Cruising on the Slow Boat to 1)Antarctica 船儿慢行去南极
千百年来,南极,这个亘古长眠的世界,一直吸引着人们。这个充满神奇色彩的冰雪王国究竟拥有着怎样独特而迷人的风景?这期让我们跟随作者Chris Moss一起“前往”人迹罕至的南极,尽情领略世界之南端那奇幻多变的美丽!这篇文章虽然生词较多,但用词灵活且文笔优美,大家可要耐心点品读哦!^_^ ——Maisie
You can’t rush to Antarctica. Armed with several books on travel to Antarctica, some novels and bottles of whiskey, I lay back and thought of nothing in particular. Surely the most appropriate thought when heading to the planet’s cleanest, whitest, blankest spot.
After a long crossing from 2)Ushuaia heading 3)due east via the 4)Falklands, I was able to experience the beauty of Antarctica: 5)South Georgia, inside the Antarctic Circle but as green as it is white, and as interesting for its human history as for its inhuman isolation. Then, we sailed gently into the Bay of Isles. The sea was still high and 6)heaving, but the pilots decided it was safe to go in to 7)Salisbury Plain, the beach that about 40,000 8)king penguins call home.
It was a 9)Penguinopolis at rush hour. When not fishing and flapping in the surf, the tall, 10)sleek, orange-flashed birds were busy shuffling, flirting, clapping, slapping each other, 11)trumpeting (their shrill, slightly comic, calling), feeding chicks, sitting on eggs. But kings are hypersocial and too interactive to be ordinary commuters, and when I stopped and allowed them to approach—I sat down to be at their eye level and avoided intimidating them—their manner, which is half 12)swagger and half 13)coy, reminded me of nothing so much as teenagers at a youth club. They would even 14)club together to push one of their members forward so he would be closest to me, as if saying: “Go on, check him out, don’t be a 15)chicken.” One or two got close enough to have a bite at my boot. Of course, such encounters are an 16)athropomorphic delight. We imagine all sorts of emotions the birds probably don’t have at all. Some were bullies, some were shy, one couple seemed to be bent on quarrelling all the time…
South Georgia was a great introduction to Antarctic wildlife and the pleasures of king penguins—which you don’t see on the Antarctic continent. Then there were the energizing delights of 17)katabatic winds, and by degrees, ice. We saw hanging 18)glaciers,19)ice fields and, then, like a 20)mirage in the distance, our first big 21)bergs.
Whether grey or blue skies lay overhead, the 22)heft of the waves was always huge—sometimes rhythmic and pleasant, at others offering a waltzer of a voyage. In the dark, the sensation of wild winds spinning the vessel was heightened, but the ship pushed on like a metallic serpent across the open sea. When you sail south you don’t exactly find the Antarctic continent. Rather, it gathers round you in the shape of icebergs, islands, coves and bays. Gradually the coastlines draw closer and slowly begin to lose first the greens and ochres of mosses and 23)lichens, then the black of volcanic 24)basalt, and one morning you wake up and everything has turned brilliant white.
I first caught sight of what looked like sheer cliffs of ice—classic Antarctica—on a stretch of the voyage that took us from the flooded volcano of Deception Island in the 25)South Shetlands to Charlotte Bay on 26)Graham Land. I should probably have been observing the 27)humpback whales that were 28)breaching alongside the Vavilov, or 29)gawping at the 30)albatrosses and 31)petrels, or studying the maps to make sense of the chaos of peninsulas, islets, bays and capes that make up the Antarctic Peninsula. But whiteness is 32)enigmatic—and because a cruise is so far from being an overland expedition, you feel an urge to get off the boat and walk on the big slab of ice.
After a few 33)false starts, we eventually got to walk on the continent at 34)Neko Harbour. A miniature conquest of sorts, it was also an opportunity to sit and ponder away from the group. The bay was calm and the sky a pinkish grey and slightly eerie, and there were 35)sweeping views of distant mountains—a sun we couldn’t see was illuminating their peaks—and of blue glaciers all along the coast. By early March, Antarctica is readying itself for winter, and this gloomy but 36)atmospheric point on the map seemed entirely fitting for the end of the season and the end of our voyage south.
The return 37)leg had its own wonders. The 38)Gerlache Strait is not as famous as the 39)Lemaire but it is one of the Antarctic Peninsula’s unmissable mini-voyages. A calm, narrow channel, lined by low peaks wrapped in 40)ultra-white glaciers, it is strewn with huge 41)tabular icebergs and smaller bergy bits. During a slow morning cruise, we saw a couple of humpback whales rolling and blowing along one side, and then a 42)Weddell seal and lots of fur seals 43)basking on floating ice islands. The light, though, was the thing: it was end-of-the-world luminous, a bit Martian even, and the ice glowed 44)aquamarine and 45)emerald against a dreamy grey sky. In the afternoon it all became 46)coffee-table 47)photogenic: blue skies, white ice, calm waters, a lone 48)cormorant on a steeple of ice, and 49)twee 50)chinstrap penguins hiking up snowy slopes. A young leopard seal still studying to be a 51)top-drawer predator chased us—once he had realized we were going anyway…
I can—sort of—understand why the majority of people want a 52)shortish 53)hop to the Antarctic Peninsula. It 54)ticks a box, yields amazing photographs, involves the shortest possible exposure to the 55)perils of the 56)Drake Passage—and, yes, it’s cheaper. But if you have the time and the money, and don’t mind some long stretches on big seas, prepare yourself for the slow trip and enjoy it well; the chances are you won’t be back here again, so why rush?