"Antarctica left a restless longing in my heart beckoning towards an incomprehensible perfection for ever beyond the reach of mortal man.
Its overwhelming beauty touches one so deeply that it is like a wound."
EDWIN MICKLEBURGH, Beyond The Frozen Sea.
Five months since our return, I still dream of icebergs. At night, azure crystals and meringue towers carve through the green valleys of Kent where we live, refusing to accept their place in memory, cutting back into humdrum reality. Waking it only takes a moment's inattention to catch in the corner of an eye, a whale fin gliding through the water below, and a rush of air erupting on the other side. This was not an ordinary trip, these were not ordinary days in our lives.
So we offer you some of our photographs, but understand these cannot portray more than a fraction of the beauty of the place. While we told ourselves beforehand that this was a once in a lifetime trip, now we ask ourselves whether we could bear not going again.
There are so memories from this trip that we almost feel overloaded. There are too many highlights to share. We'll try a few.
In the Falklands being sat high on a cliff edge with black-browed albatross wheeling through the air just feet away, or sat on nests, delicately preening their mates and feeding unruly chicks. Lying in the long grass waiting for a beautifully camouflaged magellanic snipe to pop up it's head and pose.
In South Georgia the majestic sweep and scale of landscapes with half a million penguins spread out as far as you can see and dancing wandering albatross reminding us that this world contains some true marvels.
The Antarctica Peninsula with ice and snow, colonies of pengiuns knee-deep in red poo with crazy hair styles, and endurance beyond any other animals we've seen.
And of course there were the whales. We'd hoped to see them, and dared to dream that we might get close. But to smell their breath so close from a zodiac was a truly sublime experience that we doubt will ever be surpassed.
So above all we have to thank Cheesemans Ecology Safaris, who proved that it is possible to exceed your highest expectations through dedication to detail and service, getting us the maximum amount of time in the field, and letting the wildlife and surroundings speak for themselves.