Animal magic on a trip to the 'new Ice Age'

Updated: 2012-12-13 10:01

By He Na (China Daily)

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First person | Bao Cheng

Animal magic on a trip to the 'new Ice Age'

Bao Cheng during his trip. Provided to China Daily

Bao Cheng, 42, is the owner of a decorating company in Beijing.

I spent 25 days in Antarctica with friends in November 2011. I enjoy challenges and adventure, and have traveled to many of the world's most beautiful places.

As such, I've seen a lot of breathtaking scenery, but when our boat arrived in Antarctica and we were surrounded by the icebergs, I was so awestruck by the scenery I forgot to take any photos!

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Animal magic on a trip to the 'new Ice Age'

The lands at the ends of the earth

I couldn't shake off the feeling that I was entering a totally new world, almost a new Ice Age. Although the world in front of you is nothing but icebergs and ocean, there's absolutely no chance of boredom setting in. Icebergs show their ages through subtle differences in color and striation. Each has a beauty unique to itself.

Penguins, walruses, seals, albatrosses, cormorants: When seen in their natural habitat, it soon becomes apparent that one is an intruder in this pure world and that they are the real custodians of the wild, thrilling landscape.

Watching the charmingly naive penguins waddling around right in front of me, I had an almost overwhelming impulse to touch them. I didn't, though - I was afraid it would disturb them.

I was the only person to jump into the waters of Paradise Bay, but I could only swim about 50 meters because it was so cold and the feeling of being swallowed by the seemingly bottomless water never left me.

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The travel agency employed polar experts to deliver lectures after each day's trip and I really learned a lot. They told us that just a few years ago, the scenery was entirely different. As global warming accelerates, the icebergs are diminishing rapidly.

It's only when you witness sections of pack ice gradually disappearing that the need for serious environmental protection really hits home.

When I returned to China, I made strenuous efforts to be more eco-friendly. If I can take the subway to work, I won't drive. Meanwhile, I try my hardest to persuade customers to choose environmentally friendly, renewable resources for their decorations.

The tour was the most relaxing time of my life and so I've decided to attempt to reach the North Pole on my next trip.

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Bao Cheng was talking to He Na.