Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Antarctic Buffet


















(click on any photo to see it full screen)

When I got on the upper deck of our ship on my first Antarctic trip to take this picture, it suddenly reminded me of a certain, very long movie. "Hey, people, why are you dining and partying? Can't you see what's going to happen?!" Fortunately, our Russian icebreaker could handle the ice and so instead we got the most amazing on-deck buffet-style meal one could expect.

In a few days, I will be boarding the same icebreaker again and start my second trip to Antarctica. I am very excited as this will be like watching a great movie for the 2nd time: you know the big picture already so you can focus on the details, the little beauties. We will be around 40 people from all over the world, plus several guides from Aurora Expeditions and of-course the Russian crew. 

There will probably be several groups among us: the normal (stay on the ship and get on shore for short hikes and photo ops); the strange (jump on kayaks and paddle the Antarctic Ocean); the brave (go on day mountain and ice climbs); and perhaps some weirdos (divers? Skiers?) too. You must notice that I gave the kayakers a mild definition - that's because this is what I'll be doing.

Here's the approximate route we'll take:






















That part in-between the two continents is called the Drake Passage, where three oceans collide and the currents create a swell of over 30 feet, and often times huge storms. Most of us will be seasick for about 36 hours, lying in bed (or rather rolling in bed with the swell), asking themselves important questions such as "why did I let my spouse take me on this trip?", and refusing to eat.


But then, one morning, we will all get up to calm water and this view: 
























This will immediately make everybody happy and full of energy, and after a healthy meal some of us will jump into our kayaks. "Jumping" in not the exact term. It's quite an operation whereby a crane puts a Zodiac into the water, kayaks are being handed over to two people who climb down a ladder to the Zodiac, and then the lucky kayaker is helped into his or her kayak.


















That's when the non-kayakers will look at us with a mix of wonder and amusement. BUT, once we're in the water, they will all take their cameras out to make views like this eternal:





















We will paddle each day for several hours, and also land on shore and hike. 


Ever saw a penguin daring to poke a whale? Here:


















Well, sort of.


So, I'll be away for nearly three weeks until I get back to report. You can check on the weather by coming back to this blog and looking at the right hand side bar.  Sign up for updates (upper corner) to get a note when I'm back! 

On my way there, I'll review my post about Kayaking Antarctica and The Arctic: 9 Tips , although I sure hope they will give us more serious instructions! 
Wish me luck.

9 comments:

Rinat said...

Sounds great and looks even better.
Can't wait to see it myself.

Avi E said...

good luck and have fun

Oded said...

Good luck Eyal. Have fun and enjoy it for all of us that are staying in the holley land

Michal said...

Seems to me kayaking like riding your bike - it's a wonderful way of moving and being as close to nature as possible. Not very strange, rather amazing. One day I'll go too.
Best of luck and happy trails. Looking forward to the pictures and report

Peter said...

Fabulous. Thanks for providing a glimpse of something I hope to do some day.

Gad said...

Eyal, have a safe and enjoyable trip. We look forward to more amazing photos. Please update on which camera are you using, any special lenses/equipment, and how do yu deal with the great contrastprsented by the ice. Thanks

Jessica said...

Hi Eyal, Awesome post! I remember that seasickness well. Oh man, it is so awful, lying in bed for 2 days and not wanting to eat, move or do anything! Then, finally, some crackers... But, as you say, it is all worth it when you get to the other side... It is so wonderful to approach land and see all the little penguins on the beach gather to greet you. Don't forget to update your ipod with music and videos! Have a wonderful trip and I look forward to hearing about it when you get back! Jess

Amy said...

Have a great, great trip & I look forward to reading about it when you get back! I will live vicariously through your posts.. since that's far too much cold & too much nature for me to ever venture into...

דנית ניצן said...

Your blog is inspiring in making one want to go and do something awesome. Can't wait to read your reports from this coming trip

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