My first trip to the White Continent


Probably on top of many world travelers' bucket lists!

The day I received an email with an offer to travel to Antarctica, I couldn't believe that I was going to fulfill this dream. For years in my life, I thought that every dream I had was a hallucination. It was something so unlikely to happen to me, an unlucky girl with nothing special, in the middle of Brazil. But it proved to be completely wrong. I dreamed of studying whales, I dreamed of sailing the oceans of this world, and I lived 400 km away from the coast. I dreamed of seeing whales. And, after all, it happened.

During my master's degree, I studied the migration of whales between South Georgia (a subantarctic island) and Brazil. I read and reread everything about this island. From the glory periods when it was nothing more than an island dominated by animals and without the presence of men, to the occupations of the whaling stations that decimated populations, where rats and moose infestation took over, to the present day returning to its origins and becoming a place for protection, research, and conservation of the animals that live there, now free of those pests. 

I watched Frozen Planet hundreds of times until I started hearing David Attenborough's voice echoing in my head: "South Georgia! And big waves breaking on the beach covered with penguins and elephant seals... South Georgia... South Georgia..." and I could only think of how to get there. It was then that I learned that some tour companies visit the island during the Antarctic season, and this idea grew in my eyes until the moment when the travel prices put an end to my BBC presenter outbursts. 

Two years after this story, I was sitting at my desk in the office of the Humpback Whale Institute in the city of Caravelas when David's voice echoed again: South Georgia (you read this listening to his voice in your head right now, I bet!). And then I thought: I am a whale researcher, I wonder if they would be interested in having a person like me on board the ships, "I can offer my knowledge in exchange for a bed and food?". And that's how it all started.

I translated my resume into English, wrote a cover letter, and started researching the companies that did the route. There were about 40. I sent emails to all of them, and got a reply from only one of them which said: "This year we have already finished the selection process, but who knows if you want to go next year? Write me back in May of next year?".

Long months of waiting until finally I sent an email again and it came back with a proposal for a trip in December of that year, and the itinerary included South Georgia! During these months, between May and December, I started planning a trip I had never been to, with clothes I didn't even have where to buy, to a place I couldn't even imagine. Between writing to some people asking for clothing tips, setting up the lectures in English, and taking a test in which I had to read a 1400 page workbook, and I still had the whale breeding season in Brazil. It was all crazy and I was afraid that I wouldn't be fully prepared for it. 

I read articles about the type of clothes to wear in winter (second skin, fleeces, ski pants). But I thought "where was I going to buy all that stuff? Waterproof boots? Snowboard goggles, do I need this?". I bought some items that I thought I'd need and packed a huge suitcase with thousands of things.

And obviously, 90% of the things I took were useless and I was completely wrong about the clothing the whole time. I was very cold and embarrassed (don't they feel sorry for the Brazilian people here? Winter in my city is 24°C... yes. But here in Antarctica it's "summer" hahaha).

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My journey with photography

Aside from my passion for whales, I love to hang out with my camera and be able to take photos of such magnificent creatures and be able to transmit emotions.

Who is Dani?

Get to know my story as a Brazilian Marine Biologist, explorer, and expert guide. I’ve traveled all over the world observing, photographing, and researching whales, from Tonga to Antarctica.