“The sheer vastness of the seascape, the excitement of seeing my first iceberg, the second, third…and later emerging on the horizon, land, but one like nothing I’d seen before.
“Relentlessly beautiful and rugged, it’s an expedition into one of the world’s last true wilderness areas and yet, it’s done with French style and panache.”
This was how veteran TV presenter Andrew Daddo summed up his 16-day expedition to the White Continent onboard Ponant’s Le Boreal where he hosted a 45-minute video, Beyond the Polar Circle launched by the line this week.
Mr Daddo was taken aback by the sheer number of penguins which he calls “funny creatures.”
It was a “wildlife wonderland” where he watched, gobsmacked, by the the vast colonies of breeding King Penguins, pods of hourglass dolphins, seals, sea lions and whales.
And when Le Boreal arrived at Shag Rocks in South Georgia, it was like a scene from the movie Happy Feet, with thousands upon thousands of penguins on parade. And at St Andrews Bay, home of the largest King Penguins colony, many of the penguins were molting and losing their feathers and at Half Moon Island, he saw large colonies of Chinstrap penguins.
Then there were the seals and their pups lazing by the sea shore. He even spotted a blond seal pup – an unusual phenomena. They are known as leucistic seals with only one in 1000 seals born blond. He also saw a leopard seal which feeds on penguin pups.
He was also overwhelmed by the colonies of albatross, seabirds with vast wing spans which spend most of their adult life gliding the sky.
When the ship cruised to Neko Harbour the silence was broken by the sound of glaciers carving from walls of ice.
Nothing prepared him for the unbelievable sight of the iceberg garden at Port Charcot, dominated by shades of white and blue as giant icebergs drift silently by.
The video, Beyond the Polar Circle which took him to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia brought home one important lesson – the fragility of the White Continent.