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Antartica – “A Journey to the Ends of the Sailing World”

By February 22, 2017Blog
Emperor Penguins

“A Journey to the Ends of the Sailing World”

Since childhood, I have been fascinated by adventure and the exploration of the farthest reaches of the earth. I have been blessed in my lifetime by been able to visit some of the most remote places on this planet.

In my travels, I have become enamored with the Polar Regions. In 2012, I was on board the largest vessel to transect the Northwest Passage. In 2013, I was on a magnificent journey to the ends of Russia, Franz Josef Land, and reached latitude 79° North. In 2014, I went on a deep exploration of Greenland’s eastern fjords.

What was left to do was a trip to the coldest, driest and windiest place on earth, a land where extremes are the norm, a continent known as Antarctica.

Antarctica holds 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of the world’s fresh water and yet it is the biggest desert in the world. In the center of the continent, the ice cap is 2300 meters deep. Katabatic winds in excess of 200 mph are a common occurrence. Yet this bleak, barren and harsh landscape has drawn explorers for the last 130 years.

Finally in January of 2017 the opportunity came, not to go to the tourist-laden peninsula, but to the Ross Sea, the playground of Amundsen, Scott and Schakleton, fathers of the Antarctic exploration.

I have decided to use a few of my journal entries and quotes from others to narrate my journey into the land of superlatives.

January 25, 2017 – Terranova Bay

“Today at approximately 9:30 am, I finally step on to Antarctic soil. It has been 25 days since I left home. This place is far, painfully far. Almost 3000 miles of open ocean sailing atop the endless white caps of the “rolling 40’s.”

January 26, 2017 – Franklin Island

“Went to shore to see nature in force. Hundreds of thousands of Adelie penguins adorn the shores of this remote island. The noise and never-ending activity is fascinating. I struggle with the images, too much is happening. I am better off just sitting down and observing this amazing display of life and resiliency.”

Jan 28, 2017 – Bay of Whales -Day of the Record (78°43.997’S – 163°41.421’W)

“We became the ship to sail the farthest south in history, and yes, I was there, standing on the bow of the vessel as it happened. I have literally been to the ends of the sailing world.”

“Just came back from 2 hours in a Zodiac at -10° C, sailing among towering icebergs. Every bone in my body hurts. Saw Emperor Penguins, Leopard Seals and the most elusive Ross Seal. Panoramas of moving penguins, on a moving iceberg in a moving zodiac full of avid shooters is an extreme challenge, I hope I did well. This was an afternoon I will never forget.”

Jan 29, 2017 – Bay of Whales

“Just when I thought I had finished processing the 4000+ frames from yesterday, this place surprises me with another amazing display of ice and force”

Feb 6, 2017 – Christchurch

“After 7 days at sea we sailed into Christchurch. As I watched the ship approach the pier, I felt one of the worst anxiety episodes I have ever had. Clearly my mind was not ready to come back.

Looking into my collection of frames, I had to contend with the almost complete lack of subjects, under not the best of shooting conditions: ship movement or rocking zodiac and with the ever-present “white” that made exposures a challenge.

“I hope my love for new horizons brings to life this Antarctic exploration. My soul will always remember that it is here where I belong”

A Couple of Quotes…

If Antarctica were music, it would be Mozart; art, then it would be Michelangelo; literature, Shakespeare. And yet it is something even greater. The only place on earth that is still as it should be. May we never tame it.

Andrew Denton

Why then do we feel this strange attraction for these Polar Regions? Why do we have a feeling so powerful and lasting, that when we go back home we forget the mental and physical hardships, and want nothing more than to return to them?”

Jean-Baptiste Charcot

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