University of Chichester graduate Ginni Bazlinton has captured her icy travels in her new book Forty Shades of White: My Amazing Antarctic Journey.
When Ginni signed up for a voyage to the planet’s fifth-largest continent, she did not know what to expect.
An icy wilderness governed by no nation, where most of the natives are penguins and seals, Antarctica was a vast unknown to her when she set off on the rugged scientific vessel, the Akademik Shokalskiy. Discoveries came thick and fast: the beauty and alarming extremes of landscape and climate – rocky voyages on dangerous seas – and the amazing wildlife.
As she learnt more about the history of exploring the region, the science undertaken there and the importance of its pure environment, rolling icebergs and sunken volcanoes, childlike joy gave way to deeper contemplation, she says: “As a place, it is just absolutely unique. Nobody owns it. Nobody has any sovereignty over it. It is so remote and so unspoilt. It’s like a completely-different world where penguins will come and sit in your lap. You are not allowed to take anything away or harm it. You take away only your memories and your photos, and I think visiting it for most people is actually life-changing. It feels like you are on another planet. Time doesn’t exist. You are lost in time, and it feels very uplifting and also very humbling. It’s just a unique feeling that I have never, ever had before. I have travelled to all seven continents but nothing has given me the feeling I had in Antarctica. It’s the naturalness and the uniqueness. I went to a harbour. The idea of a harbour is usually ships and bustling and people running around, but here there was just nothing but penguins.”
Ginny kept a journal every day and was prompted to write a book: “When I got home, I just felt so strongly about the place that I started writing. I am not sure what my intention was when I started writing it. I just wanted to write. The result is the story of my travels in Antarctica.”
Brought up in Zimbabwe, Ginni – after a career as a professional dancer in the theatre and at the Murray’s Cabaret Club – began her world travels in earnest at the age of 52 visiting in quick succession Japan, Chile, Argentina (including Patagonia) and Morocco.
She has taught English as a foreign language, working in Portsmouth, Japan and Chile and shares her passion for Antarctica and her other experiences through teaching, writing and advocacy.
Ginny was a mature student in her 40s at the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education (forerunner of the University of Chichester) from 1985 for three years, studying related arts.
“I was a mature student, and I was terrified on my first day, but people accepted me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learnt about the relationship between the arts, through modernism, criticism, history and classicism.”
Her book is published by Explore Books on September 15, ISBN: 978-1-911184-00-3.
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