Antarctica Dreaming

I spent a little time yesterday looking in detail at where, exactly, in Antarctica we’ll be going. I looked at the itinerary and did a little Googling about each of the places we’ll visit. Then this morning I got out the Antarctic Explorer map that our editorial assistant at the magazine, Barb Fries, got me for Christmas and tried to plot our path. I’ve got it all figured out! So much so that I’m sure the captain won’t mind letting me steer the ship.

We really don’t go deep into Antarctica—we spend all of our time around the Antarctic Peninsula, a tendril-like slice of land and islands that extends about 800 miles north from the continent. Most of our stops are on islands; only once, I think, do we actually set foot on the mainland.

Below is a section of my Antarctic Explorer map that zooms in on our first few stops (I’ve underlined them in red):

At Port Lockroy, our first stop, we should be able to see the skeleton of a blue whale, as well as Gentoo penguins and blue-eyed shags (the latter being a bird I took for granted on my last trip, but do a Google Images search and you’ll see just how beautiful they are). I think this is also where Read more

That Other Time I Went to Antarctica

A younger me, at Port Lockroy, January 2002.

For most travelers, Antarctica is a “bucket list” trip, a place you hope to see once in your lifetime, often the last of the seven continents on which you can say you’ve set foot. I’m very mindful of my good fortune in being able to go to the Antarctic for a second time. The first time was in January 2002, and I was hosting a Penn State Alumni Association trip with Gohagan & Company, just as I’ll be doing in January 2018.

Last night I rooted around in the hall closet that contains several decades’ worth of photos and found the pictures I took on that 2002 trip. Those were the days of film cameras, and I have 37 rolls’ worth of pictures from Antarctica—and Ushuaia, and Buenos Aires—in a shoebox. I remember stuffing a bunch of rolls of film into my jacket each time we’d get on the Zodiac boats that took us from the ship to the penguin colonies onshore, and once over there, I’d have to change film every 36 images. Hard to imagine. I don’t miss that part at all. Read more