“If you want it, you must will it. If you will it, it will be yours.” – Rinaldo of Happy Feet
There are 2 activities offered to us on this Antarctica expedition cruise – kayaking and camping.
I chose camping because kayaking will take away more time from my landings as you will be in the water kayaking most of the time before you do your landing when everyone in the ship are almost leaving, I’m clingy so I don’t want to miss my friends haha! Also it is more expensive and I can’t swim if something goes wrong. Although, kayaking looks fun it’s just not for me. So I signed up for camping only as I haven’t done camping yet in the snow!
On our 2nd day in Antarctica, after doing couple of landings the expedition team decided to hold the camping that day because the weather was good. I signed up for camping because I thought we are going to sleep inside the tent sharing our past camping experiences over hot chocolate, etc..
But no, we have to dig our own “grave” and do BIVOUACKING for a night! Haha! Uh oh… I have done bivouacking before but at the beach because it was too hot inside the tent and I know there won’t be animals or insects crawling at night unlike in the mountains. Perhaps, bivouacking in Antarctica won’t be so bad and if ever a penguin decide to sleep beside me it is more than welcome!
Those who did not sign up for this activity were kidding us, campers, that we were all stupid for doing this, because we have a warm and cozy bedroom in our ship and we chose one night to sleep outside, cold, in the snow! But I thought, that was precisely my point for signing up anyway.
It just felt weird when the non-campers were waving their goodbyes on us whilst onboard the zodiac going to the Portal Point island, it felt like its their last goodbye to us, haha! From the island, we can see our ship and they also see us from afar they even take photos of us, perhaps laughing, making a stupid decision.
I got worried during the briefing because I feel cold easily and it’s just our 2nd day in Antarctica itself and I don’t want to get ill yet! So I packed everything that can make myself warm including packing a Vicks Vaporub in which my friends laughed at, that’s my first layer, lol! Then I had 2 more layers of warm clothes apart from the 2 layer of sleeping bags (provided by the ship).
And guess what, it actually felt warm inside except that I have to sleep sideways so that my back is not touching the ice or snow and I was feeling a bit claustrophobic.
So you have to shovel your own hole. As I don’t know how to shovel a snow (hello I’m from Dubai, lol!) my fellow TBs, JR and Leo, helped me to dig my hole when they saw me that I only managed to dig one straight line after they all finished digging their holes!
The only thing that I have wished our expedition leaders have done was to have a social activity before we all sleep like we always do when I was still a mountaineer because what happened was it was more of digging then sleep right away afterwards, but I think that was the main purpose of this activity – to experience the quietness of this continent.
It was so quiet that I have to clear my throat sometimes just to make sure I haven’t lost my sense of hearing. I was waiting to hear any sound coming from a whale or footsteps from a penguin, but none! Since we are all tucked in our sleeping bags inside our holes, I have no one to share the bliss I was feeling at that moment, I can’t believe that I was actually experiencing being one or alone in the universe. It’s strange but I was enjoying it, if you can call it meditation, maybe it was!
In my moment of solitude, I’ve come to congratulate myself that I’ve made it this far, that I’ve actually made my dreams come true without any help from anyone. I’ve come to appreciate my husband more for understanding and supporting me with this dream. I’ve come to thank the universe for conspiring to make this happen. I’ve come to glorify God for making it possible even when I was in doubt all those times. I wanted it, I will it, and now it is MINE.
I felt peaceful as I closed my eyes and I can’t even remember if I ever had a dream that night. It was perfect. Almost, not until I heard some small sounds coming from outside my sleeping bag, like little footsteps of penguins perhaps? But it sounds more like it’s drizzling. I opened my sleeping bag and peeked outside. Then I realised that yeah it was indeed effing DRIZZLING!!! Dammit haha!
We still have like 2 hours more to spend at the camping site but it was becoming uncomfortable already that we all had to get up and pack our stuff soon. But since we had to cover back the holes we dug, we got drenched and felt very cold! We all can’t wait to go back to our ship to have our breakfast and hot shower.
Whilst almost everyone hated the experience or at least the last part, I was telling people I enjoyed it despite of. Not because I am quite used to having uncomfortable feeling during camping sometimes (I’ve experienced heavy rains and flooded tents in the past!), but I am just grateful for the experience. How many have camped in Antarctica? Not much ;)