Antarctica

Drake Passage – Cape Horn – Ushuaia

Ushuaia, Argentina, Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The goal of the last 36 hours is to get through the Drake. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being very, very bad, the Captain says our Drake “tax” going down to Antarctica was a 5, and coming back a 6. Considering how many people were green, or were missing from meal times, or were eating toast and crackers…I’d have guessed at least an 8!

Land Ahoy! Cape Horn dead ahead!
Land Ahoy! Cape Horn dead ahead!
Whales
Whales
Approaching Cape Horn
Approaching Cape Horn

I couldn’t sleep last night for all the rolling and pitching. First of all, who would have thought that I’d get to know the difference between rolling and pitching??? Last night, we had many combinations of the two. Moving fast up, up up…a slight hesitation up top and then a lunge down-where you feel like your stomach stayed up top. Then for grins and giggles, a little roll before the next pitch up and lunge. Things fell off the night stand. Things fell off the desk. My camera bag, hanging on a peg over the bed, swung back and forth from 8 o’clock to 4 o’clock position. I saw water on the port holes, followed quickly by sky. Trying to sleep when you roll side to side and can feel your blood follow gravity. I worried about the cold water, the 300 mile distance between us and land or another boat. Scary night.

But now the Antarctica journey is over. We passed Cape Horn around noon and picked up our Beagle Channel pilot around 5 p.m. We should reach Ushuaia soon. Tomorrow is the day we fly to Santiago. Wednesday, we are on to Easter Island.

So, what’s left to tell about this amazing Antarctic trip? Everything! But then, how can I describe the 2,164 nautical miles we’ve traveled on the National Geographic Endeavor? Neither words, or pictures can really tell the story of the mountains, the sea, or the light. It is a magical place.

We made 11 Zodiac rides with 9 landings, 2 on the continent itself. We learned to put all that gear on in less than 5 minutes for landings: waterproof pants first, boots next, parka, sunscreen, life vest, hat, glasses, gloves, camera bags-in that order…and GO! The first Zodiac ride, I didn’t open my eyes. By the end, I was hanging off to get “the” picture.

Captain, Bryan and 2nd Captain
Captain, Bryan and 2nd Captain

We “boom-boomed” through fast ice with a Captain gifted in navigation and with a wicked sense of humor. His confidence, diligence, respect for everyone and an open bridge really set the tone for a wonderful journey.

We ate well. Those 5 chefs/cooks managed to get us through 11 days with fresh lettuce every day. There’s a soup chef…who in my eyes, is a god. You would not believe the variety of soups we had-each exceptionally tasty. My favorites: wild rice and ginger soup during the first Drake Crossing, butternut squash, and cauliflower cream. I also have to mention the veggie gnocchi, pistachio ice cream, and bacon for breakfast everyday! My goodness, we’ve eaten well!

So, now we’re packed. We’ve settled the accounts. Had the last recap and the last dinner. And now, the announcement that we are pulling into dock. It’s weird to see trees, lights of the town. Looks like a storm is rolling in. And I feel terrible for the folks boarding the boat tomorrow–they tell us the Drake Passage will not be pretty.

Bringing Endeavor in
Bringing Endeavor in
Moon over Ushuaia
Moon over Ushuaia

We’ll update you from Santiago if we have anything fun to share, otherwise, look for the next update on Thanksgiving Day from Easter Island.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Carol and Bryan

And… one last look back at the Endeavor docked in Ushauia, land’s end.

One last look back at Endeavor docked in Ushuaia
One last look back at Endeavor docked in Ushuaia
The Antarctic trip route
The Antarctic trip route
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Antarctica finale – Port Lockroy, Neko Harbor, Vernadsky Station

Port Lockroy, Neko Harbor, Antarctica

Sunday 11.18.07

We’re heading north-entering the Drake Passage this morning. And hoping to get back across with time to spare so we can see Cape Horn. The ship is pitching and rolling. Walking is difficult-and humorous. You kind of have to wait for the roll to move in the direction you want to go…and work with it.

pretty berg
pretty berg

Sorry for limited posts over the past few days. We’ve taken every landing &/or Zodiac cruise offered. I have taken the time to write a lot down in my journal-but getting on line has been limited because of the surrounding mountains and isolated coves.

Parked against a berg
Parked against a berg

Some highlights:

Thursday at Port Lockroy…The water was very choppy, horrible wind. But we were able to visit the one shopping opportunity in our journey. It’s a small museum building–staffed by 2 men and 2 women who live down here for 4 months of summer. They live in one room and conduct studies about the weather, the penguins nesting just out their front door (and all over the island), etc. We wrote a few postcards while there and mailed them at the tiny box. $2 stamps each! I think the postcards will go to the UK first because it’s a British post office. Oh–and they stamped our passports! The ride back in the Zodiacs was the scariest yet. Very bumpy and we got very wet and cold. It was about 25 degrees with 30 mile winds–gusting to 50. It was the borderline of safeness and the Captain almost abandoned the plan.

Port Lockroy
Port Lockroy
Bryan mailing our postcards at Port Lockroy
Bryan mailing our postcards at Port Lockroy

Since the crew there doesn’t have running water, we invited them on board for dinner and showers. They accepted and then because the waters / wind got even worse, we took them with us for the next 24 hours because it simply wasn’t safe to take them back via Zodiac. Great people to talk to. They did mention that our mail would be delayed because they were with us. :)

The next morning, Friday, we awoke to snow, and very quiet, still waters. It was an eerie grey landscape–fog or low clouds covering the mountains surrounding us. There was a sheet of “grease” ice on the water…it was trying to freeze, and it looked like the gently rolling water had a soft, white, velour coating.

snow birds
snow birds
breaking ice
breaking ice
pretty berg too
pretty berg too
zodiac
zodiac

At the southern most part of our journey on Friday (65 14′ 84″ S), we were around the Argentine Islands where there’s a Ukrainian Base called Vernadsky. The 14 guys on base haven’t seen anyone new for 8 months and we were radio’ing with them to come visit and drop off some fresh veggies / fruits and other supplies for them. The pack ice around the bay though was very, very bad. And while one Zodiac made it in with their supplies (taking over an hour to navigate all the ice and blowing a propeller in the process), it was deemed too dangerous and taking too much time to land 100 passengers there. We did a Zodiac cruise around though-and got close enough to the island to wave and talk to a Ukrainian guy who came up to a hilltop on a snow mobile to say “Hey!” Apparently, these guys have a bar with a great collection of vodkas, a dartboard and pool-table. They also convince visiting ladies to leave behind their bras for souvenirs. (!!!)

ice at Vernadsky
ice at Vernadsky
zodiac landing
zodiac landing

Yesterday, we made another continental landing at Neko Harbor. We made a trek up the long side of a mountain overlooking an iceberg’d cove and a glacier. Three times while there we heard glaciers calving and/or falling. It sounds like the cracking and rumble of thunder…and then a splash. One iceberg simply disintegrated into smaller pieces right in front of us. Causing waves and gurgling of the water in an outward circle. We sat up there for a while. The sun had come out and after the long hard walk, we were warm and shed coats, hats and gloves. Stunning view. But the best part was getting down. We “sledded” down on our backsides! You sat down and scooted yourself to the lip of this descent–the mountains, glaciers and water ahead of you–then as you picked up speed, you laid down fully on the ice and flew down the mountain, spinning a bit side-to-side and seeing the Antarctic landscape above you and feeling the ice on your back. Very, very cool and fun. A whole bunch of people of all ages did this…lots of folks at the bottom of the hill cheering you on and several folks took the long hike back up to do it again (including Bryan). We came back to a “picnic” lunch outside on the ship’s back deck.

Lemaire Channel
Lemaire Channel
Neko reflection
Neko reflection
hike up
hike up
the hike up at neko harbor
the hike up at neko harbor
Carol & Bryan at Neko Harbor
Carol & Bryan at Neko Harbor
Carol and Bryan at Neko
Carol and Bryan at Neko
Bryan sliding down Neko
Bryan beginning slide down at Neko
sliding down Neko
“sledders” at Neko Harbor
Bryan's 2nd slide down
Bryan’s 2nd slide down

Many amazing days and so many stories to tell–whales, seals, penguins. But it’s about lunch time now and the seas are getting worse. Cabinets and drawers are banging open/closed and a few things have fallen off the shelves. So I need to stop writing and do this post. Hope to say more about this ship and the Antarctic later.

Shark Fin Berg
Shark Fin Berg
Bud and Berg
Bud and Berg
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Trinity Island – Mikkelsen Harbor – Cierva Cove

Trinity Island, Antarctica

TRINITY ISLAND-MIKKELSEN HARBOUR on 11/14

Bryan Kayaked.

Bryan's Zodiac
Bryan’s Zodiac
Bryan Kayaks
Bryan Kayaks

I Zodiac’d around the harbor. I saw:

  • penguins porpoising through the water, like dolphins
  • penguins propelling themselves out of the water, like rockets
  • penguins not sticking the landing and skidding
  • penguins not propelling themselves high enough and repelling off the snowy ice wall
  • indecisive penguins thinking and hesitating before belly-flopping into the water
  • an Argentine shelter in faded orange (according to Michael, our guide, “not much, but if you’re stranded, it’ll look like the Ritz-Carlton”)
  • a swiss cheese iceberg
  • the rocks on the bottom of the harbor–black and grey stones, with blue chunks of ice
  • a blue-eyed shag at rest and lifting off
Jumping in
Jumping in
Argentine shelter
Argentine shelter

In the afternoon, we motored down into the area known as Cierva Cove…the mainland of Antarctica.

As we zodiac’d around the bay, our Zodiac driver showed us different types of glacier ice-crystal clear and styrofoam-like white. We felt the brash ice go under the rough-tough Zodiacs. And again saw penguins porpoising, jumping and landing. There was some moss growing on the mountain-sides-that is about as “good as it gets” for botany. The calmness of the sea made the harbor a mirror for the mountains. The sun was out, the cloud formations were perfect-another beautifully perfect few hours.

Tova's Zodiac
Tova’s Zodiac
View on Zodiac
View on Zodiac
berg
berg
glass ice
glass ice

It was in these golden hours of magical light-that we landed on the continent proper. We made landfall at a deserted Argentine base that gets painted regularly to still have entitlement to the area (“they’ve only budgeted for fuel and paint,” Jason the guide told us). Way up the hill, there were several buildings painted bright red/orange. We climbed past a grotto of the Virgin Mary on the mountain top. We sank into snow as deep as our hips in some places…and maybe it was even deeper than that. The colors were fantastic. The view amazing. It was sunny-brilliantly warm. We shed hats, gloves and some parkas. We got the rosy-cheeked Antarctic tan, with the raccoon stripe of white across our eyes. Funny.

Zodiac landing
Zodiac landing
Pretty too
Pretty too
perspective
perspective

It was Tim, the expedition leader’s, birthday-and someone brought a sled. Squeals of laughter and delight as some slid down on the sled…and from others (like me) who didn’t like the look of a deep snow walk down, and just sat in the snow to slide down the mountain on our back-sides.

Carol and Bryan on the continent
Carol and Bryan on the continent

Again, words cannot describe it. The place is expansive. The colors and light defy naming. I only hope the photographs help us remember it all!

Antarctica "flag"
Antarctica “flag”
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Deception Island – Bailey Head – Pendulum Cove swim

Deception Island, Antarctica, posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007

We had 3 “landings” on Deception Island (on Tuesday, November 13)…and oh what landings!

First of all-Deception Island is a C-shaped island and, it is a volcano. The “harbor” in the middle is actually the caldera.

We landed first on the outside of the C. The beach, called Bailey Head, has a notoriously tough-“wet”-landing. The sea swells and washes the Zodiacs up too fast, sometimes rolling them over. Our landing was calm–mostly because they urged us to be quick and jump out. We hiked up a snowy hill between dark charcoal mountain crags and deep snowy banks. Chinstrap penguins everywhere…walking in lines–black backs on one side going, white bellies on the other side coming…and that lovely little shuffle, flippers out and to the back. Great photo opportunities up at the top of the hill and we had time to sit and soak it all in. Sunny skies again, but with a deep blue front rolling in.

Carol and Bryan at Bailey Head
Carol and Bryan at Bailey Head
Bailey Head
Bailey Head
Carol at Bailey Head
Carol at Bailey Head
Bailey Head
Bailey Head

Next, we headed inside the island’s C. To get into the caldera harbor, you pass through Neptune’s Bellows…a windy, rocky, narrow pass where the volcano erupted and collapsed on one side. The Captain said a tour ship grounded there last summer and another tour company took on the passengers and had to return immediately to South America…ruining the trip for both ships. We had better luck–likely a more skilled captain!

Captain Kreuss
Captain Kreuss

Once inside the passage, we got a look at the deserted whaling station…and a lot of sea ice in pancake-like chunks floating against the shore line. The captain plowed through the ice slowly…trying to figure out how to get us close enough to launch Zodiacs. His creative solution was to drop anchor in the middle of the bay and literally drive the ship up on the black sand beach. Then he ruddered the ship from side-to-side in order to clear the floating ice away from the ship…again in hopes of getting the Zodiacs out safely. He stood on the outside of the bridge and talked into his walkie-talkie to the zodiac drivers in the back and below. He was confident and capable, joking with the crew and passengers. After a few minutes of this, he decided it still wasn’t safe and we began pulling out. Honestly though, I don’t think anyone was disappointed…most people were standing on deck delighting in the moment of feeling the hull run up on sand! Oh yeah…the anchor pulled us out!

No getting through the pack ice
No getting through the pack ice

Next, he steamed for the cove where volcanic run-off makes the water warm enough to swim. Again, “fast” ice around the cove. He motored into it doing 10 knots. We stopped cold…and the ice did not crack. People came running onto the bow to see the V-shaped indention in the ice as he backed the ship up. Swimming opportunities began to look bleak. But a few minutes later, Captain ran us into more pack ice…but at a different angle. And now, the Zodiac door opened straight down onto the ice. We simply walked off the ship onto the frozen fast ice of the cove. It was the most amazing thing I think I’ve ever seen! A ship about 300 feet long, pulled into the ice, a tow rope draping down from the bow on the ice, and people streaming out of the side door onto the ice. Giddy. Sheer giddiness. I laughed out loud and ran around like a kid–snapping pictures. Stunning! People played soccer on the ice, others posed for a photo on the tow line-as if heaving the Endeavor out of pack ice.

Parked on Ice
Parked on Ice
Standing on the ocean :)
Standing on the ocean :)  BEST DAY EVER.
Bryan's dip
Bryan’s dip

We walked across the frozen harbor, over the surf at the beginning of the black sand beach, around the curved beach and over to the steamy area near the back of the cove. Bryan and about 20 others stripped down and jumped in to the steamy surf. Bath water temperature for only about the first 3 feet, then a steep drop in depth and temperature. Bryan earned his Polar Swim award!

Bryan’s Antarctic “Swim” Video link to Bryan’s Pendulum Cove swimming…in the warm thermal run-off from the island’s volcano. 25 degrees, 10 with windchill. But warm like bathwater for the first 3 feet! :)

It was a fantastic day. At the evening “recap” before dinner, everyone applauded the Captain…his expertise made our day! And he looked nearly as giddy as we did…having had a day of playing with his boat!

Each day just gets better than the last!

It’s Thurs. 11.15 11 p.m. right now…not dark outside. Very rough seas right now. We’ve been in high mountain areas and internet access is dodgy. Stay tuned!

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Elephant Island – B15 – Sea Ice, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

South Shetland Islands, Antarctica – Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wow. What can I say about yesterday?! We landed on Elephant Island…the small spit of land where Shackleton’s men waited 128 days for his return to rescue them from 2 years on the ice. It’s a difficult landing–and very few people actually get the chance to land. For some of our Zodiac drivers/guides, this was their first time to land. White cliffs and glaciers around. Chinstrap penguins. And then a cruise around the area…blue bergs with caves, penguins claiming rock islands for their nests.

Elephant Island Cove
Elephant Island Cove
On Elephant Island
On Elephant Island
Chinstraps on Elephant Island
Chinstraps on Elephant Island
Cool!
Cool!

Later we approached the giant iceberg known as B-15d. It calved off the OTHER SIDE of Antarctica in March 2000 and has floated around the continent from about “6 o’clock to 10:30″…counter-clockwise. Now it’s grounded against Clarence Island. It is 29 miles long by 8 miles wide…nautical miles. Which means it’s bigger in “normal” miles (1.15 mile = 1 nautical mile). I couldn’t believe my eyes. The size of it is simply too much to absorb. I stood on the bridge and watched the approach–stunned at the length of it. We also saw 3 varieties of seals (Weddell, Crabeater, Leopard) laying on the bits of ice fallen off around it. We got VERY close.

B 15 d looking north to Clarence Island
B 15 d looking north to Clarence Island
B-15d South
B-15d South
Bryan and B15d
Bryan and B15d
Carol and B15d
Carol and B15d

A few hours later, again standing in the bridge, we got to hear the captain say “Let’s see just how hard 1-year-old sea ice is,” as he steered the ship to break through a short field of ice on the water. A few small bumps, some scrapping noises…and all us tourists racing around the bow to get a good look as we plowed through the ice.

"Let's see how soft 1-year-old sea ice is."
“Let’s see how soft 1-year-old sea ice is.”
Breaking thru sea ice
Breaking thru sea ice
Approaching Sea Ice
Approaching Sea Ice

Words cannot describe this experience. The light is unbelievable–crystal clear or eerie. It’s shocking to look out a window and see an iceberg bigger than a house float by. The colors are whites, blues, greens…. Black sand beaches, rocks, penguins steps away who aren’t the least bit concerned.

Carol and Bryan on a zodiac
Carol and Bryan on a zodiac

We eat well on board. We have coffee available 24 hours a day so we can stay awake despite the gentle rocking of the boat. And the sun…it rises now around 3:30 and sets after 9:30. The further south we go, the more sun we’ll get. No real dark night. Just a prolonged sunset that turns into a sun rise.

We feel very very lucky to see this place. Truly lucky.

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Antarctica “flag”
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South Shetland Islands–Antarctica!

Aitcho Island, Antarctica, Monday, November 12, 2007

We are in Antarctica!

After about 24 hours of motoring along through the Drake Passage, we crossed the Antarctic Convergence-which is where the water temperature drops quickly over a short few miles as the warmer northern water meets the colder southern water.

Us with the 1st iceberg
Us with the 1st iceberg
1st iceberg
1st iceberg

The first iceberg was spotted around 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. It was a big square block-about the size of 5 acres–sitting way off in the distance. Then we passed a few more icebergs very close up-one with penguins perched on the side. Bergs began to get more frequent. We saw bergs with blue, greens, lines etched, tunnels…all very beautiful.

1st Iceberg announcement See our shaky video, and listen to our expedition leader encourage us out on deck when the ship stopped to get a closer look at our first iceberg.

The Drake got very large swells yesterday as we were in the final few hours to the South Shetland Islands. Waves broke over the front of the bow and the ship pitched front-to-back and rolled side-to-side. Never knew there was a difference between pitching and rolling. But I know it now. And I know that they both make me queasy! Waves even washed over the dining room windows on the port side (the left side, in the direction of travel). This of course, sent me scurrying from the dining room looking for a Bonine tablet. About a third of the folks have been seasick.

Around 1:30 p.m., we pulled into a harbor and begin prepping for our first Zodiac landing. There was a mandatory meeting about proper environmental etiquette while on land:  Keep 15 feet from penguins, try not to make many footprints, don’t take stones or shells, leave no waste behind, move quietly and slowly.

Love the light!
Love the light!

We began boarding Zodiacs around 2:30–8 to a boat. These are rubber dingies with a light metal bottom and big inflated rims to sit on. They sit low in the water, and you sit on the inner-tube-sides gripping a rope. It zoomed across the water to the black sand beach. You swing your legs over and jump into the waves breaking on the beach. The giant muck boots, water-proof over-pants and the bright red parkas are amazing for keeping you warm and dry. We were on land for almost 2 hours and only my fingers got cold (since I had my hands out snapping pictures almost the whole time.)

On Aitcho
On Aitcho
Aitcho Chinstrap
Aitcho Chinstrap
Penguins and berg
Penguins and berg
Gentoo Penguins
Gentoo Penguins

So, there are penguins everywhere! Gentoos with earmuff markings on their heads/eyes and bright red/orange feet/bills and Chinstraps with the identifying line across their chins. They looked at us. We looked at them. If you stop and sit down very still, they will approach you to get a better look. It’s mating season, so there’s a lot of pebble collecting, squawking, and running about going on as they look for a mate and try to impress her.

"I'd like to thank you all for coming."
“I’d like to thank you all for coming.”

We also saw 3 seals basking in the 29 F degree sunshine and brisk winds. They seemed to enjoy it!

Today, we’re approaching Elephant Island–where Shackleton’s men waited for rescue for 128 days. Not sure we’ll be able to land, but should get fairly close to see it. There’s a lot of ice this season, so landing plans change with the opportunities.

From Ushuaia to Antarctica
From Ushuaia to Antarctica
Antarctica "flag"
Antarctica “flag”
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On the Ship!

Saturday, November 10, 2007 in Ushuaia, Argentina

We are on the National Geographic Endeavor–and on our way to Antarctica! It’s 8:22p in Chicago/Nashville, 11:22p here.

Carol and Bryan with the National Geographic Endeavor
Carol and Bryan with the National Geographic Endeavor

We left Santiago this morning for Ushuaia, Argentina–where we boarded the ship around 5:30p. There are about 110 passengers and maybe 50 crew/staff. The ship has internet access/wireless too, a library with 24 hour tea/coffee access, a dining room, bar/lounge, steam room, massage room, workout room, oh…and 4 lifeboats, each can hold 50 passengers. Our cabin is #224…port side (on the left, in the direction of travel). Remember “There’s no PORT LEFT”. :)

National Geographic Endeavor Cabin 224
National Geographic Endeavor Cabin #224
Captain?
Captain?
The Bridge
The Bridge

We’ve seen the lifeboats, learned how to put on and deal with the life vests, unpacked our stuff, and are now about to get some sleep–hopefully. The wind was bad in Ushuaia–delaying our start for about 30 minutes. We left port about 7pm. Now, as we near the end of the Beagle Channel, and prepare to make a right hand turn into the Drake Passage, the ship is starting to rock, roll and pitch–or as the director said, “side-to-side and various other directions”. They are predicting 6 foot swells. Holding on is important, as is putting things away tightly to avoid falling objects. We’ll be at sea for about 2 days. Hopefully reaching the South Shetland Islands by Sunday night….and getting into 19 hours of daylight, 5 hours of sunset/sunrise.

Leaving Ushuaia
Leaving Ushuaia
East in the Beagle Channel
East in the Beagle Channel

We’ve just seen headlights out our 2 little portholes twice now…of other fishing boats passing by. Really dark out there now otherwise. Sun didn’t go down until about 9:15 though.

Lifeboat :)
Lifeboat :)

So here are a few photos. I need to get to bed before I start getting motion sick! I can hear the motor changing rhythm a bit…and I can hear waves just outside the window!
Good night!
Carol and Bryan

Argentina Flag
Argentina Flag
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Packing

This is about our trip to Antarctica. We live blogged this on TravelPod November 6 – 20, 2007 as we crossed the Equator, stopped in Santiago, flew to Ushuaia, and boarded the National Geographic Endeavor for a trip to Antarctica. Our families wanted to make sure we were alive way down there. So, this was written and published live. I am moving it from TravelPod in 2017, because TravelPod is closing. I want to preserve it, just as I wrote it, in the moment. There are so many memories, so many photos. It was–and remains–the trip of my lifetime (so far!).  And now, from the original TravelPod blog:

Distance. Solitude. Albatrosses. Whales. Penguins. Icebergs. Blues. Whites. The Midnight Sun. The Drake Passage.  “You wait. Everyone has an Antarctic.” Thomas Pynchon, V.

Monday, November 5, 2007 – Packing – Chicago, IL

It’s the day before we leave. Stuff is everywhere…waterproof pants, ziploc bags, camera cords, e:mail addresses, and a litany of notes about caring for the dogs. We’re afraid we’re forgetting something. Passports? Underwear?

We saw Venus in the eastern morning sky today…bright and shining so close to the crescent moon. It’s cold, windy today. But the leaves are still green on the maple out front. There may be flurries tomorrow in Chicago. But it’ll be spring in Antarctica, probably in the 20s. And in the 70s-80s in Santiago/Easter Island. How do you pack for this???

Pile #1
Pile #1

Well, we have 2 jumbo duffles on wheels. And a very long list of stuff that by the end of the day, needs to be tucked in and ready to go. Here are just a few of the things we’ve been told to bring:

  • 2 bright red parkas–Bryan compressed them in a giant ziploc baggie. Together, they are now the size of one muck boot.
  • 2 sets of Muck Boots–waterproof, insulated…and awkwardly big.
  • Sea-sickness pills/wristbands–just in case we’re paying the “Drake Tax”
  • Sunblock and lip balm–despite it being Antarctica, we will apparently burn! Sun reflects off of water and ice/snow. Plus, the Antarctic is missing an ozone layer.
  • Swim suits and old tennis shoes–for an Antarctic dip in Deception Islands’ hot springs.
  • 100% UV protected sunglasses–our eyes will burn too, so the advice is to bring 2 sets…just in case.
  • Multiple sets of hats, scarves, gloves and socks–so we stay dry. “you will probably get your feet wet.
  • Bring several pairs of tall, wool socks.” Damp appendages can cause bad things to happen. Great.
  • Ziploc bags to waterproof your stuff–hmmm…
  • Cameras to preserve memories–10 rolls of slide film, 13 GB of memory, 3 jump drives to back it all up, 3 cameras, laptop, video camera, batteries, battery chargers, adapters, and 2 miles of cords to connect it all.
  • Clothing layers made of stuff like wool, fleece, silk, and polyropylene
  • Shorts, walking shoes, guidebooks…
2 parkas + a muck boot
2 parkas + a muck boot
Charlie and Belle
Charlie and Belle

So, I need to wrap this up and commence to putting it all in the bags.
Stay tuned!
Carol and Bryan

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