Scuba diving in Antarctica. Expedition 2013

The journey south …

As a polar explorer it’s not easy travelling south these days. Not like it was in the early part of the 20th century for the likes of Shackelton, Scott and Amundsen, whose sole preoccupation was sailing scott-free (unless you were Scott or traveling with him) on the open ocean with nothing to occupy their time but stroking huskies and fellow expedition members or surfing Facebook. No, these days you have to battle your way to the Polar Circle through a never-ending stream of frigid bergs hovering below the waterline ready to sink your chances of making Queen, Kate Middleton and Country proud … in the form of airport security, Immigration and KLM stewardesses.

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Cheers!

After spending 40 minutes at Heathrow having my hand luggage searched to check I wasn’t carrying more than my allotted allowance of Semtex, detonators and radical-extremist literature, I ran to the departure gate gutted that I had to forgo my pre-flight pint and the chance to spend time enjoying the truly authentic British pub atmosphere that only an airport departure lounge can offer. Instead, I opted for a bottle of Jack Daniels from the tax-free shop, only to be told by the shop assistant that I couldn’t take it onwards following my connection in Amsterdam and that I would have to drink it on the hour-and-a-half plane ride. Contingency plan! “What would Scott have done in this situation?” I asked myself. So, surreptitiously, I did drink it on the plane, despite having read the in-flight magazine which clearly stated the not bringing of alcohol on-board – along with electronic cigarettes, East Europeans and badger porn. Continue reading