the continent for 2 ½ days through the roughest seas on the planet, the Drake Passage. Most of the passengers were seasick during the entire passage, but when we finally arrived the sight that greeted us was breathtaking: white snow, ice mountains, glaciers, puffy clouds, and a black sea beneath us. The scene was entirely black and white; even the omnipresent penguins were wearing tuxedos!
My trip was billed as an “adventure cruise” for would-be polar explorers. Each day was new and exciting and different: snowshoeing, mountain climbing, swimming in the ocean, camping on the ice, kayaking, spending time on sea ice floating right past seals, penguins, sea lions, whales, and orcas.
In addition to the truly unique sights and adventures, another profound impression the white continent left me with was this: what a perfect, pristine, untouched, unchanged, uncontaminated place it is. It’s like a monochrome Eden. As inhabitants of our planet, we humans have done a thorough job of redecorating God’s creation everywhere with sometimes disastrous results. Thankfully, the Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959 by every country on the planet, stated that no country would own any part of it and that the entire continent would have two guiding principles: “for scientific research and to promote peace.” Almost without exception, those principles are currently adhered to by 100% of all countries in the world. How often does that happen?
So, there was pure water, clean air, and no trace of mining or any commercial endeavors except for a few now-abandoned 150-year-old whaling stations. I never saw so much as a cigarette butt anywhere. We scrubbed our boots every time we left the ship and every time we returned so that no contaminants could be transmitted from the ship or from the ice. We were not allowed to make any sudden moves or loud noises, nor were we allowed to approach any wildlife closer than ten feet. When we dug snow caves and igloos to sleep in, we restored the area to flatness the next day so that penguins wouldn’t fall into a hole and be unable to get out. In every way, we had to respect and honor the continent and its natural inhabitants.
I will always remember this dramatic, pure white, and undisturbed Eden and be grateful to God for the opportunity to experience this wonder of His creation.
In His Name,
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.