Inside Max’s Big Adventure to Antarctica

From Winning a Board Game Tournament to Exploring the Frozen Continent, Max — an 11-year-old living in Puerto Williams, the southernmost populated settlement in the world — shares more about his first experience visiting Antarctica.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

By Max Zúñiga Jara

Traveling to Antarctica changed my life. As a nature enthusiast and avid player of educational games, I was the first to sign up to participate in my school’s ILAN tournament in November 2023. The tournament was organized by Antarctica21 Foundation, an organization that promotes Antarctic knowledge and science in the local communities of Tierra del Fuego. ILAN is a board game that teaches its players about the Antarctic ecosystem and its species. I was excited to win the tournament, but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the prize: a trip to Antarctica! The news of my victory prize left me speechless, filling me with indescribable joy and palpable anticipation for the adventure that awaited me on the icy continent.

Provided by Max Zúñiga Jara

My arrival in Antarctica was a moment of awe and wonder. With my mother, we set out on a Classic Antarctica air-cruise with Antarctica21, who sponsored the prize. From the moment I began the eight-day journey and set foot on the icy continent, I felt immersed in a world of beauty and mystery. Encounters with wildlife were unforgettable, from the majestic sea lions that greeted us to the graceful penguins that swam alongside the ship. I explored breathtaking landscapes and fascinating places, absorbing every moment with awe and gratitude. As I sailed through icy waters and walked through snowy lands, I felt connected to the majesty and fragility of nature, an experience I will never forget.

Photos by Francisco Andreas

One of the most breathtaking moments I experienced was a greeting from the sea lion, which left an indelible mark on my heart. Contact with wildlife in their natural habitat thrilled and inspired me. Before heading to Antarctica, I spent hours researching and drawing the fauna I would find there. My drawings of orcas, sea lions, fish, and clams were not only a way to express my passion for nature but also a tool for learning and research.

Provided by Max Zúñiga Jara

My experience in Antarctica left me with a deep appreciation for the importance of caring for our environment. I learned about the unique biodiversity and fragile ecosystem of the icy continent and committed to being a champion of conservation. I realized that Antarctica is much more than a tourist destination; it is a natural treasure that we must protect and preserve for future generations. My adventure inspired me to care for the environment and promote environmental awareness in my community and beyond.

My journey from the ILAN tournament to my exploration of Antarctica was filled with excitement, discovery, and learning. My story reminds me of the transformative power of adventure and the importance of caring for our planet. Through my experience, I hope to inspire others to explore, learn, and protect our beautiful natural world. 

I am thankful to the Antarctica21 Foundation for making this incredible journey possible and to my mother, Karina, for sharing this experience with me. Let’s continue exploring and protecting our planet together!

Are you interested in exploring Antarctica like Max? Learn more about our Classic Antarctica expedition here!


Expedition Photos

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Decoration A21
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