Saturday, January 08, 2011
Having Left The Drake Passage...
I first heard about Students on Ice ten years ago when I was in high school. While volunteering at the local bingo hall one night, a friend asked if I would ever consider going to Antarctica. The first thing out of my mouth (other than a huge, curious grin) was, "Yes!" I had never thought of it before, but it pulled at something in me. To make a long story short, we never made it on that trip, but SOI's maiden voyage in 2000 stayed on my mind for the last decade. Two weeks ago, when I arrived at the airport and started to meet everyone as the expedition got underway, I worried that I wouldn't be able to express to anyone how truly meaningful it was for me to have finally made it here.
Our word of the day two days ago was "ineffable" - describing how something is inexpressible. How appropriate, I thought. I've been wondering about how I'm going to describe everything to people when I get home. I have been thinking and talking about Antarctica for ten years how, I have to show some photos and tell some stories, don't I? But ...how?
This is the Last Continent, the last bit of the earth to be discovered by explorers and for a long time, the continent of Antarctica didn't appear on any world maps. When it finally did, it was a vague scribble at the bottom of the page, labelled "Incognita" - Unknown.
I read this quote shortly before I left for the expedition; it struck a chord with me and will undoubtedly stay with me for some time. And for now, it is the only way that I can express how truly meaningful, and ineffable, this experience was for me: "It is not down on any map, true places never are."