Final goodbye time and it’s better to go quickly. It’s painful leaving. One day I will return to the ice. Just a few more waves then Lorna, Robert, Ian and myself board. Lorna is now very tearful. Dr Ann Ward has followed us on board and I am surprised to see her as we’d already said goodbye. Unfortunately, it transpires that one of the women passengers is still on board as she’s suffered some heart pains. However, she is adamant she wants to disembark, has pills to take and feels she will be alright shortly. It seems better than sending her back on a five or six hour flight so Ann agrees to take her off. It’s not a great way to start a trip in Antarctica but hopefully she subsequently recovered well and the rest of her time was more enjoyable and less eventful than the way she arrived.
Antarctica Travel Cheap Photo Gallery
We take our last photographs before the back hatch is closed and the Hercules taxis down the ice runway and takes off with a great whoosh into the air. As when we came, the few of us are like peas in a giant pod and there’s so much room we can all take a row each to stretch out. There are no announcements of safety instructions and it’s up to us to use the seat belts or not.
The steward, if that’s his title, brings round an enormous bar of chocolate so I break off a chunk and that’s the inflight service. As before there’s a table at the back with cheese and tomatoes and bread. I bite into a tomato and the juice shoots out in a vivid stream. It creates its own fashion statement but I still have to remove it with some elbow grease. The artist Matisse was once asked by Gertrude Stein, the poet, whether when eating a tomato he looked at it the way an artist would. Matisse replied, ‘No, when I eat a tomato I look at it the same way anyone else does. When I paint a tomato then I see it differently.’ When I clean the tomato stain I see it differently as well.
Robert is as ebullient as always and we chat away about our past adventure activities and our future plans. Every so often he gives me a bear hug and shouts out at the top of his voice about my being at the North Pole, when he was trekking on his record breaking way there and now we’ve met in the Antarctic, after my journey to the South Pole. Perhaps it doesn’t read as unique on the page but we are pretty hyped up by that point and it sounds very magical to us. Due to the engine noise we are all wearing earplugs so fortunately no one else seems to hear or is disturbed.
I remember every moment, falling on the ice, climbing up the mountain ridges, standing at the Pole. We gradually quieten down and the memory of being in Antarctica becomes everything. ‘To a mind that is still, the whole world surrenders.’ The lack of sleep starts to catch up with all of us and Ian is first to go, then Robert, then Lorna. First of all I want to take some photographs of my sleeping companions and some last ones of the Antarctic out of the portholes, then finally I also surrender.
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