There are times in one’s life when the need to learn takes on a larger meaning. In my case, I needed to learn as much as possible about Antarctica for THE DRIFT. Sure, I’d read everything I could get my hands on – from Shackleton’s South memoir to the latest NY Times posts by Antarctic researchers – but nothing I read evoked a strong enough image to spur the type of story I had in mind. There are, afterall, just so many times you can use the word “cold” without being redundant. More importantly, reading about the glacial cliffs and drifting icebergs is a far cry from actually seeing them. I needed something more than those pages of explorers and scientists who’ve dedicated their lives to understanding the most southern continent on our planet.
I needed to understand Antarctica for myself.
And so, thanks in large part to a faculty creative research grant from Missouri State University, I traveled to the bottom of the world on December 29th, 2010 for a ten day expedition cruise on the M/V Polar Star – an icebreaker turned boutique cruise ship. Along the way, I not only obtained a deeper understanding of the sheer rough beauty of the region, I also learned far more about myself.
The following journal entries (along with videos and pictures) detail what I saw, what I learned, and how I came to better understand myself as well as a most precious part of what Earth has to offer.
Gentoo penguins at Port Lockrey
Day One – December 29, 2010
Ushuia, The Beagle Channel
Day Two – December 30, 2010
The Drake Passage & Its Avian Escorts
Day Three – December 31, 2010
Arctowksi Station – Icebergs, Penguins, Seals
Day Four – January 1, 2011
Aitcho & Deception Island – Chinstrap Penguins and Volcanoes
Day Five – January 2, 2011
The Antarctic Peninsula: The Errera Channel, Alimante Brown Station, Port Lockroy
(Blue Bergs & Glaciers. Penguin Squabbles. Crabeater, Weddell & Leopard Seals.)
Day Six – January 3, 2011
Part I: LeMaire Channel, Vernadsky Research Base, Wordie House
(Breaking Ice, Ozone Research and Vodka!)
Day Seven – January 4, 2011
Part I: Humpback Whales Ahoy!
Part II: We Almost Became Leopard Seal Bait
Day Eight – January 5, 2011
More to come…