Of course, it will be different for everyone. It may be coming onto the ship’s bridge on the first sea day to find wandering albatross, the world’s largest flying bird, flying circuits around the ship. Or it might be looking into the seawater at the shore and seeing both the grace of a penguin flying underwater and krill, the biological building blocks of Antarctica, swimming in the shallows.
Your first sunrise over the icescape that is Antarctica is special. So is hearing a crack in a glacial face and watching as it’s followed by hundreds of thousands of tonnes of ice cascading into the water in a calving.
I have a friend and for her, Antarctica is about walking in the footsteps of the polar explorers, particularly those of the heroic age. For her the big moments are toasting that most revered and flawed explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton by his graveside at Gytviken, South Georgia, seeing Elephant Island where his crew of the Endurance awaited rescue for more than five months, and visiting one of the bases set up by early British scientific expeditions along the Antarctic Peninsula.
Different people have different reactions to Antarctica. For one it may be the excitement of spotting a leopard seal basking on an ice floe, for another it is a sighting of an Arctic tern that provides that moment of joy. Nearly all of us are excited to see a pure white snow petrel (with only black legs and eyes) that are regarded by some as the most beautiful bird in the world.
Most of us hope that a significant holiday will see you return with at least one memory of a lifetime. Antarctica is likely to have several of those crowded into every day, resulting in the most memorable holiday of your life.