Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Back from Antarctica!

We returned to Jacksonville on December 1, 2012, after 23 hours of travel. What a journey, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically! Spiritually, just to see the wonders of God the Creator’s Creations! In one of the few pristine wildernesses left in the world! Mentally, because I am learning about the area through lectures on the ship - the cold water ocean, the geology, animals, plants, sea creatures, birds of the air, ice and icebergs! All of this human knowledge makes it all the more awesome a creation! I’m thinking, “What will God do next? How can He top this?” Emotionally, I felt a kinship with, and love for, this cold icy snowy white world and all its creatures. Not to mention the kinships and new friends we made with the other passengers. We all had something unique in common; we all wanted to come to this special place, a place that not many people are interested in. Physically, my training paid off! I was able to go out on every single excursion and saw all the things I was hoping for – penguins, blue icebergs, and whales! Actually, when we went ashore, we were able to choose our own level of activity. There were uphill hikes for the hardy ones, level paths for others, or we could just sit still and watch the life around us and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Before we left, I asked for prayers for travel and stamina so I could keep up with the other tourists. Father Mark said, “They’ll have trouble keeping up with you!” and he was right! Several passengers did not go out on all the excursions!
I spent a lot of time communing with God. Every day I thanked Him for being the fantastic creator of Antarctica - and of me! And then I would thank Him and Jesus for the healing that gave me the good health to travel so far! Speaking of traveling so far, it took us 33 hours from the time we left our happy home in Jacksonville on November 20 until we were able to lay down horizontally in our hotel room beds in Ushuaia, Argentina. The trip down took longer because we had more layovers in airports. We also thanked God for the healing of Al’s eyes, so he could see the marvels of this wondrous land! After having “dimmed” vision for so long, he had to wear sunglasses for the glare of the show!
Pictures show: the city of Ushuaia, population 56,000 and the southernmost city in the world. It is nestled at the foot of the Andes Mountains. There Al and I are, finally on the ship. It’s called the Ocean Diamond and is registered out of Nassau, Bahamas. As you can see it is a luxury vessel, despite its small size. It only has seven decks and holds 189 passengers. We were almost full, with 179 passengers. There I am standing at the railing in my Bahamas T-shirt in Antarctica. After three days of sailing, we are now officially in Antarctic waters, surrounded by gorgeous white jagged-peaked mountains. The last two pictures show me and Al standing on the Antarctic continent! We made it!! He has achieved his goal of setting foot on all seven continents! I have achieved my goal of going to Antarctica! And, incidentally, setting foot on my fifth continent!

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