With a message to save the planet, a crew of young Indians as part of a global expedition to Antarctica is ecstatic to have raised the tricolour on the 'white continent' besides playing with Gentoo penguins and sighting leopard seals.
"The land does look like a fairytale. The noise and the pollution and the chaos of the human world give way to the pristine great white nothingness," crew member Sonal Asgotraa told PTI in a message.
The Chandigarh-based technology analyst is one of the select few Indians, among other participants from the rest of the world, who are currently on the fortnight-long global expedition, led by noted British polar explorer Robert Swan.
"You will never look at a map the same way ever again... Great explorers like
Amundsen and Shackleton laid the foundation for us years ago, for me and for others to explore. And, you are going to do the same," said Swan.
Fellow member, Anurag Maloo, 23 said there are eight Indians in the team.
"On Day 8, we also had our official flag day, where the team members could put up flags of their nations or organisations or alma mater at Antarctica. It was a great day for all of us as we fluttered our respective flags," Sonal said.
Talking of the experience there, she said that between the white nothingness, perhaps she has lived the "entire lifetime in these moments".
But, the journey to fairytale land wasn't so easy and the crew had to negotiate the bumpy ride through the "dreadful Drake Passage" in perhaps a ride of a lifetime.
"We slept underneath the open sky on sub-zero ice below with no tent covers, contemplating the milky way in the company of snoring seals," she said.
IAE 2013 is part of Swan's '2041' foundation and this expedition marks the 10th anniversary of the '2041' voyage that began first in 2003.