Blogs from Antarctica, Antarctica - page 24

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Antarctica » Antarctica » Ross Sea March 17th 2008

Breaking through the pack ice into the Ross Sea was far from a foregone conclusion. Aurora’s previous trip in January had not managed to do so, and we spent an extra couple of days battling this ice ourselves, venturing as far east as the dateline and using helicopters for recce flights before we found a path through. Once through and into the Ross Sea’s polynya, a recurring area of open water, our battles were far from over. Fast ice around the coast would challenge our attempts to approach some of our desired destinations sufficiently close for either Zodiac or helicopter landings. Last season’s pack ice should still have been disintegrating, but recent temperature variations meant that new ice was already forming rapidly. Even for Antarctica aficionados, it was an astonishing trip in terms of the number ... read more
Lego blocks
the Marina Svetaeva in the icebreaker-bashed channel in McMurdo Sound
the tongue of the Drygalski Glacier

Antarctica » Antarctica March 11th 2008

Hallo allemaal. Allereerst bedankt voor al jullie reacties, leuk om te lezen! We hebben ondertussen twee sneeuwstormen overleefd maar nu is het weer koud (-15C) en zonnig. Na een dag in het ondergrondse winkelcentrum (30 km (!!) winkels en eettentjes) hebben we een film gekeken op Imax formaat, The Spiderwick Chronicles, een sprookjes film. In deze bioscoop waren wel 20 zalen maar druk was het bepaald niet. Toen we uit de film kwamen werd duidelijk waar alle Montreallers waren... thuis. We kwamen middenin een sneeuwstorm, nog nooit zo iets gezien! Sneeuw tot knie hoogte en autos moesten uitgegraven worden of ze wachten tot het voorjaar. Zie foto's. Er is zoveel sneeuw gevallen dat de shovels en vrachtwagens de sneeuw buiten de stad storten maar het werk niet aan kunnen. Lekker ploegen door de sneeuw dus. Verder ... read more
Uitzicht apartement
Filmpje pakken?
Nootjes strooien in het park

Antarctica » Antarctica March 6th 2008

To set the scene… Our trusty vessel, the Marina Svetaeva, was an ice-strengthened 1989 Polish-built, Russian-registered 90-metre passenger ship, recently acquired (previously leased) by Aurora Expeditions. While not an icebreaker, she was, effectively, only half a grade away, and we can certainly now vouch for her ice-bashing capabilities in the careful hands of her skipper, Kapitan Gena, and his Russian crew. In addition to the forty-odd crew, there were about twenty mainly-Australian staff and lecturers to look after our gastronomic, intellectual and logistical needs, from cooking and running the bar, to manning the inflatable landing craft, Zodiacs, and co-ordinating helicopter flights, to educating us about the history and fauna of Antarctica, and other related issues. The experts on board were a delightful group. Variously British, Kiwi, Australian and Argentinean, ... read more
the Marina Svetaeva
iced-up bow
effortless...

Antarctica » Antarctica » Halley Station March 6th 2008

Finally the time has come for me to write the final instalment of this seasons work here on the Brunt Ice Shelf at Halley Research Station. I left you previously with the update written while we were waiting out the storm which ended up keeping us cooped up inside for just over 4 days. Day 1 was great, a chance to chill out and relax, catch up on emails, watch a film and generally do nothing for once. Day 2, similar scenario, braving the weather each meal break walking down the rope line so as not to get lost. Visibility was at about 1 meter hence the rope line plus you had to walk in pairs and radio through to the comms room to tell them you were coming and once you had arrived. The ... read more
SunDogs above the Line
Getting in from the storm
B2- North Nose

Antarctica » Antarctica February 29th 2008

Antarctica. The windiest, coldest, highest, driest continent on this planet. The amorphous and largely-ignored white bit at the bottom of the map. The last place on Earth to be conquered by man. The obsession of near-legendary explorers such as Scott, Shackleton, Mawson, Byrd and Amundsen, and the death of many who sought to push the boundaries of man’s survival. A land of 24-hour daylight in summer and incomprehensible endless night in winter. Penguins, seals, whales. And all a very, very long way away. This was always going to be totally different to any other travelling I’ve ever done: long periods at sea, freezing temperatures and an itinerary that was, at best, aspirational and, at worst, quite likely to be rendered fictitious. 160 people - passengers, staff and crew - joined an ice-strengthened Russian vessel in Bluff, ... read more
landing at Cape Adare
a smoking Mount Erebus
edge of the glacier

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Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station February 22nd 2008

Across the McMurdo Sound and about 50 miles north of here lies one of the rarest and coolest regions in the whole world... Even here in Antarctica, where glaciers and snow-capped mountains are the norm, this region is considered the holy grail of all research locations and the closest place on earth to the conditions we imagine might exist on Mars... The McMurdo Dry Valleys. Everyone eats their heart out over people who get to go to these obscure field camps within the Dry Valleys and the photos never really do the region justice. What's so special about brown rocky mountain peaks and barren valleys? Nothing, except when they're in Antarctica (98% covered by ice) and full of microscopic living organisms (the only ones on the continent!). So, when I heard that all of the Carps ... read more
Ross Island and vacinity
The Entrance to the Dry Valleys
The Dry Valleys

Antarctica » Antarctica February 21st 2008

Antarctica » Antarctica » Halley Station February 19th 2008

I began my last update by explaining that I had time to write it due to being stuck inside because of 30-knot winds and huge snow drifts. Well, a few weeks down the line and it is time for another update only today it is blowing 50 knots outside and you cant see more than 2 meters in front of you! A pattern seems to be appearing and the only time you get to sit down and write is when you can’t do anything else due to the weather. Today is 19 Feb and generally the ship will always leave here around about the 14 Feb before the sea starts to refreeze. Yet we still have another 2 weeks here before its time to leave, the latest the ship has ever left from Halley. Lets hope ... read more
Emp and her chicks
Emporor Penguin
Maybe being chased by a Leopard Seal???

Antarctica » Antarctica February 18th 2008

I just came back from a 10 day cruise to Antarctica on the M/V Polaris. It was one of the greatest experiences of my trip. We started sailing through the Beagle channel, which was quite nice, and we saw lots of sea birds, and a few magellanic penguins. Then, we had two days sailing through the Drake passage, which is infamous for bad weather and rough seas. Fortunately, on the way down to Antarctica, we had great weather and calm seas, and we even got there half a day earlier than expected, and so we were able to land on Aitcho Island on the evening of our third day. I won´t bore you with details of all the landings we made during the following four days, mostly because I don´t remember the names of all these ... read more
Chinstrap Penguin
Skewer
Flock of Petrels


Sorry for not poppin anything up here for awhile, and thank you to everyone for the e-mails reminding me to do so. With a shakey internet conection and the numerous things going on at all times over here it's been challenging to keep this going, but here's a quick recap...i'll try and include as many random details as possible. - Went to Madrid. Very cool city. Has a park in the middle which used to be the kings hunting ground and which now resembles an enchanted forest. It's a great place to find a nook and relax with a book, or a nap. Between the three days we saw about 8 museums, the palace, and a number of other historical sites/monuments. Best part of this was CIEE (the company i am here with) split us into ... read more




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