A Skye couple who are embarking on a trip of a lifetime in Antarctica have proudly flown the official island flag this week while camping at the earth’s southernmost continent.
Melanie and Bob Moss (pictured) from Camastianavaig, near Portree, left the island on 25th January in the first leg of an epic journey which saw them arrive late last week at the landmass which is almost wholly ice-covered, spans 5.5 million kilometres, and is located more than 10,000 miles south of Skye.
Speaking to the Free Press from their camp at Kerr Point, Melanie detailed her and Bob’s incredible voyage so far.
She said: “On the 26th January we flew to Santiago, Chile and arrived in mid-morning of the 27th. We stayed in quarantine overnight (Chilean government requirements). On the 28th we flew from Santiago south to Punta Arenas at the tip of Chile to meet our ship.”
Melanie and Bob are sailing on the MS Roald Amundsen which is a Hybrid powered expedition ship owned by the Norwegian company Hurtigruten.
“We are at sea for 16 days in total, exploring the Antarctic Peninsula,” she said.
“We aren’t exactly known for traditional beach holidays on the Costas, so this voyage was perfect for us. Going to rarely visited places at the end of the earth, to see things only a few other people have ever seen.
“It also helps I love penguins.”
Melanie said that by sailing by expedition ship, they had the opportunity to explore remote parts of Antarctica on foot and from small zodiac boats, getting close to nature and the beautiful wilderness.
She added: “We are one of the very few passenger ships to get below the Antarctic Circle this season, so it was a privilege to spend three days down there. The photo of me holding the flag on the balcony below the Antarctic Circle at 68.18° south.”
Earlier this week, Melanie alerted the Free Press about their adventure asking: “@WHFP1 do you know how far any of the fantastic new Skye Flags have travelled? Ours left Camustianavaig with us last month and crossed the Antarctic Circle to 68° South and last night we camped with it at Kerr Point Antarctica 64° South.”
Melanie explained: “I took the flag as it hangs in my ‘den’ at home and when I was researching the trip it was always catching my eye.
“It dawned on me one day that I’d be travelling further south than Skye is north and I should take the flag with us. When Bob and I got the opportunity to camp at Kerr Point 64° south we just had to fly the flag proudly.”
She added: “Only 27 guests had the opportunity to camp the night in Antarctica, so we were very lucky. Our camp neighbours were from Germany and asked us about the flag as they did not recognise it. We were very proud to explain where we came from and how new the flag is to the Isle of Skye.
“I also work seasonally as an instructor at ACE Target Sports, Portree and we have photos of playing cards customers have won at ACE and taken with them around the world. I have taken a couple of ACE’S with me, taken photos and sent them back to Matt (Harrison owner of ACE Target Sports) to add to the album! So, we are flying the flag for ACE as well.”
Melanie and Bob are due to arrive back on Skye next Wednesday (16th February)
“All in all, an epic trip, never to be forgotten and full of amazing memories. Even the eye-wateringly cold Antarctic plunges we have both done down here!” she added
The couple’s flying of the Skye standard will no doubt be a proud moment for young islander Calum Alasdair Munro from Kilmuir. The youngster’s design was selected as the official flag following a competition which lasted 15 months, attracted 369 entries and received more than 7,000 public votes.
Calum Alasdair raised the flag at an official and socially distant unfurling ceremony at the Nicolson memorial in August 2020.
Article by Adam Gordon