Going with the Floe

I've crossed the passage over 40 times, and this is the worst I've ever seen it," was the promising summary from our expedition leader Aaron, as 20-meter waves smashed over the bow of our ice vessel. The wind was bordering on cyclone intensity and, with another lethal wall of icy water rearing up, I began to appreciate why the fierce 1,000-kilometer Drake Passage—renowned for consuming ships as they round Cape Horn—is considered one of the fundamental barriers to Antarctic tourism. The others are exorbitant cost, the remoteness and (should you ever forget it) the cold.

Despite the...

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