Land ho – first ice

The crossing to Antarctica has been faster than expected, thanks to extremely good weather and a very able ship. We started sighting seals and penguins in the water shortly after lunch on Wednesday and by mid afternoon the icy cliffs (or cliffs of ice – not sure at a distance) of the South Shetland Islands leapt out of the fog and presented us with our first view of this remote continent. White craggy peaks loomed large in the distance and soon we neared our first stop, the 2041 E-Base on King George Island.

The 2041 E-Base is a permanent fixture on Antarctica, not established by governments with agendas as with most other bases, but by one man and a small team dedicated to the preservation of this continent. It isn’t manned 365 days a year, but as of tomorrow its web-cam and weather data should be live 365 days a year. The base is powered entirely by renewable energy, which is remarkable in such a bleak and inhospitable climate.