I am very excited: in four weeks, I will be boarding this little icebreaker in Ushuaia, Argentina and start my second trip to the Antarctic Peninsula. The ship is called Polar Pioneer, it is an old scientific research Russian icebreaker which has been converted to carry 50 passengers. About 8 of these will be kayakers (me included!), some are mountain and ice climbers, and some "just" hikers. We will be sailing for about 40 hours in some rough seas, but one morning a lone penguin on the shore will open its eyes and this is what it will see: (click on any photo to enlarge it)
Antarctica, the continent which is 97% covered by ice and snow, some of it 3 miles (4.5km) deep. I might be even more overwhelmed than the penguin, because this is what I will see:
Nice, isn't it? In fact, it will be early summer there so it won't be too cold. You can follow the weather there using the widget to your right (on the screen, not the wall!) - I sure hope it will get a bit warmer than that!
Kayaking in the Antarctic Ocean is not as extreme as it may seem. While there is some wind on occasion, the icebergs and sea ice block the waves so paddling is quite calm. We will wear dry diving suits, which block the water out completely, and underneath - long underwear and some fleece. This means I can travel light! I will look a bit like this, only a few years older and more handsome:
Will it be worth it? Try to imagine waking up every day to the view in the following photo, and decide for yourself!
In the posts until I depart, in addition to my usual writing, I will walk you through my preparation as my excitement builds up. So please come back to read!
In the meanwhile, for those interested, read with me a book that's not only a good description of the White Continent, but also considered as one of the greatest leadership stories of all times. A fascinating human story:
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