Posts labeled with Country ' Antarctica'
11000 KM South To Antarctica ! See the video above !
On November 29,2022 TotalAdventure and a colleague boarded an Aerolineas jet for Buenos Aires arriving in Ezezia that evening. The next morning , from Aeroparque, we boarded a smaller jet for the 4 hour flight to Ushuaia. Please see the Ushuaia article above, if you have not already.
Above is the dock at Ushuaia, where our ship, the MV Hondius departed to and arrived from, Antarctica.
Buenos Aires By Night.
Dining At The World’s Top Rated Steakhouse – Don Julio ! The 95 degree summer weather was welcome on our return from Antarctica.
Ushuaia – Time to board the ship to cross the Drake ! Read on in the series below !
Good Fortune Ahead From Ushuaia Across The Drake !
A Long Way From Miami !
Only a very small percentage of the world’s population has been to the Icy Continent at the bottom of Planet Earth. Until the 1980s almost no one but scientists and military explorers had gone to Antarctica, which wasn’t even discovered till 1800. This 2022-23 season may see almost 100,000 visitors, most by ship, some by plane. At any rate , probably less than 1 million people have ever been to Antarctica, about one in 8000.
The land is extremely dangerous. Only the most experienced well equipped explorers can move about on their own – as part of well funded expeditions. The rest go on ice breaker exploration cruise ships or on sailboats. One can be crushed by falling ice, sink into snow like quicksand, never to be seen again or simply swallowed by an avalanche, perhaps seen again in 10,000 years.
Most of the treacherous land is simply photographed. We observed many mountains that had never been climbed, because it would be almost impossible. Here we don’t talk about feet or meters of snow – we talk about kilometers or miles of depth. Up to 5km deep in the interior.
Under hundreds of meters of powdery snow is a mountain. It has now been proven that these mountains are actually a continuation of the Andes, and on to the Rockies. Only the Peninsula has mountain chains, most of the rest of the continent is a flat dry cold desert,,where the snow only falls as a dusting, but since it never melts, lasts forever.
In December the sun only sets for 90 minutes and the sky does not get dark, here at 65 South. At the South Pole, 90 South , it is light for six months.
Apple Watch Astronomy.
Most mountains are jagged like the Andes.
TotalAdventure – On The Seventh Continent !
A former British scientific base , Port Lockroy, is preserved and open in summer for visitors ,who can also shop at what is probably the only souvenir stand on the entire continent. For £ 2 one can send an Antarctica stamped postcard anywhere in the world – via London. 4 women run the show – chosen from 4000 applicants.
The men ( certainly no women in those days) lived a rugged life, in the interest of Science, serving the Crown. Assignments were often 2 years – cut off from the world other than radio for 9 months of winter.
A Young Queen and her Prince give encouragement to the lads in far flung outposts.
The bar was well stocked, but one year the supply ship got stuck in early season ice, and rationing was enforced.
Depending on wind and snow weight, some mountain slopes are bare.
TotalAdventure is not amused how uneducated some compatriots are. I am constantly asked if there are polar bears and igloos in Antarctica. Do these people not remember 3rd Grade geography ? I am also asked why we take a ship instead of a plane and what the hotels are like ? Why I can’t receive a text or a phone call ? No one has yet asked what car rentals cost ,but I’m sure that’s coming.
TotalAdventure – Reporting From Antarctica !
In Antarctic Summer, beginning in Late November/Early December – the sun softens the coastal icepack , allowing sections of the continental ice sheet to break off into the water – in the this case the Pacific zone of the Southern Ocean. At the same time the salt water sea ice softens and breaks up, allowing ships to enter bays and for penguins to fish in more open waters.
We see here a mixture of land and sea ice.The whiter ice is remnants of broken and melting land ice. The flat grey ice is the frozen sea surface either breaking up or just freezing more slowly under the 24 hour summer sunshine. The seawater is -2 C or 28 F. Saltwater freezes at a lower temperature than fresh, which is Zero. Those icicles are natural art – from the broken off lip of a larger iceberg.
Our Zodiacs of the MV Hondius were able to plow slowly, though ice chunks often get caught in the propeller.
One advantage of the waterpoof GoPro, TotalAdventure shot lots of footage under the ice ! Watch the video above for extensive coverage ! Here the camera is upside down , seeing the bottom of the ice floes and the water surface.
TotalAdventure aboard the Zodiac with the GoPro.
On one of the colder days, around -3 C the surface turns slushy, as is the characteristic of salt water ice when forming.
Like clouds, every Iceberg is unique.And it’s true that what you see is only the tip – very large icebergs might be only 10% above water. They can also roll over. The Zodiacs steer clear of the larger ones.
From the deck of the Hondius. See the video for much more action !
All one iceberg. There is a cove inside. Extremely dangerous to approach as huge chunks of ice can crush you.
Closer , but not too close.
On top of an ice shelf, a Leopard Seal soaks up the summer sunshine.
Inside, the water looks almost tropical ,with swimming pool blue – but of course it’s not !
I might be cute, but I can rip your arm off ! And eat an entire Gentoo Penguin in 3 or 4 bites.
Inside the cove. Like an Antarctic resort. Just add beach chairs.
At The Bottom Of The Planet !
The weight of accumulated snow may flip this iceberg – a good reason to stay clear.
Ice piled along the shoreline. Our landing spots were limited.
At Latitude 65 South, Approaching The Antarctic Circle.
Animal and plant life in Antarctica is almost entirely along the coastlines and ice shelves. Inland there are no food sources. The frigid, yet nutritious, ice filled seas provide fish, who in turn feed seals ,penguins and other birds. Unfortunately, but naturally necessary, penguins also feed seals. Because of the extreme cold of the nearly 9 month winter, stretching from April to November, the penguin colonies of the Peninsula are not as large as those further North, in South Georgia and Argentina.
Penguins are quite social – not only with each other – but also with their human visitors. Here they are setting up nests with small rocks.
Walking, running and sledding are ways to get through the snow.
Primarily we observed Gentoo Penguins, with occasional Chinstraps. They are less than one meter tall. Larger Emprorers live in South Georgia.
Leopard seals are a constant and deadly threat.
The red snow is from regurgitated and defecated fish. Overall the smell is fishy . Exploring passengers must sanitize their boots upon return to the ship to prevent cross continental contamination. No longer are non native animals, such as dogs and horses, permitted on the Antarctic continent.
Getting ready to dive in for dinner.
TotalAdventure with Gentoo Penguins at Port Lockroy.
Gentoo On A Mission. They Are Busy Birds.
With MV Hondius Just Offshore.
Be sure to watch the video above to see the penguins in action !
Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, meeting the latest and highest Lloyd’s Register standards for ice-strengthened cruise ships. Surpassing the requirements of the Polar Code adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Hondius represents the most flexible, advanced, innovative touring vessel in the polar regions, thoroughly optimized for exploratory voyages that provide you the utmost first-hand contact with the Arctic and Antarctica. ( Credit : Oceanwide Expeditions ) Length 107.6 Meters . Can Accommodate 170 Passengers In 80 Cabins. Only 4 years old – launched in 2019.
Observing Five Meter Waves From The Bridge,As We Cross The Drake Passage.
Top Of The Line Navigation – Ensures safe and speedy passage through the Drake and into ice filled Antarctic waters. Antarctic season is from November to April and Arctic season from May to September.
Hearty meals 3 times a day keep explorers energetic and alert for landings on the icy continent.
TotalAdventure’s Antarctic office. Satellite Wifi is extremely expensive and slow- even the ship staff suggest just unplugging. Some passengers used satellite phones and text devices to stay in touch with family. TotalAdventure used the MacBook Pro to review the day’s GoPro video and still photos. It was great to leave the rest of the world behind for 10 days – nothing much had changed by our return to Ushuaia.
Our extremely comfortable cabin on Deck 6. Housekeeping service daily, consistent hot water in shower and very quiet. Large screen with movies and constant update on navigation, daily schedule. The Hondius is an exploration ship, not a cruise ship. No casino ,no disco, though there is a bar in the lounge.
On this voyage we went within 100km of the Circle. The Antarctic Peninsula is the only part of the continent where one can embark upon the actual shoreline – the rest of the coast is surrounded by ice shelves extending many kilometers out.
The Midnight Sun From Deck 8.
On the bow after lunch, en route to the afternoon landing.
The Hondius Lounge – for lectures, a drink at the bar, card playing, and watching the icebergs float by.
For the most part we experienced great early summer weather. Temperatures from – 4 to +6 ,most of the time right around Zero . ( C) There were some light snow accumulations on the ship overnight twice.
Landings are by motorized Zodiac. We had a total of 8 landings in 4 days, with only one destination change due to ice conditions.
From the Stern- Return To Ushuaia – Base Port For The Southern Summer.
TotalAdventure Is Currently En Route To Antarctica. We arrived here on Wednesday , November 30th after flying from Miami through Buenos Aries.
It is 600 Miles Across And Will Take 2 Days.
The MV Hondius Is An Icebreaker Class 6 Polar Ship. Built in 2019,It carries 112 Passengers. You can track our voyage HERE
Glaciar Martial. At ehe end of the 12000 mile Rockies and Andes chain that begins in Alaska.
Argentina is 5000 km North To South. A long beautiful drive.
The Malvinas Are An Important Situation Here.
Ushuaia Is Far From Everywhere !
Southernmost Commercial Airport In The World.
Don Bosco Cathedral.
Looking South TO Chile. TotalAdventure will depart tomorrow afternoon throught the Beagle Channel and past Cape Horn.
TotalAdventure returns to Ushuaia Argentina on December 13 . We are extremely unlikely to have any internet or cellular contact while on the expedition, but perhaps a sporadic link. TotalAdventure looks forward to sharing the adventure with everyone !
ArcticTropic Blog is beginning a series on the Mid Atlantic Islands – stretching 10,000 miles along the volcanic Mid Atlantic Ridge. We will start with South Georgia, onwards to Tristan da Cunha and all the way up through St.Helena , the Azores and Iceland. Many of these islands are extremely difficult to reach – but the rewards are great for those who make the effort.
In January, ArcticTropic friends – Peter Linn,his son Peter Jr. and Chris Merola sailed aboard the Corinthian 2 from Ushuaia, Argentina. The weather was the warmest the guides had ever experienced in Antarctica, with temperatures well above freezing – making it possible to complete all 12 of the planned landings. Below – some incredible scenery.
Chris Merola and Peter Linn – friends of ArcticTropic Blog – took a voyage to Antarctica in January. In the next few days there will be more pictures.