As I sit here at the edge of the world, looking over this spectacular view of Antarctica, with Icebergs, surrounded by Glaciers, there is only one thought running through my head.The thought of all the people who helped me to get here. Mom, dad, Mr.S and Mr. N, my friends, Sister, Kamal for his camera… The below thought never seemed truer.
People are people because of other people.
– Bruce Courtney
This was what I wrote in my journal while up there at Neko Harbor. We also were given a postcard that we had to write to ourselves. They will reach us in 6 months or so. I put down one goal that I want to achieve in 6 months. I think it will be super interesting to see if I achieve it.
What an epic last day at Antarctica it was! The afternoon was POLAR PLUNGE time. This was probably the first time we were not sweating in the mud room with 6 layers on. There was so much energy in the room. There was even music playing on the PA system. A lot of people were kinda apprehensive about it. Some even petrified. I for one was super excited about it. But as we got closer to the door to take the leap of faith, literally, I started to worry a little. Everyone around me was passing on their nervous energy to me, I guess. And there was one unsaid belief- if you can do this, you can do anything in life! I was confused about what kind of jump to do. A dive or a canon ball… or… and it was my turn already. It only came down to just jumping now. And so I jumped. It was like a thousand needles piercing my body. The first thought in my head was ‘Salty water!’. It was cold salty water. I could not even instruct my body to reach the railing to help myself up. I tried to speak and all that came out was half eaten words shivering- “Eeh ieh sa Coldh!” As soon as we were done, all of us one by one, ran across the ship two decks higher to take a dip into the hot water pool and get our body temperatures back to normal.
I sneaked away post lunch for an hour to do a mini rehearsal, with Piano Man Zak and the Penguin Whisperer Becky for we three were to be a part of the solemn Bell Ringing Ceremony! Needless to say, my favorite part of the day was the Closing Ceremony. It felt like I was in school again. All I remember of school is March Pasts, sports day, the ceremonial slow march and hours and hours of rehearsals of that. It was exciting to be a part of a ceremony that felt so familiar and so special. The closing ceremony or the Bell ringing ceremony is done at the end of the journey in honor of the ship, the expedition and the Captain of the ship. Jumper our Expedition Leader was giving the commands while we slow marched and took our positions next to a big brass bell with shovels. Zak rang the bell, each time jumper called out a name to honor. The list included “Robert Swan, the environment, 2041 and all of us” ting ting. ting ting. ting ting. And finally, we had three bells for the ship Ocean Endeavor and we all saluted the captain while he blew the ship horn. I had goosebumps the whole time. It was a pretty emotional last day for a lot of us.
Post lunch we had a session with Nigel and Mattias titled- “Where are we now?” that helped us reflect on our leadership journey so far. Rob gave us a talk today on Public Speaking, filled with great tips for all, on how to nail any of the presentations, we will need to give when back home. I know I have one coming up! More in the notes.
You must be wondering about the answer to my previous question of, “What does Antarctica smell like?” from my post- ‘Iceberg Ahead’. Well, it smells like… honestly, it smells like Red Seaweed and Penguin poo. Seal poop is even worse and considered the most foul smelling amongst that of the entire animal kingdom. That’s one fact that I don’t want to verify or even rebut. But I am not saying don’t go to Antarctica because it smells like Poop. Antarctica actually smells like sunshine because when it is cold and sunny, you can almost feel the sun through all your 5 senses. Penguin poo is just something you will notice if you deliberate on that thought enough. It’s like being in a car full of people when someone farts. It’s bearable and no one acknowledges it and the thought eventually passes with the great view outside the window. Besides, most of the time your nose is too cold to smell it even. And there is just so much happening around you all the time, that there is no scope for anything but just making good memories.