Saturday, 7 March 2015

How was it for you?

1st March

This morning I woke up and looked out of my port hole. Every time I tried to do this from my lying position I’d bang my head on the low ceiling in the process. This morning was no different!
“Oh No” I exclaimed (right after “Ouch”) as I looked out of the window and saw what I thought was thick fog surrounding us! Then I realised it was condensation! I wiped it away and a sunny day was revealed! Clear blue skies and calm waters! We were going home!

After some time scrubbing the boat from top to bottom in preparation for the new teams arrival, we jumped ship and left on the zodiac for one last trip to shore.

Our 10 seater charted plane was waiting for us and in 3 hours we would be in Puerto Arenas. I can't say I wasn't glad to be getting back on dry land! 3 weeks at sea is a long time for someone who has never sailed before. I missed the road.


This part of my trip has, of course, tested me and my bike in ways that were very different to our previous challenges! Previously we have tackled deserts and mountains, cities and bush. All have been unpredictable and interesting in their own way. This is an adventure after all and this is just the way we like it! Antarctica has added a great deal to our resume!

It was not easy finding someone willing to take me and a motorbike the the bottom of the earth and to finally find someone was an amazing feeling. Spirit of Sydney stepped in when so many before them wouldn't. They accepted the challenge before even figuring out exactly how it was going to work. I liked that. It was my kind of thinking.

The bike seemed to fit on the boat like it was meant to be there and thanks to the expertise of the crew (Cath and Olly), she was loaded on with surprisingly little drama. This had been a moment of dread for me and I was grateful to see her touching down on the deck.

The trip itself was always going to be challenging, particularly for us newbies. It is hard to know what is "normal" and what is a serious situation (although I doubt you can describe ANYTHING as normal when sailing in Antarctica). As always I have written my blog to to try and share with you my feelings at the moment each event took place.  As with any adventure worth it's salt, there was certainly no shortage of emotions! I would not change that!

I have always described India as giving me some of my best and some of my worst days. Antarctica (despite being so different) can be described in the same way. I could contradict myself so many times when describing this trip. It was calm yet aggressive, scary yet exciting and so on!

For those who have had any concerns about the footprint we have created by taking a motorbike to Antarctica - PLEASE NOTE - We sailed across and therefore went the most energy efficient way. As we travelled along the peninsula, we made no sound and disturbed no wildlife. We landed the bike twice in areas where there were no penguin colonies and we kept the riding to a minimum. We left the place as we found it. Antarctica is none the wiser. We DID bring a smile to many faces while we were there. The Navy, Airforce and Scientists who work there under such extreme conditions were very pleased to meet Rhonda and it was worth it for that alone. I have no regrets.

I would like to thank everyone involved for helping me realise this part of my dream. It is a great feeling. Thanks to Cath from Spirit of Sydney for allowing us to be part of the crew on the Ice Bird. The Champagne on that first landing was a particularly nice touch! Thanks to Olly for remaining calm under pressure and guiding us with his extensive sailing knowledge. Thanks to the rest of the passengers  (Yvette, Jamie, Sally, Xavi and Pete) who all helped on that first landing and with such encouragement and support. Thanks to Polar Pioneer for agreeing to bring Rhonda back to dry land and thanks most of all to Rhonda the Honda who started on the button first time after SAILING all the way across the Drake Passage. Probably the first motorbike ever to do so! She never lets me down!


Would I do it again? Probably not! Was worth it? It was PRICELESS!



  1. That is quite the adventure. Not to take away from the rest of your trip but Antarctica was really unique. Thanks for letting us tag along!

  2. Megga thumbs up to ya.... :)

  3. I get the feeling that when this trip finishes you will not settle down for long. it will be interesting to see what it is you will do next. great photos, they are going to make an interesting album. xx

  4. Always a brilliant read, Steph.
    Can't wait for the next instalments :)

  5. There's a guy, Sturgis Chick, touring on a bike and blogging in your part of the world

    He was in Ushuaia on 5th March

  6. Wow! Hard to top this. A great, inspiring trip.


  8. Speechless! Is Rhonda the first MC in Antarctica ever? Gotten in touch with Guinness yet?