A Chukka of Adventure
By Beth Walz
I started playing in the mid-eighties in Scottsdale, Arizona. I began by hot walking horses and swinging my foot mallet on the open fields. Eventually, I was playing a little “stick and ball’ and this led to playing casual polo games. I eventually had a ‘stick and ball’ field created behind my house to practice hitting. When I moved to Oklahoma in the 90s, I played polo in Tulsa and formally joined the USPA (still unranked). I love to watch polo almost as much as I like playing. I was lucky enough to see the first 80 goal match played in the USA at the Eldorado Club and during my years living in the UK I enjoyed games at the All Ireland Polo Club and the Guards Polo Club. Now that I am in Florida, I am getting back in the saddle at the Sarasota Polo Club. More than anything, I love the horses. I adore jumping and endurance riding as well as polo. My most exciting horse experience was riding a Mongolian pony to Siberia. I currently own one beautiful horse, Baskadora.
Polo players and fans love the excitement of a great match; not only the speed and beauty of the game, but the clicking of the ball and the pounding of running ponies. Whether you’re stomping divots or popping champagne corks, polo is for people who live life to the fullest. A Chukka of Adventure, will take polo enthusiasts off of the field and entice them to explore some of the world’s most exhilarating activities and events on the planet. If you enjoy the adrenaline rush of polo, you’ll love the thrill of adventure.
In this edition of, A Chukka of Adventure, we will visit the bottom of the Earth. Taking a cruise to Antarctica is a rare opportunity to explore the most hauntingly eerie and visually stunning continent. This remote part of the world is awe-inspiring with majestic towering icebergs, pristine snow, purplish-blue ice formations and endless vistas of raw glowing sunshine. It is unlike anything you will ever see, and as a consequence, Antarctica is completely unforgettable.
The best time to visit Antarctica is from late December to early February. These are the months with the calmest waters and most agreeable weather. Ships travelling to Antarctica are relatively small, but expect to meet passengers from all over the world. Since Antarctica is one of the most remote places in the world, it is also one of the most exclusive destinations (passenger numbers are also regulated). Visitors to Antarctica are typically well-seasoned travelers and this makes for interesting meal conversation and informative repartee over early coffee or late drinks shipboard.
The Antarctic Peninsula is a maze of fantastical and magical ice sculptures cut and polished by the harsh winds of Mother Nature. There is a surreal artistry and serene elegance to the twisting ice flows and looming glaciers that form a park-like wonderland of crystalline water, virgin white snow and transparent cobalt-blue ice. Both adults and children can appreciate the rugged, yet simultaneously fragile, beauty of the Antarctic, and with the rapidly changing environment it is questionable how long these spectacular vistas will remain, making a trip to the Antarctic important if not urgent.
Beyond the alluring landscapes, the wildlife is phenomenal. Colonies of penguins feed, primp and play along the fjords and straights. The sight of penguins leisurely sliding down ice flows or waddling back-and-forth on shore conjures a jovial and lighthearted feeling distant from a fast-paced world consumed with the hustle-and-bustle of electronic media. The large Empire penguins are extraordinary and arguably the most dignified creatures of the Antarctic, donned in their in their lustrous black and white eye-catching formalwear.
The fur seals and the elephant seals are less sophisticated, yet equally charming, and can be seen in and out of the water. The blubbery Weddell seals can also be found sleeping on ice flows or hunting game. Beware walking near one of these seals because they can mischievously spray a nose-full of snot several feet in any direction. One of the most dangerous and predatory seals in the Arctic is the leopard seal. This stylish creature is sleek, graceful and reminiscent of a leopard due to its spotted coat. It is a quick and cunning hunter and capable of killing an unsuspecting penguin in seconds.
Passengers will have the opportunity to leave the ship to explore nearby waters in dinghy rafts. This allows an intimate look at the animals and a peek into the internal surroundings of the immediate environment. It’s highly advised you bring a good camera (still and/or video), ideally with a variety of lenses; the photographic opportunities are endless. Additionally, there are trips to shore, including the once-in-a-lifetime experience of standing on the world’s least visited continent.
Guests typically dress for dinner and there is generally evening entertainment, from dancing to a guest lecturer. Many of the additional social activities are cruise ship specific, so it’s best to have your travel professional research the most appropriate trip for you. Cruises typically depart out of Punta Arenas, Chile. Perhaps, while visiting South America polo fans might consider adding a stop in Argentina to see the polo estancias either before or after the trip. For the thrill-seeker and lover of wildlife and nature, there are few greater adventures than a trip to Antarctica. Beth Walz AdventureWoman.com