South Shetland Islands


As the ship approached Antarctica the icebergs began to increase until we were completely surrounded by the white ice. It was spectacular, but cold! I wore special thermal underwear pants and shirt, a special thermal snow suit, a heavy duty coat with a hood and face mask that went over a balaclava, a face mask covering my nose and goggles over the eyes. I wore fabulous gloves and waterproof snow boots with leg warmers. No flesh was exposed. However in the South Shetland Islands when we arrived it was not so cold.

From my diary:

We’ve arrived at King George Island a part of the South Shetland Islands just off the coast of mainland Antarctica where many science bases are located.

Glory to God, this is history, carried the cross about a mile onto King George Island, but it is more than history. We had to take a small boat from the ship to go over to the main dock to unload. My son Joshua and I took our crosses and stepped off, my first step on the continent of Antarctica! I was so happy. There were men working nearby, I stopped and gave them gospel tracts and stickers and began speaking to them in Spanish.

The first man I met gave his life to Jesus! Glory. Several others stood there and watched. It was worth the whole trip. People were saved today at the Chilean base. The tourist adventurers from our boat were in shock, they all had their cameras and various other equipment and they began to take pictures. They just could not believe the love that we had for these people. They only came to take photos, and to see and do interesting things, but they had no interest in the local people. We walked around the area with the cross.

Joshua and I wanted to mail a postcard so that we would have an Antarctica stamp on the letters that we were going to send, I inquired and they said the Post Office was not open, a man took me to the commandant at the Chilean base. We began to talk in Spanish and I discovered that he was a follower of Jesus, that he had received Christ as his Savior. We spent three hours talking. God gave me an ear to understand everything that he was saying. He called his wife on the radio and she came to see me, we had tea and cake and we prayed together as brothers and sisters. He wanted me to stay and visit the other camps; there are eight nations represented on this island, they were so nice to me, but those stupid tourists wanted to leave and go on, I asked about staying but they would not come back, so we left
about 12:45. He took a diploma, wrote my name on it and presented it to me. It was from the Commandant, 22 Jan 1988, Chile Group #19. This diploma is given for two years of service in Antarctica. It is a very great honor and had never been given to a visitor to the Island. I gave him a small chip from my cross and he put it in a handkerchief and folded it up. We then went back to the boat, pulled out of the harbor and had dinner.

For the complete story of this trip to carry the cross in Antarctica please see “Antarctica” in the Nations: A-D section.

Pilgrim followers of Jesus,

Arthur and Denise Blessitt
Luke 18:1