TRAVELLERS: Robin and Barbara Yule spent five weeks travelling around South America and Antarctica.
TRAVELLERS: Robin and Barbara Yule spent five weeks travelling around South America and Antarctica. Renee Albrecht

'It's not how old we are, but how well we feel'

EXTREME cold, 20km treks and 13-hour bus rides were not enough to stop the Yules from proving age is no barrier.

The Gympie couple - Barbara, 75 and Robin, 76 - spent five weeks travelling around Argentina and Antarctica.

It was a trip which Mr Yule said had been a part of his bucket list for a long time.

Landing on the air strip in Antarctica, though, was a journey in its own right.

"They have this fog or mist that comes down without any warning and it can stay there for days," he said.

"And you've got to wait for clearance from the air force to get in."

 

TRAVEL BUG: Robin and Barbara Yule reaching the heights at Argentina Brown Station on Sanaviron Peninsular.
TRAVEL BUG: Robin and Barbara Yule reaching the heights at Argentina Brown Station on Sanaviron Peninsular. Contributed

He said it was 36 hours from when they started out on the trip to Antarctica to their departure.

Six hours of them were spent waiting at the airport.

"We went out for lunch," he said.

Of course, this was also when the call to board was made.

"We didn't even get our lunch, they said 'get on the plane, we're off'."

 

Robin and Barbara Yule at Torres Del Paine after a 22km trek.
Robin and Barbara Yule at Torres Del Paine after a 22km trek. Contributed

It was not long after arriving that they realised how fortunate they were to land, with another fog descending over the air strip.

"If we'd been 10 minutes later, the airport would have closed again."

Despite the delays, however, nature turned out to be on their side.

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"The weather was so good, they said the best they had in 10 years."

 

Barbara Yule rehydrating during a tough climb at Puerto Natales, Chile.
Barbara Yule rehydrating during a tough climb at Puerto Natales, Chile. Contributed

Mrs Yule said the trip into Antarctica itself was an "amazing experience", especially given the difficulties of actually getting there.

"There were people on board who had travelled from all over the world the previous year, and had waited five days before the flight was cancelled," she said.

"So we realised how fortunate we were to arrive."

 

Showcasing the beautiful icebergs.
Showcasing the beautiful icebergs. Contributed

Mr Yule said his own highlight was seeing penguins in their natural habitat.

However, the birds themselves struggled to co-operate with the trip guidelines.

"We had to avoid the penguins, but the penguins didn't seem to understand."

Despite temperatures reaching minus-15 degrees with wind chill, Mr Yule did not feel out of place.

"I've been colder in Glen Innes."

 

View from El Chalten village before their first 24km trek through the foothills.
View from El Chalten village before their first 24km trek through the foothills. Contributed

They also took the opportunity to indulge in a bit of novelty, sending letters from the southernmost post office in the world.

Every letter sent did arrive, although not always in a timely fashion.

"They all came back.

"Some after we'd arrived I might add, but that's all right."

The couple also travelled throughout El Calafate, Torres del Paine national park, and Ushuaia, with trips to Glacier National park at El Chalten and the Perito Morenio glacier.

Although they were the oldest members of their 10 person group, Mrs Yule said their ability to make the trip came down to a personal commitment to healthy lifestyles.

 

Robin Yule inspecting the Puffing Billy near Ushuaia, Argentina.
Robin Yule inspecting the Puffing Billy near Ushuaia, Argentina. Contributed

"Being able to keep active by walking, swimming and bike riding in my retirement is something I really appreciate," she said, adding it was true age was sometimes only a number.

"It is not so much how old we are, but how well we feel.

"I would recommend however that it would be advisable for any intending adventurers to cross these challenging adventures off your bucket list at least 20 years before we did."

And was it worth it?

Mr Yule would agree so.

"The whole trip was truly magnificent."

Gympie Times

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