Our last day at sea gives us time to look out over the waves and watch the albatross fly. We have entered the Beagle Channel and will soon be embarking our local pilot. The sighting of land brings a nostalgia for our time in the Antarctic. Mixed with that nostalgia is our excitement to share our stories with loved ones back at home.

Rich Kirchner presented Great Escapes, a program about some other exciting adventures we might consider. Meanwhile, the sun has broken through the clouds and is shining off the dark blue waves. Black-browed albatross, white-chinned petrels and giant petrels are once again following our mighty ship.

The hillsides of the Beagle Channel speak of previous glaciation. U-shaped valleys and knife edged ridges remind us of the landforms of the Antarctic and yet these are green with vegetation. We see trees and houses for the first time since leaving here 10 days ago. Ahead is the dock humming with activity.

Yet in our minds is a place uncontrolled by us. It is a place free to be what it is. In this white, wild world we found a place in ourselves, untrammeled by human ideas. We found wilderness.

IMAGE: Black-browed albatross. Photo by Rich Kirchner