Antarctica, the fifth largest Continent on our planet. A reservoir of the world’s 90% freshwater and 70% freshwater ice. A very isolated and remote place with no permanent human residents, the only inhabitants being whales, seals, sea birds, and cute little penguins and celebrating Christmas with them is the world’s happiest feeling. Isn’t it?
One beautiful morning when we were sailing through the Errera Channel our expedition leader Ms. Lynn made a wakeup call by 0715hr “Goooood Mooooorning all, Merry Christmas” we can completely feel the joy and happiness of festival from her voice.
Orne Islands was the location for the day. Orne Island is one of the largest islands in the Antarctica Peninsula rises to around 75 meters located at the entrance of Errera Channel also a good place to sight Chinstrap Penguins.
We started our day by having our delicious Christmas breakfast. Over the table, the feeling of the festival was already on. The joy and happiness were all around the corner. Everyone greeting each other “Merry Christmas” what a festive feeling that was?
The expedition team was busy doing the decoration of the lobby and dining hall, Christmas tree was set, stars and balloons were hanged all around our floating home, ambiance was completely turned into the celebration mode.
I being an Indian, born and brought up in Hindu religion and culture, honestly doesn’t know much about Christianity but my soul can truly feel the Christmas atmosphere eternally. The festival feeling was pretty similar to Diwali for me, Diwali is the major festival in Hinduism celebrated in India every year which also known as a festival of light and symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness.
Since my childhood, I always fascinated to know about other culture and their religion, Christianity is one of them. I always fond of going to church. I like to spend time there, see others praying and singing. It gives me immense peace of mind.
Christmas is the biggest holy festival, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ all across the world on 25th December every year. Christmas celebrated religiously by Christians but as a festival of joy and love, it is also celebrated by non-Christians worldwide.
Celebrating Christmas in Antarctica itself the most amazing feeling, I was very excited for the Christmas Eve Celebration!!!
Before we proceed to the Christmas eve party our day was already planned as per the scheduled itinerary and after having our lunch, we left for the shore excursions such as Mountaineering, Kayaking, and Snowshoeing with our respective team leaders.
Once ashore in Orne Island, we got our first glimpse of Chinstrap penguins. We could see why they are called ‘Chinstrap penguins’ as they have a very obvious dark line around across their chin area.
As it was a Christmas day, and what best gift we could ask from the heavenly god? And we got to see the first glimpse of some Humpback whales feeding in the bay and later on the group of three came very close our ship, playing around. Not only this we also sight some of Kelp gulls, Skuas and a couple of Crabeater seals around the island that day.
After return from the shore activities, some of us decided to spend time in the lobby, chatting with each others and sharing the beautiful pictures which we took of Humpback whales while some decided to relax in their cabin before the Christmas Eve celebration starts.
Our leader Ms. Lynn made a call by 1900hr it’s a time for Christmas Eve party, once again we all gathered in the dining hall for the celebration.
The celebration started when Santa and his penguin helper arrived at the sound of ‘Feliz Navidad’ what an amazing moment that was, many of us started singing along and few were dancing, Oh Jesus I will never forget that moment in my whole life. That was my first and probably the best Christmas Evening. After the celebration, it was time to get our stockings and presents.
My first Christmas present ever!!! So blessed and happy!!!
After the great celebration, we were treated with an incredible three-course Christmas meal and those of us that still had room in our tummies treated ourselves to the most delightful desserts made by the head chef Ralf and his team.
Our hotel manager Ms. Zsuzsanna opened some bottles of champagne which we shared among ourselves and in the end, she surprised us by giving a 50% discount on all the drinks for Christmas Eve, such a kind hearted soul!!! right?
With lots of sweet memories with new friends, I enjoyed my first Christmas in Antarctica!!!
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