Thursday, January 16, 2014

Antarctica Part II

The same friends who asked me why I was going to Antarctica asked when I got back, "So what did you DO there?" The answer is, a lot!

First, we had to detour to a Chilean base in the South Shetland Islands to drop off an injured crewmember.  Fortunately, there is an airstrip there, so he was transferred to another ship and then taken to shore to be flown to a hospital in Chile.

This is part of a Russian base next to the Chilean one.
 
The next day we reached the Antarctic Peninsula.  Twice a day for the next few days, there was an announcement on the ship's PA about "Gangway." In order to be ready for gangway, you put on:

-as many layers as you think you might need (I wore too much at first. It was pretty warm!)
-a backpack with your camera gear, extra layers (until you learned you didn't need them) and anything else you might want
-Rubber boots, provided by the ship
-A lovely yellow parka, provided by the ship, which we got to keep
-A life jacket
-A lanyard with a card on it proclaiming your name and the ship's name, in case someone wondered what you were doing on shore

and you headed down to the exits where your name was checked off a list, you stepped in disinfectant, and boarded a Zodiac.

Nikki explains it all on our first day on the Zodiac.

Fabrice was a French scientist who doubled as a Zodiac driver. Ooh la la.
Once on the Zodiac, some of us would cruise around looking at wildlife, scenery, and historic structures, while the other half of the group would go on land.  Only 100 people are allowed on land at one time at each spot.  Then we would switch.  No food is allowed on land.  If you have to go to the bathroom, there is a blue barrel for that purpose (it's not very private; I think most of us dehydrated ourselves).

Checking out an iceberg from a Zodiac
On land, we had the opportunity to explore penguin colonies, hike up hills to take in the view, and check out historic landmarks.

Three Gentoo penguins.

This is an emergency shelter.


Mountains and glaciers everywhere.

 
There were also activities we could sign up for, like kayaking, cross country skiing, and climbing.


Happy kayakers.

I went climbing. It was amazing!

I also had the opportunity to camp on the Antarctic continent.

We had 24 hour daylight.

 
And did I mention, we saw PENGUINS?

A penguin on the move.

Penguin on a rock nest.  (There's no trees, so no twigs or branches).

There's penguins behind me!
 
Baby penguins!

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7 comments:

  1. Oh, how cool! Now I want to go there!

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  2. Wonderful photos! Thanks for talking us all there with you!

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  3. I think I could spend all day with penguins!

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  4. Yep, totally jealous of this trip!! It's on our bucket list...we will get there eventually!!

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  5. That's the great thing about it, there were people from about age 22 to age 75, and you can be as active as you want. It's never too late to go there.

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