Below 60° S (Selma project)
Antarctica is most likely one of the very last places on Earth that still hasn’t been reached by civilisation. Virgin and primeval it allows you to admire its beauty in all its glory. Nevertheless, it also protects it. Even today getting there is not an easy task as it requires many sacrifices and overcoming various adversities. If you want to fully appreciate its beauty, you should try getting there the same way the first Polarians, like Amundsen, Scott or Shackleton, did; sailing through the sea. Only then you can properly understand and appreciate the meaning of their exploration and the obstacles they had to face. Only then you can get to the places unreachable in any other way as sailing will allow you to explore narrow canals and enter the bays diligently guarded by drifting growlers.
I myself had the pleasure to participate in the Antarctic expedition as a member of the spring cruise to Antarctica at the turn of October and November this year. I sailed as part of the S / Y "Selma Expeditions" crew which has been exploring the waters of Antarctica continuously for the past several years in 3-months. Led by captain Piotr Kuźniar, the 2015 Selma expedition set a world record in sailing on a sailing yacht. At that time only a few yachts had managed to reach the Ross Sea. However, none of them sailed that far down the South. We set out on our journey from Ushuaia, through the Beagle channel and Drake Passage; the sea strait between the Tierra del Fuego and the Western Antarctic, connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific. Its Northern border is marked by Cape Horn; the area where one of the strongest winds on our Planet, formed as a result of temperature differences between Antarctica and warmer air in medium South latitudes, is blowing continuously. On top of that, these winds are compounded by the accelerating air masses entering the straits from West to East through the Southern Andes and the mountainous Antarctic Peninsula.
In addition to low temperatures those winds are the main obstacle to reaching the coast of Antarctica. However, once the turbulent ocean and seasickness are dealt with, a land where nature trustfully lets us into its world can be reached. That makes us able to feel like just another species living through and overcoming the harsh conditions of Antarctica. Just like the curious penguins and the whales staring at us from below the water’s surface. Let’s appreciate the fact that this enormous continent is still able to host us like that.
– National Geographic, January 2019 (Polish edition)