A Blast From the Antarctic Past

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So this time two years ago, I was overwhelmed with excitement as I was about to set foot on the last spot before I checked visiting every continent! Antarctica was a long time in the making and I wrote and rewrote this post so many times that in the end, I couldn’t make this readable without it being a book!!

So I thought, what can I do to commemorate two years since I had the most life changing experience iv had? and then I thought….well I blogged about it before on my other blog and I wrote a journal that no one ever read! so why not take you guys (and myself) into my frame of mind of two years ago! ….please be nice, I was writing while I was really really cold!
(ps. slightly edited to include my personal journal)
Freezing Omanis - Getting into the Spirit 1

“Today, months after being selected for the 2041 Antarctic Youth Ambassador Program, I have landed in Antarctica. The first place I landed in is Mikkleson harbour on the Antarctic Peninsula.

The journey took me all the way across the world; from Muscat to Brazil to the city of Ushuaia in Argentina. In Argentina me and my team climbed to the top of a glacier and trekked through the national forest to prepare ourselves for the journey ahead, and this was all within moments of meeting them! the bond between us was forged instantly as if we had known each other for years…but then, they are the only people who get how much work it took to get here!

Freezing Omanis - Mt. Martial Glacier 2Freezing Omanis - Mt. Martial Glacier 3
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On the 3rd of March, the ‘Sea Spirit’ left Ushuaia heading south to the Antarctic Peninsula. The journey would take two days through the roughest waterway in the world; ‘The Drake Passage’….it’s here where I forged a strong bond with a few of the ‘tough’ ones that didn’t get seasick….after all, there were just a few of us that were enjoying the two day roller coaster ride rather than feel sick! I don’t even know how i’m able to write! god help me when I try to read this in the future (bwaha past me! I was able to read after consulting a cryptographer)
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Freezing Omanis - Antarctica 1

After two and a half days at sea, the Antarctic icebergs showed themselves shortly followed by land. Seeing those icebergs was something magical, everyone on the boat just ran to see them, it was a moment of awe where everyone was out of words, even the people who were laid up in bed with seasickness two hours before. I can’t describe it…the whole journey since I got to Argentina felt unreal, and i’m not exaggerating… my sight and senses don’t feel real, but seeing those icebergs was a hammer to the senses, it feels real and unreal at the same time and I’ve never felt so excited or so inspired… this is all by seeing a piece of floating ice…I already feel that this will be an emotional roller coaster.

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I’ve never felt so excited, I was on the second Zodiac heading to the historic Nickleson harbor to learn about the area and rest for a few hours before trekking and listening to scientists as well as environmental specialists to develop my campaign for when I come back to the Sultanate. More so….this will be the moment it will happen, months of training and fundraising will be for this….I don’t even know what to write, I just feel very proud that I have my flag with me and a photo of my grandfather in my pocket.

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Tomorrow (the 6th) the ‘Sea Spirit’ will cross the Lemaire Channel and I will be spend the night on the ice….I can’t wait to see the stars, iv never seen anything like this sky before so seeing it from a completely remote place is beyond my imagination….for now..

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A TALE OF PHOTOS – PART 2

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I wanted to revisit some old photos for this post but for some reason, only one place has been on my mind….. The 7th continent,

Its been 492 days since I stepped onto Antarctica the day that I wrote this post, my journey was a year before that and it was long and difficult. I faced issues with funding, training, acceptance and failed friendships…..kinda shows you who your real friends are. And it shaped my life, in more ways than the obvious.

One of the unexpected ways is that before Antarctica, I was stuck in a dead end job that I hated and I lost my eye for photography….when I was doing my research for getting myself there, something happened….. I started to grab my camera after it having collected dust on my shelf, I started buying books and reading things, I was becoming a photographer again!

I practiced so that I could get it right in Antarctica…and when I got there, it paid off!! It started with Argentina! My camera was always an arms length (photo cred, Ameer Abdulhussein, my edit)

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A Chair With a View

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This was a beautiful day, the first day meeting our teams! I had just met a group of people who would be my life long Antarctic companions. The amazing thing was, during my time in Oman I thought I was an alien with this hard mission ahead…..but when I met Alice, Swati, Oli, Arriane, Subash, Omar, Millie and everyone else…..it felt like we knew each other for years, and we all knew what it took to get there. we instantly bonded and became a family in the strangest most natural way…all in a few minutes.

We all hung around the hotel lobby looking at the gorgeous beagle channel in awe….you know, places like this are so beautiful that you really get blown away and that’s what happened to me! I just had to capture that view! That lobby was a perfect excuse for me…..I sat in that chair sending my photos to the media in Oman and updating my blog, but it was much more than that…..the lobby was the place where everyone came out of their hiding spots rooms and was the perfect place to get to know the people who had to really work hard to get here.

First Sight

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Now, this isn’t a particularly impressive photo on its own right….but by far one of my all time favorites!

After a year of preparations and difficulties, it didn’t seem real….not even when I got on to the Sea Spirit. actually…..I talked to many people, and the feeling was the same, Antarctica still seemed like it was a world away but when ‘Jumper‘s’ voice popped on the PA telling us all that there is an iceberg ahead, it really hit me……Im really there….

So I took my big lens out and rushed with the others to see my first iceberg, it was amazing…..seeing a block of ice float on water may not sound that magical but when you see it….you feel an immense passion and your mind starts thinking….is this real?

That feeling lasted my whole time there and this photo, whenever I look at it, reminds me of the first time in my life that I felt that shock and awe…..

The grandness beyond your mind’s comprehension that a floating block of ice could inspire so much beauty ……