Antarctica: 18th Dec: David vs Goliath

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Had an awesome 5 am zodiac cruise- our last day on the continent. Climaxed in a fascinating display by the local wildlife. Looks like they had planned a special goodbye show, for the alien humans loitering around.

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A gentoo penguin stuck on a little ice flotilla with a leopard seal lazily stretching on it. Beautiful duel between prey and predator. Seal opens mouth for just a yawn & the mentally challenged penguin flaps its wings, noisily running along the periphery of the float.

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Intricate masterpieces carved out of ice & glaciers are the perfect backdrop for this morning show.
Unfortunately have to say goodbye to life and begin our return journey to the humdrum bullshit.

Antarctica: 16th/17th Dec – Beauty lies in the Ice of the Boulder…

The Continental Landing:

Woke up to some unbelievable sights today morning. How can so much beauty exist in a concentrated part of earth. Everywhere I set my sight, a spectacular photo opp exists. Looks like some painter has picked up a colourless canvas and smudged it with white snow, tempered with icy blue floats and jagged brown peaks. The heart is overwhelmed with the beauty around. Wonder how the first explorers would have felt, when they landed on this white wilderness with no humans around. Just nature and its magic.

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Got the passport stamped at Port Lockroy. Excited but piqued at how we’ve induced such artificial borders even in a serene, free continent like Antarctica. British heritage, scientific, postal base-remnants of WW 2 strategic warfare in this part of the world!

Jealous of the penguins loitering around. They’ve got the best of what our planet has to offer. Truly, beauty lies in the ice of the boulder. Bought some Souvenirs at the Brit historical museum.

Paradise Bay proves that there is indeed a paradise on earth. Hiked to the top of a small hillock and then slid down. How the hell are we supposed to like any other place now?
The stunning huge glaciers hide their crevasses and run down the mountain valleys with the icebergs & floats all around at the bay. Beautiful satsrugi exposing our vessel in the background. Gentoo penguins breeding in their bright, warm summer of -10°c

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Camped overnight at the Amirante Brown station. Don’t want to sleep. Its’a strangely liberating as well as depressing feeling when a childhood dream is fulfilled… The penguins are tired & silent, and so am I..Walk up and down the hillock and get into the sleeping bag to trap the heat and dissipate the sorrow.

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Antarctica: Dracula’s Lake: 13th/14th Dec

Bid Adieu to the southernmost port in the world, Ushuaia and jumped aboard our new home, Plancius…

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As we moved away from this sleepy town and crossed the docile Beagle channel, all of us had our fingers crossed. A new environment, ship crew and a supposed monster – Drake’s passage to deal with, had us in a bit of a sweat.

The Drake Passage is the body of water between the southern tip of South America which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean and extends into the Southern Ocean.

There is no significant land anywhere at the latitudes of the Drake Passage, which is important to the unimpeded flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which carries a huge volume of water and throws it all around. Hence the apparent rocky nature of the Dracula…

We introduced ourselves to the Dutch doctor on board who tranquilized us with chemicals. So, 2 days went in a state of trance, though luckily the Drake behaved more like a lake. Ate, slept and clicked random photos of the sky whenever the eye remained opened for a bit. Hope to touch the continent tomorrow!

Got a few interesting shots – first sighting of an iceberg and some whales.

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Are you a King?

“He is a King who fears nothing, He is a king who desires nothing….” – Seneca

19th Aug, 2012 – Masai Mara Wildlife Safari – Kenya

Though it’s only 8:30 in the morning, the sun scorches our skin, through the semi-open roof of the van.

As we meander through the sea of wildebeest dotting the horizon, we hear a clamor in the adjoining bush. The guide takes us closer to the 10-15 vans bursting at the seams with eager, excited tourists clicking snaps and vying for HIS attention.

He is not the fastest, largest or for that matter even the strongest of ’em all. But that day, I realized why we humans have anointed HIM as the king of the jungle. With a slight shake of the thick, light-brown mane, Leo gets up from besides his girlfriend and looks up lazily at his food in the other direction. He nuzzles her below the ear to get up and hunt down their weekly meal.

Just before the romp!

All of us wait with bated breath, anticipating a kill today. He takes a short stroll towards a vehicle and looks at all of us. A yawn and attention redirected back to his still half-asleep girlfriend, confirms the fact that he doesn’t really care about our presence.

He nudges her one last time, to be only given a bite and roar in retaliation. So what does Leo do, now that he’s being royally ignored by his beastial-half?

He lazily walks behind her and ever so nonchalantly mounts from behind and gives her a quickie, right in front of the 100 humans who could potentially be his predators, as well as 1000s of his potential prey lurking in the background.

That is probably one unique quality of lions, which set them apart from fellow competitors. Though they might roam around in prides, they are least bothered by their surroundings. The august look and lazy demeanor is accompanied by an equally regal walk and a definite disdain for his subjects!

A tiger is stronger, cheetah faster and elephant larger, but for me as well as billions of fellow homo sapiens, Panthera Leo was, is and will remain king, nay ‘Emperor of the jungle’

Walk like a King, and see who dare treats you any different!