LAND SHAPED BY ICE
Our Journey to the Bottom of the Globe
December 27, 2006 — January 20, 2007
“Ice is the beginning of Antarctica and ice is its end…This is earthscape transfigured into icescape. Here is a world informed by ice: Ice that welds together a continent: ice on such a scale that it shapes and defines itself: ice that is both substance and style; ice that is both landscape and allegory.”
The Ice: A Journey to Antarctica
“Good Morning; Good Morning, one and all! We presently find ourselves at 64˚53’ South by 62˚52’ West. We are five nautical miles from our anchorage position in Paradise Bay. The air temperature is 4C or about 40F. Already this morning, we have seen Adélie and gentoo penguins, southern giant petrels, Cape petrels, and south polar skuas. We have clear blue skies, calm waters, and excellent visibility. Conditions look optimum for our zodiac cruise to Petzval Glacier and our continental landing at Almirante Brown Station. So, don your gear and meet us at the bow. Zodiac operations will commence in approximately 20 minutes.”
We woke up to similar words almost every day of our Antarctic journey. Admittedly, this call was usually to wake us for breakfast. On a couple of occasions, however, feeding our tummies did take a back seat to a beach landing or a zodiac cruise.
When the call was for a zodiac cruise or a landing, we needed every second of those 20 minutes to don our gear and make our way to the bow. Not because we had a long distance to traverse across the ship to get to the gangway, but because it took us about that much time to put on all of the clothing layers, the life jacket, the boots, the gloves, and the hat.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
A few days ago, as we were reminiscing about our trip, hubby came up with the perfect description of our experience: SHOCK & AWE. With that in mind, and knowing that there are no words, pictures, or videos that can do justice to the reality of what we experienced, let me start at the beginning and try to give you a small glimpse into what turned out to be the most fabulous adventure of our lives.
I am writing this for two different audiences — those who are planning a trip to Antarctica and want a lot of the nitty-gritty in terms of clothing, etc., and those who just want to read about the trip. Hopefully, the way I have organized this document will allow you to skip through to the parts you are interested in.
Next: IN THE BEGINNING
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LAND SHAPED BY ICE