Whales at the end of the Earth

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Antartica - the opposite of the north pole. The opposite of what most people would think of when planning a vacation. It is the coldest, dryest, windiest continent on earth, so why would one woman choose to vacation there? Keiko started her adventure to Antartica by flying to Buenos Aires and boarding a boat in Ushuaia but her journey really began long before that. 

What would move someone to choose the harsh winds and the churning seas of the Drake Passage over a pristine beach in the tropics or sipping wine in the Italian countryside? Maybe it is the thrill of seeing wildlife that few people rarely venture to see, like dedicated penguin parents, raising their young in the harshest of climates. Or maybe someone would go to see humpback whales who have one of the longest migratory trips of any mammal, over 5,000 km, scouring the seas for their biggest food source, krill.

Maybe it is the allure of the south pole's history and famous explorers who braved seas and elements, risking their lives to go where no one had ventured before. Maybe it was James Cook, the famed first explorer to sail across the antartic circle. Perhaps it was Sir Ernest Shackleton, the famous Antarctic explorer, who's diary the book, Endurance, is based on, which has inspired millions for his bravery and leadership.

"I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." - Ernest Shackleton

Many things can inspire people to explore and whatever first inspired Keiko's journey to Antartica, she took the first step of a long journey south. She hopped on a flight and boarded the ship to southern seas, embarking on the trip of a lifetime. 

This grin on her face, with a humpback whale surfacing mere feet away, says it all. When she sent me this picture I knew she had an adventure that would remain in her memory forever. This photo is what makes my job worth it, helping people fulfill their adventure, even if they want to go to the end of the earth!

Regards from your friendly Antartica expert,

Sherry Howland

P.S. If you are ever inspired to explore Antartica here is the trip Keiko took.


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