Wildlife Encounters and Quiet Contemplation on the Magellan Explorer
Both the vastness and remote location of the Last Continent is what first enticed Antarctica21 traveler Reisha Raney to pack her bags for the wildest place on earth. Not only was being in such a far-flung destination attractive to her, she was also eager to be on the maiden voyage of the Magellan Explorer when it first set sail in 2019, our newest expedition vessel that was custom-built for our Antarctic air-cruises.
Passengers like Raney love Magellan Explorer for its glass-enclosed observation lounge and onboard sauna, as well as the vessel’s suite-style rooms, most with private balconies where passengers can enjoy Antarctica’s picturesque landscapes.
During her voyage, Raney witnessed incredible wildlife moments like watching a pod of three orcas attempt to hunt a seal. While the orcas worked together to make a wave to purposefully knock the seal off of an ice flow, after an hour, the seal eventually got away. Experiences like this offered Raney a new perspective on survival in Antarctica—how the circle of life must continue, even though it may seem somewhat harsh.
One surprise Raney hadn’t anticipated was how she marveled at Antarctica’s monochromatic color scheme of black, grey, white, and blue. The hues of the dramatic mountaintops, icebergs, and glaciers cleared her mind and soul. “I got lost in the type of vastness of it,” said Raney. “Even though the landscape seemed empty, I felt full.”
As part of the small-group kayak program, Raney was one of only 10 participants on her ship that were able to explore Antarctica from a unique perspective. This group activity is a guided experience led by one of our kayak masters and is also supported by a safety Zodiac, which follows the group as they paddle near icebergs and glaciers.
Not only was Raney able to see the landscape in a more personal, up-close way, but her kayak expedition leader also provided both her and her group an opportunity for a moment of meditative contemplation. For around 10 minutes, she joined her fellow kayakers in silence to simply listen to the beauty of Antarctica.
“It gave us an opportunity to really sink into the experience,” said Raney. “We could hear the gas bubbles releasing from the ice. I’ll never forget that moment of peace, to just hear and be with Antarctica.”
After her trip to Antarctica, Raney felt forever changed. Not only did she feel satisfied that she had witnessed more beauty of the planet, but she also felt like a real explorer and more inspired to take on other challenges and adventures in the future.
Photos and story were provided by Reisha Raney, a past guest from the United States who traveled on the maiden voyage of the Magellan Explorer when it first set sail in November 2019.
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