Presentation on theme: "Antarctica The White Continent Alexandra Bishop. Day 1 Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina Today we flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia on a charter plane. I met."— Presentation transcript:
Antarctica The White Continent Alexandra Bishop
Day 1 Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina Today we flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia on a charter plane. I met the guest speaker, Joe McConnell, and his wife Tricia. We took a bus to the national park where we boarded a catamaran that showed us around the Beagle Chanel. Professor McConnell and his wife ate lunch with us and told me that I was the first person to recognize him and greet him on this trip. It felt really rewarding to speak up on the plane and ask him about his research on ice cores. View from the Ushuai airport
Day 2-3 Drake Passage Yesterday and today are probably going to be the hardest days on the expedition, at least that’s what Lisa Kelly, our expedition leader, told us. I learned about the Beaufort scale from Steve, a naturalist, which told us that we are experiencing an 8 or 9. After the lecture, mom and I went to the bridge and told the captain that we thought the weather conditions reported an 8 on the scale. He told us that it was a 6, but after about five minutes he told us that we were right and that it was indeed an 8 and maybe a 9 on the scale. Snow petrels and albatross’ keep following the ship and I watch them soar from the workout room on the stern of the ship. Snow Petrel View from the workout room
Day 3- afternoon Barrientos Island We are finally at the South Shetland Islands and out of the Drake Passage. As I stepped out of the zodiac driven by Cotton, one of the photographers, I saw my first brush tail penguin. Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins were sitting on their nests made of hundreds of pebbles that were all the same size trying to protect their eggs from the hungry, swarming birds. I saw a broken egg in the snow at the edge of the colony, so I asked Andy, a naturalist and whale specialist, if one of the petrels flying over our heads did this. He had not seen the egg and after observing it, he told me that some bird had stolen that egg and eaten the contents. In that moment I realized that these penguins in front of me are more than cute animals that are funny to watch but actually valuable and in a constant state of fear and protection of their offspring. Gentoo penguin jumping over footprints Broken egg
Zodiac cruises, hikes, and penguin colonies are all on the morning report for our expedition of Brown Bluff. We first cruised around breathtaking icebergs and jumping penguins in the water before hiking a short way up the mountain to the base of the glacier. This next part began a tradition with some of our friends we met from around the world. With the assistance of a naturalist, my sister and I slid down the mountain like penguins. It was not as easy as it might seem. The sliding was fun, but took a lot of power. I don’t know how all of the penguins climb up and slide down the tall mountains several times a day. It was so remarkable to see the talent and determination that they have. Day 4-morning Brown Bluff Penguins jumping into the Antarctic.
Day 4-afternoon Antarctic Sound John and Holly, killer whale researchers, gave us a lecture about killer whales. There are type A, B1, B2, C, D. Lisa, the expedition leader, announced that type B1 killer whales were spotted starboard side. Filled with excitement from our first whale sighting, we all rushed to the bow with our cameras to snap pictures of the whales. It was perfect timing! Now I know how to identify the different types of killer whales and how to take the best pictures of them on my camera. I owe my knowledge to the helpful national geographic team. Type B1 killer whales
Who knew I could hike 2.5 miles in freezing, windy weather with a steep climb of 800 plus feet. Only forty of us hiked today. The view at the top can not be put into words. We just sat down at the top and looked out onto the untouched white desert in front of us. It took time. Time that I did not necessarily want to spend. Time can not be reacquired, but one saying is always repeated in life: Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. I disagree. As important as the journey is, the destination must be great to make the journey happen. I did not know what I was going to see at the top of the mountain, but I had to trust the people who were leading me. This was one of my favorite things I have ever done. A snowman! (we had to destroy it before we left) Day 5- morning Orne Harbor
Day 5- afternoon Cuverville Island Another sliding adventure awaits on Cuverville Island! I decided to take my iPhone instead of my big camera today so I could admire my surrounding rather on focusing on taking pictures. We did both a vertical and horizontal hikes on the snow and saw many penguin colonies. We slid down from the vertical hike next to one of the penguin “highways” where the penguins were sliding to. This is where we decided to take yet another family picture. The weather is perfect and clear. There have been no complaints so far which is music to moms ears.
Day 6 The Lemaire Channel and Booth Island Ice as tall as Everest, Yet so small to us. Bright eyes of the naturalists, Talking to those of us who are curious. As the ship plows through, Penguins jump on and off the ice. What was once whole is now in two, So the tuxedos each claim a slice. Sailing away, Onward and past, Sipping on some café au lait, Regaining feeling at last!
Day 7 Neko Harbour and the Gerlache Strait The last expedition landing is today and it is very bittersweet. We are going to hike 1.5 miles to an overlook point with an 800 feet elevation. I was told we will be able to slide down again which I am looking forward to! We are also kayaking again before we land because the weather is perfect and the seas are calm. Besides penguins, we are supposed to see seals and whales while on shore and in the kayaks. I am ready to get back out there and enjoy every last minute I have here. A glacial avalanche A gentoo penguin jumps in our zodiac.
Day 8 Port Lockroy The British Base A is now a museum. We walked around the base and read about the history and research of the early explorers and whalers who inhabited Port Lockroy many years ago. Gentoo penguins live around the base and water is surrounded by pack ice which made it extremely difficult to zodiac ride in. Lisa and other crew were standing in the water pushing ice out of the zodiacs way so that we could go ashore. She must have been freezing! We did the polar plunge yesterday in 29 degree water and I could not move after.
Although we did not step foot on Cape Horn, I was able to see the beauty of the landscape and learn about the history from the naturalists. There is a broken albatross statue on one of the peaks that we saw. Mom thought it was an awful design because it looks so fragile and the location is on top of a peek that experiences high winds and bad weather. I have to agree with her, it was not a smart idea. Everyone gathered in the bridge while we sailed past Chile and into the Beagle Channel. We are almost to Ushuaia and I cant believe it is almost over! I would go back in a heartbeat if I could! Day 10 Cape Horn and the Beagle Channel Sunset in the Beagle Channel
Today is a sad day, we are leaving the ship. As we boarded the busses I waved good bye to the crew and naturalists who were standing on the dock, waiting for the next set of guests. It’s hard to believe that someone else will be staying in my cabin and doing everything we just did. I don’t want to drive away from the ship, I want to see more penguins and ice. We are going to an old jail now and then a hotel to rest before we fly to Buenos Aires. At least all of our new friends are with us and we are still enjoying the journey. Back in Ushuaia A selfie of me on the bus with a picture of beavers while listening to a talk about them.