Photographs from the South end of Earth
by Mario Simoes
About the Book
In November and December 2011, my wife and I ventured into one of the most remote regions on Earth: the Antarctic Peninsula. However, before landing on the Frozen Continent, our voyage took us first to the Falkland and South Georgia Islands.
The Falklands are one of the world's great wildlife meccas, home to more than six million Macaroni penguins, millions of Rockhopper penguins, thousands of nesting Albatrosses, and countless other sub-Antarctic species.
Eight hundred miles southeast of the Falklands lays ice-crowned South Georgia Island, another oceanic oasis and the best place for close-up looks at vast numbers of stately King Penguins. Spectacular South Georgia is also full of history. It's where Sir Ernest Shackleton and his party landed in 1916 after completing an 800-mile voyage across the wild Southern Ocean in a 22-foot whaleboat to seek rescue for the stranded men of his ship, the Endurance - probably the single greatest feat in the history of polar exploration.
The Antarctica Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, framed by stunning mountains, glaciers and icebergs, and populated by large colonies of Adélie, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, as well as vast numbers of seals and whales.
Eventually, our Antarctica Expedition ended where it started: Ushuaia, Argentina. We both had to set sail yet again, this time for our respective domesticated lives that awaited us. The flight home, however, would be different. Rather than the anxiety and excitement of the unknown, the time spent during our homebound flight was dedicated to reflection and the continued realization that we had succeeded in reaching the “South end of the Earth” and back, a land where few others have stepped foot.
In the next pages you will find a photographic glimpse of the splendor and natural beauty of this remote region of the Word; I hope you enjoy it!
I was born in Venezuela in 1971 to Portuguese parents. At a very young age, I moved to Portugal where I was raised and educated. I was accepted into the Portuguese Air Force Academy at the age of 17. Upon graduating from the AFA in 1993, I was selected to attend Pilot Training in the US, where I flew T-37s and T-38s. I received my US Air Force Wings in January 1994. I then returned to Portugal and was assigned to the 502 Squadron, where I flew the Casa 212. Eventually, I moved to the US, where I flew for a large airline before attending law school at UF, Gainesville, Florida. Today, I practice law with his wife, Kim Simoes, in Deland, FL. In addition to flying, I dedicate a large portion of my free time to photography, a passion I discovered during my 1st visit to Africa in 2008, when I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. What started as a photographic curiosity in 2008 has grown into an obsession, especially after my trips to the Galapagos and Antarctica.