I am not a morning person. When I heard the churning of the ship’s motor getting louder, I groaned and tried to grasp onto the remaining moments of sleep, hating the location of our cabin. As the offending noise continued, waking me up a little more, I suddenly realized what that noise meant. It meant the ship was slowing down, preparing to stop. Which meant we had arrived. I think Amanda realized it at about the same moment because we looked over at each other, and then leapt from our beds to look out the tiny circular windows of our cabin. We couldn’t have been happier that they had upgraded us from an inside cabin to an outside one.
The morning sun bounced off the snow and the ocean as we slowly sailed closer. We stared out those windows, unable to stop smiling. This was what we had been waiting for, and we were finally there. Months of anticipation at home, long flights, buses, more than a week on a cruise ship with too many at-sea days, and I was smiling so much my face hurt. It was worth the seasickness we endured while crossing the Drake Passage.
Remember when you were a kid, and you woke up on Christmas Day bursting with excitement because you could finally run down to the tree and open your presents? When Christmas was the best day of the year, the only day you didn’t mind getting up ridiculously early? The day we reached Antarctica was the first time I felt that way since I was probably seven years old. Amanda and I were two little kids impatiently waiting to open our gifts of snow-covered mountains, icebergs, and penguins. Last year, Christmas came in February, and Santa Claus lived at the South Pole.