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Find me another group that’s sung karaoke in Antarctica

Woke up on Saturday, December 23rd with an entire new perspective on this year now that it was one day post completion of the goal of stepping foot on all seven continents. It was fun but in the big picture, it doesn’t matter...

I didn’t realize I was holding in so much stress and there was a giant sense of relief now that the last two continents were completed.  I get to just have fun from this point forward!  

And that’s EXACTLY what we did.  I had two outings today.  A zodiac ride and a Special Operations Boat ride.  There were no landing scheduled or completed today.  Both excursions were nice, but for me nothing like the exhilaration of kayaking or stepping on the continent.

Around 6p, just after I finished dinner I was walking towards the front of the boat to belly up to the bar on the Explorers Loune, as has become part of the nightly ritual, and there was an announcement made that a pod of whales was nearly the bow of the ship.

The next hour plus was a dazzling and constant display of 3 pods of humpbacks feeding just meters from the boat.  The captain circled the boat and tried keeping distances but the whales also move and at one point were just feet from the side of the vessel.

The cheering of the fellow passengers and the breathtaking beauty of the feeding and the surroundings is captured in my mind.

Fortunately or unfortunately, my camera was in the room and most of these whale sightings only last a few minutes at most.  I had to make a decision, do I just sit and observe or do I try and capture photos.  I decided to observe.  It’s probably one of those moments where I’ll always look back and wonder if I made the correct decision or not, but I didn’t want to miss a total breach (which did not occur) while I was rushing down to my room so I stood there and watched.

I captured this one iPhone video.

After the whale sighting, the front of the ship and the Explorers bar cleared out, minus our regular crowd that I’ve come to know over the past 5 days.  We enjoy each others company but the bond we created on Saturday night is…memorable.

After Taras, the hired musician from Ukraine finished his set at 10:15p and as last call was approaching at the bar at 11p, we decided it was time to go down to The Hide, a hidden retreat IN the bow of the ship and make our own dance party with a Bluetooth speaker and iTunes.

While sitting, I noticed a microphone and casually said, “hey, we could do karaoke”.  Someone got up to go explore the microphone.  A few tap tap taps on it, and everyone else’s ears perked up.

Our now homemade disco turned homemade karaoke bar was in full glory.  First up was a beautiful rendition of Billy Joel’s Piano man, before I sang Kane Brown’s Good As You with the crowd singing along.  And then a husband and wife couple Chris and Caroline sang Shallow, and to the absolute precision that left me asking if that was Lady Gaga under a wig, it really was that good.

We laughed, and snag, danced and made our own cocktails after raiding of the minibars in our room as all of the official activities and bars were shut down.

If you would have told me that I would have had an opportunity to sing karaoke in Antarctica, I would have laughed.  So joining North America, Australia and Asia is Antarctica on continents that I have sung karaoke in this year. The Cole of 2022 would have never sung karaoke period, which is what you call growth in this year of spinning 😉

How it came together and the spontaneity of it all is the perfect reminder of much of this year.  See an opportunity. Take the opportunity. Most importantly, have fun!

Drifting to sleep at 1a and awake at 8a, now Christmas Eve sipping a latte and getting ready to soak in the aft hot tub with panoramic views of the sunny Antarctic Peninsula, smiles and warmth fill my soul with an unforgettable evening onboard the Viking Octantis.

People and Wildlife came together in separate displays of what this year has been about, beauty and unexpected twists and turns.

Sunday, December 24th

Christmas Eve onboard the Viking Octantis was another very special day down here in Santa’s Summer Home.

Too full to eat breakfast or lunch, I worked on some photos and lounged around in the outdoor hot tub, then on the heated tile loungers in the spa until my 3p landing at Paradise Harbor (Brown Research Station) where the rocky landing was significantly tricker than the earlier landing point.  The winds were strong which really felt significantly colder out than any of the previous days although the temperature remained around 29-33F.

The Gentoo Penguin colony was in full force, including my first viewing of an official penguin highway.  Off in the distance are some large seals, which I assume must be elephant seals but even with the super zoom they are hard to make out in the photos.

I had to rush a bit and thankfully my fellow passengers allowed me to cut in the lengthy line to get back into the zodiac to get back to the ship so I could make my 4:30 meeting and 5p submarine excursion.

Made it, barely. Having to go back to the room, drop off the camera gear and change out of my muddin boots into regular shoes and one less layer for the sub and then back down to the Deck A meeting point at 4:30.

You board the sub out in the middle of the bay via another zodiac ride.  The wave action was probably about as much as they can safely transfer passengers back and forth so I feel very fortunate to have gotten to be able to go.  There are plenty of people that want to go and less slots than what there are passengers, so it really is a special excursion.  It didn’t disappoint.

Although our dive did not see the famous Phantom Jellyfish like some of the earlier ones did today (Google it…they have literally been sighted like less than a thousand times in the history of the planet), our dive along a rock cliff was spectacular and saw some incredibly large sponges, starfish and a couple of ice fish (and one unidentified creature that the sub pilot wasn’t familiar with).

It’s likely that the meters of cliff that we had explored had never been seen before in history.  There are several subs that operated in the Antarctic region, but being in that precise location at the same exact depth (ours was about 395’ below the surface) is unlikely.

The pilot also turned off all of the sub lights and there was a surprising amount of natural sunlight that still made it to these depths due to the extremely clear water and somewhat sunny skies above.

Back onboard, it was a mad dash to shower and dress for a 6:30p dinner with my fellow solo travelers at an invited dinner in the private dining room.  A wonderful meal of salad, soup, a filet mignon, wine and dessert capped with a chocolate martini was a delightful few hour affair.

We chatted about our travels and the Executive of Housekeeping who joined us shared about his family and life in India as well as some about life onboard the ship.

They are a happy crew of 261 to serve us 358 guests.  Ship capacity is 378 but due to us solo travelers is less than that.

After dinner, I joined the rest of the crew (Peggi and her husband from San Diego) Leila and Zdravko (Scottsdale), Chris and Caroline (unknown) along with a few others and we observed the stunning "sunset" from the Explores Bar before we made our way back down to the Hide on Deck 1 for round two of homemade karaoke only to find out the ship staff had removed the microphone as apparently we were too loud the previous night.

It didn’t stop us…we used our Bluetooth speaker and sang without a microphone.  Christmas carols were the primary songs and it was shirt-lived but fun nonetheless.

Off to bed around 12:15a

I slept with the black out blind down.  Exhausted from days on end of fun!

Cole from Colorado

Searching for a new dream




Palm Springs Selfie.jpg

about me:

Hey!  I am Cole from Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2023 I stepped on all seven continents, in a single calendar year, solo!

The year continues to shape my life and my lust for travel.

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