Polar, cold? challenge? Or… a dream? For most people, polar travel is the highest level of travel, and the two poles are the most difficult places on the planet to reach. Only when you have seen enough of the scenery elsewhere will you think of fulfilling your long-cherished wish. As a female photographer born in the 1970s who has traveled to the Arctic and Antarctic for more than 20 times for eleven years, my footprints have started from the sub-Antarctic (Malvinas Islands, South Georgia, South Shetland Islands and New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic islands) Traveling to the Antarctic Peninsula and then to the Ross Sea in East Antarctica, you can capture the tranquility of the polar regions, the unparalleled remoteness, and the beauty of life in your images.
Before starting this article, I closed my eyes and thought about the deepest impression that Antarctica left on me. It must be her clarity and purity, which made me know what the earth is like. Turning the clock back to November 2012, I visited the Antarctic Peninsula for the first time as a special photographer on the Norwegian commercial polar expedition ship “FRAM” (FRAM), and walked into Antarctica such as Amundsen, Scott, and Shackleton. The world experienced by pioneers of exploration. Although the traces of human civilization have spread across most areas of our planet, Antarctica has never changed for thousands of years!
Heading to the poles
As a photographer who is “on the road” all year round, I have long been accustomed to the hardships of travel. Not to mention heading to Antarctica, the most mysterious and remote white continent in the world. Although it was just a small episode, I believe that many years later, I will still remember this special moment: on November 21, 2012, that day, I was crossing the famous storm belt of the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula. There were huge waves outside the window, and I was lying alone in the cabin, enduring the turbulence of my internal organs. I only had one thought in my heart: “Never come again.”
The “time tunnel” of “Devil’s Strait” takes me back a hundred years ago. In early 1914, the British explorer Shackleton published a recruitment notice in The Times: “Expeditions to Antarctica require meager pay and require working in extremely cold, dangerous areas with no sunlight for months. Safety is not guaranteed. Return, if the application is successful, the only thing you can get is honor.” Antarctica, the paradise of explorers in the past, this eternal sleep world, on the one hand exposes its unparalleled beauty to the world, on the other hand it is layered with layers of The ice-capped mountains and the chilly and chilling air have sternly rejected countless curious visits from humans. It was not until a century ago, after the great expeditions of Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton and others, that the mysterious veil of Antarctica was slowly lifted.
The explorers certainly would not have expected that a hundred years later, more ordinary people would set foot on this pure land, not for adventure, but for travel. In the polar regions, one of the most wild places on earth, this isolation has finally become a thing of the past. Modern and comfortable commercial polar cruise ships bring more ordinary people, rather than scientists and explorers, into this remote continent. I’m aboard Norwegian Hurtigruten’s Forward, a polar-purpose expedition ship I’d just sailed four months earlier on a trip to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
However, unlike the North Pole, the Antarctic is really far away. After flying for more than 30 hours, we arrived in Argentina, the farthest country from China, but caught up with a general strike in the capital Buenos Aires and the airlines suspended operations, so we had to stay here for one more day. This kind of force majeure No one can do anything about it. In the early morning of the third day, the charter flight to Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost island of Argentina, finally took off. After getting off the plane, we rushed directly to the dock. In order to regain the lost time, we set sail soon after boarding the ship.
”Expeditions to Antarctica require meager pay, and they require working in extremely cold, dangerous areas without seeing the light of day for months. There is no guarantee of a safe return, and if the application is successful, the only thing you can get is honor.” ——British explorer William Sands in early
1914 Kelton published this recruitment notice in the Times
The people who were still immersed in excitement soon discovered that the ship had quietly sailed into the Drake Channel. At that time, I was chatting easily with my new group members in the living room on the fourth floor. I felt the ship began to shake, so I went back to the room and lay down. I had experienced seasickness before, so I made full preparations, including ear patches and seasickness medicine, but it didn’t seem to work and I still felt uncomfortable, so I even skipped dinner. After sleeping for most of the night, I felt a little better, so I struggled to get up to wash up, and took a look out the window. The scene was unforgettable for the rest of my life: the dark gray sea was rolling with huge waves, like a violent pirate, stirring the entire sea area like A pot of boiling water that is constantly boiling. Even a 10,000-ton ship like the “Forward” was shaken like a leaf. Feeling sick, I hurriedly lay down and let my body rock rhythmically with the bed, as if I was back in the cradle of my infancy and fell asleep.
There are endless snow-capped mountains, dots of floating ice on the dark blue sea, and penguins pacing leisurely on the shore.
On the route to Antarctica, the ship arranges for tourists to land in Zodiac boats every day.
Maybe he fainted, so he slept until the next morning. When he got up and looked at his pale face in the mirror, he went to the dining room to drink some porridge, and then went to the deck to get a breath of fresh air, and then he felt better. Antarctica, Antarctica, give everyone a blow before they know their true colors. Reminds me of the “Cross Song” of the Chinese scientific expedition team members about crossing the westerly belt: not saying a word, eyes dull, not eating three meals, limbs weak, five internal organs churning, six gods without a master, seven ups and eight downs, unable to lie down for a long time (9) Get up, very uncomfortable. It’s really apt.
On the morning of the third day on board, the “Forward” had successfully passed through the westerly belt. I woke up from my dream and felt everything was calm. When I opened the curtains, I was immediately stunned by the snow-capped mountains! Outside the window, there are endless snow-capped mountains, dots of floating ice on the dark blue sea, and the stormy waves have long disappeared, as if nothing had happened. My symptoms of seasickness miraculously disappeared. I picked up my camera, put on my jacket, and rushed to the deck. It was windy outside, but the temperature was not low, probably around freezing. We sailed into a harbor surrounded by mountains. The air was exceptionally clear and transparent, the sun poured down without any obstruction, and the snow-capped mountains and ice floes shone crystal clear. Everyone was stunned by the beautiful scenery in front of us. From this day on, we officially entered In the waters of the South Shetland Islands on the edge of the Antarctic continent.
Visitors to the Drake Passage
On this route known as the “Classic Antarctic Peninsula”, the ship will arrange to land in a Zodiac once or twice a day. This is the only continent in the world that has not been inhabited by humans. The only “Garden of Eden” left makes me feel unreal, because the “civilized world” we come from has been transformed by humans so that we cannot see its true colors. Everything is in civilization. The order and hierarchy established in society are now diluted by the white snow.
Looking back over the past hundred years, explorers have tried to approach this cold wonderland at the southernmost tip of the earth with various purposes and desires. However, we can reach it so easily, which cannot but be said to be lucky. The precious first experience of the Antarctic Peninsula in just 11 days ignited my greater curiosity about the most lonely and desolate place on earth. The idea of ”returning to Antarctica” has been lingering in my mind. Big winds and waves can’t stop me from yearning for this white continent. So in the next 12 years, I returned to Antarctica 12 times, and this white continent became the place I miss the most on the planet.
He said nothing, his eyes were dull, he didn’t eat three meals, his limbs were weak, his internal organs were churning, his mind was wandering, he was restless, he couldn’t lie down for a long time, it was very uncomfortable.
——Chinese scientific expedition team members’ “Cross Song” about crossing the westerly belt
captain. The captain is very important for the Antarctic itinerary. He is responsible for the entire crew team and is responsible for handling routes, navigation and other related matters. The level of the staff on the ship directly determines the experience of the entire trip.
Where is Antarctica? Where is Antarctica? There is a definition of “Antarctica”: in geographical terms, the Antarctic Antarctic Circle is the area south of the 66°33′ south latitude. The Antarctic Circle is an astronomical way to determine the permanent boundaries of the Antarctic region from the angle of the sun’s rays at the two poles. It is also the boundary between the southern temperate zone and the southern frigid zone. However, the 1959 Antarctic Treaty defined the area south of 60° south latitude as the scope of application of the treaty, that is, the places protected by the Antarctic Treaty, including continents, islands, oceans, and oceans within Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Ice shelves and more. So people define this area as the Antarctic region, but do not confuse it from a geographical perspective. The Antarctic I mentioned in the article usually refers to the Great Antarctic category.
As the widest strait in the world, the Drake Strait is located between the southern tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands, close to Chile and Argentina. It is an important strait connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the south, and is also the boundary between South America and Antarctica. This shortest sea route from South America to Antarctica is the only way for many countries to go to Antarctica for scientific research.
The Drake Strait is 300 kilometers long, 900-950 kilometers wide, with an average water depth of 3,400 meters and a deepest depth of 5,248 meters. The surface water temperature ranges from 6°C in the north to -1°C in the south. The temperature changes significantly at 60° south latitude. This area is called the “Antarctic Convergence Zone”, where the subpolar surface water and the colder Antarctic surface water are bounded. , the salinity and oxygen content of seawater both increase from south to north. This area is quite rich in plankton, and krill are abundant in the south.
Because it is located at the intersection of the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, the seawater in the channel flows from the Pacific Ocean into the Atlantic Ocean, and is a component of the Antarctic Gyre with the largest flow rate in the world. Due to the influence of polar cyclones, the easterly circulation and the westerly circulation converge here, and coupled with the high latitudes of the southern hemisphere, hurricane waves from the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean are gathered, and sometimes the waves are as high as ten or twenty meters. Historically, it has caused countless ships to capsize to the bottom of the sea, earning it the notoriety of the “Devil’s Strait”. Icebergs that have slipped from the Antarctic continent often float in the strait, causing navigation difficulties.
At the beginning of the 16th century, Spanish colonists occupied the South American continent. In order to cut off other Western countries’ trade with Asia and the Americas, they blocked shipping routes. After the slave ship of the Englishman Francis Drake was attacked by Spanish colonists, Drake narrowly escaped and in order to retaliate, he robbed Spanish merchant ships at sea. In 1577, Drake accidentally discovered the Drake Passage while evading pursuit by Spanish warships. This discovery provided Britain with a new route into the Pacific that did not require passing through the Strait of Magellan. The strait has since been named after Drake. In fact, the first time to pass through this strait was the Flemish expedition led by Dutchman Willem Schouten in 1615. Before the Panama Canal was opened to navigation in 1914, the Drake Strait was one of the important sea lanes connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and played an important role in trade from the 19th to the early 20th century.