My favourite travel memory - Niklas Nilsson
Already as a child, Niklas Nilsson, travel consultant and photographer at PolarQuest, was dreaming of visiting Antarctica and its magnificent nature. At a travel show in Gothenburg, he came in contact with PolarQuest and shortly after he booked his most extraordinary adventure so far – an expedition cruise to the world's most remote and pristine continent with the ship Ocean Nova. Read his words about this unforgettable trip, and watch a short slideshow below.
In early November, I packed my bag for the long journey to the southern tip of Argentina and the city of Ushuaia. Located in the Tierra del fuego region, which directly translated into English means the land of fire, the city's surroundings offer beautiful nature and interesting wildlife and is a fantastic place itself, but after one night in a hotel and a day trip in the national park, it was time to get on board the ship and leave the port of Ushuaia to slowly make our way through the beautiful Beagle channel. Now a 21-day expedition to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica was waiting. The first stop for the trip was the windswept archipelago of the Falkland Islands and already there we met our first penguins, the charming Magellanic penguins that nest in earth holes, and the slightly brasher rockhopper penguins who move smoothly and easily between steep cliffs and tall tussock grass. The Falkland Islands are a real hub for bird enthusiasts, and in addition to endemic bird species and penguins, we got to visit rookeries of the beautiful black-browed albatross. Being able to sit just a few meters away from these birds is a fantastic experience few are blessed with.
We left the Falkland Islands after two intense days, aiming towards the Subantarctic island South Georgia, known as a wildlife haven with Although watching documentaries with Sir David Attenborough had given me a glimpse of what to expect, our first landing is something I will never forget. In fact it was overwhelming. Stepping ashore on a beach with thousands of king penguins and hundreds of colossal elephant seals in the first streak of dawn light is, to say the least, an unforgettable experience, and the amazing scenery was framed by majestic mountains and glaciers. Even though it is many years ago, I always get goosebumps from the thought of South Georgia's beaches.
During our days on the small island, we visited several amazing places and were able to tick off several different penguin species and albatrosses. In addition, we earned some historical knowledge about the polar adventurers and whalers that came here in the past. Eventually, it was time to say farewell to South Georgia and we finished our visit with a cruise in the magical Drygalski fjord. Magnificent albatrosses and elegant snow petrels followed the ship as we continued our journey towards Antarctica.
Approximately two days later, the first icebergs that travels with streams from the large Antarctic ice cap started to appear. Some were quite small, but others were real giants. Shortly after we finally reached the Antarctic peninsula, we prepared ourselves for our first excursion – a landing close to an Adélie penguin rookery. It was out first encounter with this species, as it only breeds on the Antarctic continent.
The next morning, we got up early and left the ship for a challenging hike to the top of a minor mountain. During the hike we were accompanied by diligent chinstrap penguins, and once at the top, we were rewarded for sweating as we found their nest here, and the view from their home was really amazing.
Sometimes, Antarctica's huge glaciers even covers the high mountain peaks that decorates the landscape. A Zodiac cruise here can be compared to a vernissage, with nature as its artist. The icebergs with blue and white shades appears in astonishing shapes, and on the ice floes seals such as Weddell seal, crabeater seal as well as the top predator, the leopard seal, can be spotted. After just over two and a half weeks onboard the ship, the amount of impressions to digest were almost too many, just in time to say goodbye and start our journey back to the main land.
Below, please watch a slideshow that Niklas himself has put together.
Niklas NilssonTravel consultant & photographer firstname.lastname@example.org
600 miles south of Cape Horn we find the world’s most isolated and remote wilderness – Antarctica. The grand and beautiful Antarctic landscape leaves its visitors in awe. The continent and surrounding islands are home to millions of penguins, seals and whales. Worth mentioning is the subantarctic island of South Georgia, a haven for anyone interested in wildlife and widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places on earth.