+27 (0)82 4000 470 rob@robcaskie.com

“Ánd now to conclude. Is it worth doing?” Ask any member of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and you will receive the reply: Yes, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, and would you go again? Rather! Such is the call of the South.” – quote by T.H. Orde-Lees who served on Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition. Hence the term, those little white voices keep calling me back.

Those who know me well are aware that when we planned to move on from Fugitives’ Drift Lodge, I wanted to add some strings to my bow. It was a deliberate exercise to try and become proficient enough at telling Antarctic exploration stories, that I hopefully be invited onto an expedition team going south. My first trip to the White Continent was 14 December 2011, with White Desert out of Cape Town in a Russian Ilyushin Jet. As Life comes full circle, my 21 year-old nephew, Sam, is working for White Desert in Antarctica this season. What an opportunity! It was the centenary of Amundsen attaining the South Pole on 14 December 1911. I have been coming every year since 2011, thankfully with Karen’s blessing. This year, after a lost season due to Covid, I am back in this extraordinary place, having a fantastic time.

Last night we returned to Ushuaia, due to come alongside the pier at 11pm. The wind, however, had other plans. Winds running at a constant 37 knots prevented our docking until 8.30am this morning. Law states no docking unless winds below 30 knots (54km/hr). There were some anxious moments, with a charter flight waiting to fly guests to Buenos Aires, new guests embarking at 3.30pm, boarding passes to be issued, passports to hand back, luggage to get off, and a complete turnaround of the ship. We accept and distribute all new guests’ luggage to cabins before embarkation. New food, liquor, parkas, waterproof trousers, boots, etc had to be loaded, and distributed to cabins along with bunkering plenty of fuel, since this trip includes South Georgia, and Antarctica. A LONG way. To say that it has been a manic day would be an understatement of some proportion. Literally 5.5 hours between guests leaving the ship, and new guests arriving. My heart bled for the housekeeping staff trying to sort cabins out, change linen, get family units prepared, etc. My dear Argentine friend, Agustin, said I looked tired at lunch. We are all spent this evening.

When interested folk ask me about itineraries to Antarctica, I always recommend strongly taking a trip that includes South Georgia. The wildlife concentrations and abundance of Life make it absolutely unique. Suzana always says that when God takes a holiday, she takes it on South Georgia. Most of the members of this Expedition Team I have been fortunate enough to work with before. We are a close-knit bunch, and refer to the group as our ship family. The energy and camaraderie within the team is especially good this season. We feel blessed abundantly to have this work, in a place I love dearly.
Thank you for your ongoing interest and support. I hope you will enjoy my messages from the White Continent.

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