Aurora man back home after getting stuck in Antarctic

April 25, 2012 3:24:55 PM PDT
An Aurora businessman who was stranded on a ship in the Antarctic is back home.

Bob Bonifas and more than 70 others were stuck on board a ship that lost power for nearly two weeks.

Bonifas considers himself one of the most traveled people in the world. He says he was frustrated being stranded on a vessel in the Antarctic for days. He belongs to an exclusive travel group. They were 12 days into their trip when they lost power and the ship was not seaworthy for passengers. He says he soon realized how isolated they were.

"I never realized how remotely you can be trapped until it happens to you," Bonifas said.

The 74-year-old is glad to be home. Bonifas says he was able to get off the stranded ship and take hikes with others, but he felt trapped because their vessel could not move.

Bonifas is the founder of Alarm Detection Systems in Aurora. He flew back to Chicago Wednesday morning and went straight to his office.

"We knew we were not getting off that island anytime soon," said Bonifas. "It was three days we heard nothing. That was not very pleasant...I am an active guy. The only thing I had was my cell phone."

Bonifas's office is decorated with flags from all the places he has visited... items from his travels. He is said to be the third most traveled person in the world, visiting 800 destinations.

"I was supposed to visit five destinations," Bonifas said. "I got one. I am terribly disappointed, burning up a month of my life I do not have at 74. You have to count the days left."

The Aurora businessman said the 73 passengers were thrilled when the replacement ship from Argentina arrived to rescue them from the port at South Georgia Island near the Antarctic Peninsula.

Bonifas said it took six days to get to Montevideo, Uruguay.

"It is good to see he made it back safe," said Bob's son Dale Bonifas. "He is not going to stop as long as the Good Lord lets him continue."

Bonifas says when he hit land he kissed the ground. He says he was never worried about his safety or the safety of others. His next trip is in September. He will be going to North Korea for a second time.

Bonifas says he still has 73 destinations to go.