Sleeping Under the Stars in Antarctica

Sleeping Under the Stars in Antarctica

I have a bucket list as many travelers do, but I’ve done things on this trip that I could never have even dreamed up to add it to a bucket list.  One of those things is camping on Antarctica, while going to the “7th continent” has been on the list for a long time I never even knew it was possible to camp there.  I certainly didn’t expect to be able to sleep under the stars sans tent in one of the coldest places in the world.  But it seems this trip really has been what dreams are made of.

As we hopped in our zodiac at sunset, watching the sun disappear and the moon illuminate the sky I knew that it was going to be a special night.  The zodiacs had a hard time finding a good spot for our landing, making our trip to Dawrian Island feel even more remote.  Navigating through the floating icebergs and attempting to pull up on shore without disturbing the penguin colony made the trip all the more unique.

Once on shore we all scattered to find our own piece of the Antarctic peninsula to sleep on for the night.  We set up our bivy sack to keep the moisture out, tucked the sleep pad in to separate us from the icy ground and then stuffed our two sleeping bags on top and zipped everything up.  Each part did it’s job amazingly well and we stayed dry and warm all night.  Comfort wasn’t part of my expectation when I signed up to camp on Antarctica, but it sure made the star gazing more amazing to not be shivering.

If you really want to experience the magic and wonder of Antarctica first hand there is no better way than camping in silence on ice while icebergs float by.  Maybe that sounds a bit idealistic and even crazy when you have a wonderful, warm room on a luxury ship.  But, this was the highlight of my Antarctica tour, not only because it was much more comfy than I expected, but because of the adventure of it all.  When will I ever have the chance to fall asleep to penguin calls again in my life?

Of course the pristine condition of this magical and wondorous place make camping here a little more difficult and preserving that for others is part of the rules of engagement.  This wasn’t your typical camping experience for a lot of reasons, first of all no campfires, which means no s’mores since no food or drink is allowed on the continent.  In addition no amateurs are allowed, which simply means you have to have an expert to oversee the entire experience.  But don’t worry these rules not only preserve this amazing landscape and the wildlife, but add to the experience instead of detract.  It was true “leave no trace” camping.

As we sped away from Dawrian Island in our zodiacs I got the above shot and felt a whole new appreciation for what it took for Shackleton and Ross to survive their Antarctic expeditions.  After all they didn’t have the technology that kept me warm nor did they have a zodiac waiting to pick them up, after just one night in the unforgiving conditions of Antarctica, to take them to a warm breakfast and hot shower.  I can cross Antarctic Explorer off the list of possible future professions, but I will still always have fond memories of my one night sleeping at the end of the world.

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Comments

» Pan @ The Gravel-Roadin' Guru :
May 11, 2013

Looks beautiful. Why no food or drink on the continent?

LOCAVORista Reply:

Pan, it was awesome! There is no food or drink on the continent to insure that the wildlife is not disturbed by human presence and no food is introduced to their diet that shouldn’t be. Considering Antarctica is not technically owned by any one governing body everyone is doing a good job of keeping it clean and pristine!

» jazda konna Sulejów :
Jan 3, 2015

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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