I’ve travelled to more than 30 countries all over the world — French Polynesia, much of Europe, Scandinavia, China, Australia, across North America — but the One Ocean Expeditions journey I took to Antarctica in January 2016 was one of the best experiences I’ve had. Part of the draw for me was photography. I’d seen some of photographer Martin Bailey’s images of Antarctica and said to myself, “I want to take pictures like that.” The variety of what I saw down there was just incredible. Elephant seals, thousands and thousands of penguins — gentoos, chinstraps, adélies, kings — humpback whales, killer whales, icebergs. God, those icebergs were magnificent. Three kilometres long! You don’t get to take pictures like that at home.

When we weren’t onboard learning from the staff about the places and things we’d seen — whether it was the Falkland Islands and the war that happened there, the remnants of the whaling era or penguin rookeries — we were out exploring. One day, we went swimming at the beach on Deception Island, which is an active volcano in the South Shetland Islands. The sand was steaming, but the water was maybe 3 C. One way or another, though, I was going in, even if it was only up to my knees. It was just one of those things I had to do. I remember thinking, “OK, I’ve been in the Antarctic Ocean and have the picture to prove it. Now I can get out of this water!” I’ll never forget that.

– John Jerabek
Passenger aboard the One Ocean Voyager, 2016