It was a line that was uttered again and again during The Last Desert: “Photographs cannot capture this place.” So for the benefit of those back home, we asked people to try to explain in words the feeling of being in the White Continent.
“Physically, it is amazing to be in such a pristine place,” says Canadian Louigi Santaguida (better known as Louie). “It is so pristine and oxygenated, with such a clean air. The sensations are remarkable. This is the most pristine place on Earth that I can imagine, where it´s so white and clean, like pure innocence.”
Germany competitor Michele Brehe explains how racing amid so much snow and ice had a very interesting effect on the course—and the way that despite it being in loops, it seemed new each time. “The sun changing through the day made every loop look different,” he says. “It’s all beautiful with the scenery changing and the light reflecting on the sea and ice.”
Arriving in this pure, white appearance was a great contrast for many who, after the two-day crossing of the Drake Passage, were starting to feel on the worse side. To then pull into the most majestic and startlingly peaceful setting on earth—with vast icebergs silently floating by—was like a jolt of energy.
“My sensation to be here is very special,” said Richard Wang of Hong Kong. “I am very impressed by the landscape and everything I see. Physically, the voyage was a bit tough, but once we arrived, things got better and I started to really appreciate the environment.
“There are not so many sounds,” he adds. “Just the people surrounding me and the penguins; it´s so very peaceful. On the ground, it´s not easy, when the sun comes up and the snow melts it´s very difficult to run and it was something that we had to adjust to. But I was surprised to see so many mountains. This is really a continent and there are really high places.”
By Clare Morin