client.
Planning is key.
“You need to plan well ahead, with a specialist Antarctica operator, especially if you want to go on a specific date or participate in an optional activity like kayaking, in which case you may need a 12 to 18-month lead time. It’s also essential, especially for these more extreme adventures, if the person on the other end of the phone has been there,” he said.
The physical preparation before you leave town is crucial.
“In Antarctica you are getting on and off zodiacs twice a day, walking a fair bit and your body needs to be ready. Although all expeditions to Antarctica take place in the summer so it’s not quite as cold as you might expect, but still cold,” he added.
“There is no better way to connect with nature than on the water under your own steam, at your own pace. So if the client wants to kayak then having some prior experience would be beneficial.”
As Karsten says, “On most adventurous trips it’s all about the antimalarials but a trip like this is more about Phenergan. Although, these expeditions are so well equipped that even if you are prepared the doctor on board will hand out a more effective solution. When you cross The Drake Passage, you might just need to strap yourself in and ride it out.”
I’ve done India lots and I’ve learnt that more often than not drugs can give not only some guarantees but more positive days on the trip. However, once I had a nasty, short-term cross reaction between two medications so it’s good to know the substances before heading off.
The notion of disconnection is one that interests me as it really stresses people.
“It takes a few days to get used to the solitude but before long you crave it. You start hearing noises you didn’t notice before. However, solitude in Antarctica doesn’t really exist. One day a group of us were kayaking in a quiet cove several kilometres from the ship and our guide asked as to stop paddling and just enjoy the silence for 20 minutes.”
He explained that initially the silence was quite deafening, then one by one new sounds enter your head.
“There is the brash ice sloshing around you, icebergs creaking in the distance, a penguin plops to the surface on your bow, a glacier carves way off to your left. Then best of all, the dozens of tiny sprays of water on the horizon start moving closer in unison accompanied by a high pitched song. You are not disconnected in Antarctica; you are more connected than you have ever been before.”
I’m a big one on processing and experience, understanding you need the time to make sense of the busy times.
“We always enjoy a few days in a nice hotel as a stepping stone back to reality. Buenos Aires is a fantastic stopover as it is so rich in culture. If you can afford business class, then do it. There’s nothing worth more than unfolding yourself after an incredible experience like this.”
Have you travelled to Antarctica? Share your experience with us below.
Share this story