January 18, 2005 | 17:15
Thank you for following our journey. We will see you soon. “All’s well.”
January 18, 2005 | 16:52
Once again we find ourselves experiencing the nauseating rolls of the Drake Passage as we sail north toward Cape Horn and ultimately Ushuaia. The students are now well equipped with their sea sickness medications to handle the two and a half day journey as we sail away from that magical place Antarctica.
It has been announced that the Horn has just been sighted! Only about 90 miles to go!
As I reflect on the past week in Antarctica I find that there are more memories and insights than I could possibly mention in this brief missive, much less describe. Suffice it to say that with almost 24 hours of daylight each day we took full advantage to explore and to learn more about Antarctica.
My experiences and memories include: the first lifeboat drill (where I got lost), an Eckerd College student winning the prize for being the first to spot an iceberg, learning to operate the ship’s high performance toilet and shower system, the many informative lectures by the experts on the M/S Andrea’s staff, learning the Antarctic code of conduct, our first zodiac ride and landing on the continent, the trips to several Antarctic research stations, the weather, the seas, and the massive icebergs of all types.
I shall also remember and be in awe of the extraordinary plant and animal life in this frozen desert. There were countless numbers of penguins (and other bird life), whales, and seals that greeted us at every stop. We were also able to experience the joy of climbing several of the hills along the coast for the stunning views of monstrous glaciers as well as to enjoy sliding down the snow fields. But, as is often the case, the most special part of a journey includes the people with whom you share it. The M/S Andrea staff could not have been better: they treated us like royalty.
All of the above will stay with me forever, but the most cherished part of this part of this journey for me will be the Eckerd College Leadership Team that joined with me in this “idea” to go to Antarctica. Our goal was to study and experience first hand the leadership and environmental challenges faced by the early Antarctic explorers (focusing on Shackleton). This we did, but these students and their business colleagues accomplished so much more. Acting as a team, they took full advantage of all that Antarctica had to offer, as well as to make time for their contributions to the Eckerd College Web page that was cataloging our expedition.
Finally, I want to offer a very special thanks to Chris Hildreth for capturing our expedition on film and for being the catalyst in always encouraging the team to do more. His photographic record of this Winter Term in Antarctica has been a very special gift to us all.
We are now near the Beagle Channel and our thoughts turn to home and away from Antarctica. Thank you for following our journey. We will see you soon. “All’s well.”
January 18, 2005 | 11:20
Three blasts of the Andrea’s bell signaled our exit from the Drake Passage. Cape Horn, Chile—civilization—was straight ahead, the mountains in the mist a welcomed sight after a full day of navigating the open, angry Southern Ocean; on our port side was the Pacific Ocean, to our starboard, the Atlantic. The Andrea, twelve miles from shore, turned eastward, heading for the Beagle Channel, Argentina, avoiding Chilean waters—safety reasons. A poem, remembering the sailors who lost their lives to the waters surrounding Cape Horn, was read over the ship’s intercom:
I am the albatross that waits for you—at the end of the Earth.
Thomas Alves '07
I am the forgotten soul of the dead sailors who crossed Cape Horn
from all the seas of the world.
But they did not die in the furious waves.
Today they fly on my wings to eternity in the last trough of the Antarctic winds.
Poem at Cape Horn
Don't Give Up
January 17, 2005 | 22:59
Last night we set sail for home. It was an amazing time down here, and I wish we could stay and explore further. We received certificates tonight making us official Antarctic Discoverers. We’ve made it! I can no longer say, “We’re going to Antarctica,” but now can say, “We’ve been to Antarctica!” It is both sad and exhilarating. I look forward to returning to the world of people and places and things to do, but a part of me wishes to stay here. Despite the cold and wind and waves and isolation, the majesty of this continent truly sets it apart from all the rest. The unconquerable wild South; forever distant, forever dangerous, and forever in our dreams.
Today I interviewed Kim Crosbie, our expedition leader for this trip. Her stories about working in this environment were awesome. Coming from Edinborough, Scotland, she has always loved cold weather. She was originally interested in the Arctic and received a masters from Cambridge University in Polar Studies. After visiting Antarctica to help plan the logistics of a scientific expedition, she also fell in love with this pole, later pursuing a PhD in Wildlife and Tourist Attractions in Antarctica. She has held a variety of jobs in both places, and became the first United Kingdom female field leader in the Antarctic! She spends about four months of the year leading tour groups in the area, and loves getting to show people this amazing place and influence their first impressions of the seventh continent.
As a leader in such a remote and challenging atmosphere she has excelled. Each time we get in the zodiacs it’s another adventure for her to put together. She’s been great at keeping us all safe and alive, but also making each landing fun (not to mention putting up with eleven rowdy college students trapped on a ship). She explained to me how her first tour as an expedition leader was a total disaster, yet she gave things a second chance and came to love the job. Try everything twice, a second chance can show you a new side to things is a lesson to be learned from her story. As a leader she has also had to remember to keep things in context, and balance the responsibility with keeping things fun for all. She has learned to do this from a mentor who taught her how to effectively manage and deal with people, and Jean Charcot, an early Antarctic explorer famous for his scientific contributions and his ability to keep his crew safe and happy. But her biggest lesson to be learned from leading in the Antarctic is this: Don’t give up. It may not be easy at the beginning, but in the end it is worth it. We all owe her a big thanks for these lessons, and for an awesome trip!
Dan Niebler '05
Up and Down, Side to Side
January 17, 2005 | 22:00
Last night we began to head north back to Ushuaia. Just as we were getting used to being in calm water for nearly a week, it was time once again to face the Drake Passage. This area of usually rough water has come to be known by three names: Drake Lake, Drake Passage, and Drake Break. Most of what we have experienced has been Drake Passage- rough water enough to make anyone sick, but not quite horrific. Everyone would much rather have experienced Drake Lake, when the water is relatively calm and you can barely notice you’re in the passage- much like the water we were in when we were south in Antarctica. We have, however, come face to face with several moments of Drake Break: the water is very rough with swells higher than we’ve ever experienced, and things begin to break. As we were eating dinner, for example, a thunderous crash came from the kitchen, indicating rough waters.
Everything seems to become much more interesting when the ship is at the mercy of the sea. Everyday tasks become challenging feats. Eating meals is not easy when glasses and silverware are flying off the tables, taking a shower is even more difficult with waves in addition to a slippery floor, and falling out of bed at night becomes a concern. If it weren’t for the Dramamine making everyone so drowsy, I don’t think anyone would be able to sleep, and even if we did fall out of bed, we might not notice because of its effects. This trip to Antarctica has been so amazing that it makes it all worth the amusement. As far as I’m concerned, bring it on Poseidon!
Ashley Yunker '07
What’s that Smell?
January 17, 2005 | 12:00
Cabin No. 419, M/S Andrea
After spending the past 7 days exploring the beautiful landscapes and many amazing creatures of Antarctica, I began to wonder if there was anything that could go wrong on this exploration. The group had spent many hours learning the courageous stories of great explorers like Shackleton and Scott, but nothing seemed to go in the wrong direction for our group. We had had the privilege of visiting the historic sites of Antarctica escaping the peril that those famous explorers had experienced.
Then it hit me. As I was entering my cabin, number 419, I was attacked by the ‘fowl stench’- penguin guano. I couldn’t believe what I smelled. It was as if a live penguin colony had moved into my cabin. I searched around for the source of the odor and soon learned it was not just one single item. My boots, ski pants, parka, sweater, socks, jeans, and all the rest of the items I had worn on the continent just plain stunk.
At this point, I made the decision to begin packing those items in hopes that the stench would be locked inside of my suitcase. However, as I sit here and reflect upon this smelly situation, I am still reminded of that ‘fowl’ odor. The door has been propped open for quite some time and housekeeping has even stopped in with air freshener. It is safe to say that I will be opening my suitcase as little as possible for the duration of the journey.
Dustin Malcolm '05
January 17, 2005 | 11:30
Click images to view full size
A family of Gentoo Penguins watch carefully over a chick on Useful Island. The name of the island is believed to based on the islands usefulness as a navigation point. Read Craig Altemose's entry about the penguin family
From the very first day of landing in Antarctica, expedition team member Ashley Yunker sported her penguin cap in the true spirit of the continent and its surrounding islands
January 16, 2005 | 22:43
It was 2243, the sky dusk, snow covered mountains surrounded our path, and Humpback whales were spotted ahead. Running up to the front deck all I could see were a couple of spouts in the distance ahead. Within minutes 4 to 6 humpbacks were feeding on all both sides of the boat. The most fascinating thing was when one fluke went up then shortly after the rest of the flukes appeared. At one point, one humpback began to gulp feed, pulling its entire head out of the water to swallow as much krill as possible in one gulp. The whales remained near the surface to feed, for a long time. I was shocked at how many whales were in the area feeding. The flukes had very distinctive fingerprint features, such as one fluke was all black while another was almost entirely white. This experience was the best way to say goodbye to Antarctica.
Jeanette Warner '05