Monday, December 12, 2011

We're Going to Antarctica! (Nov. 4)

Hello Friends!

Welcome to the online journal for our expedition to Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands! This journal will function kind of like a blog, but it will also track our progress on the map and show the route of this journey. Greg and I would like to thank you for following along and reading because we want to share an incredible place and an incredible experience with everyone back home.

When I tell people that we’re going to Antarctica, most people either respond with “What are you doing there?” or simply, “Why?”. To be really honest, this response confused me at first. I’m sorry if you’re one of the ones who has asked me these questions, but I think I’ve come to understand why you ask. My initial reaction is, “What do you mean by that? Isn’t just being in Antarctica enough?”

Maybe your mental image of Antarctica looks like a giant, barren wasteland of snow and ice. You’re imagining blizzards, whiteouts, maybe even avalanches, and you might be shivering even while sitting in Starbucks reading this. The interesting thing is that you’d be right. Antarctica, taken as a whole, is the highest, driest, coldest, windiest, most barren continent on earth. It has the world’s worst weather, and the coldest recorded temperatures on earth. Little to no life survives in the interior.

It’s wonderful that this is not the whole story of the land at the bottom of the world. As all continents are, Antarctica is surrounded by water. What makes it special in this case is the great Southern Ocean. This constantly cold water is the most productive on earth, and it’s the reason we’re traveling to the bottom of the world. Think about millions of penguins, albatrosses, seals, and whales. They all thrive in the freezing ocean. The sea is their home, and for three weeks it will be our home as well.

Our journey to the extreme south takes us by way of Buenos Aires, Argentina to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, in the Tierra del Fuego. This is the land of Magellan, Cape Horn, and thousands of seafarers now legendary for braving the toughest seas on earth. This is where we’ll join the National Geographic Explorer, our home and transportation to Antarctica.

Take a look at the map of our journey and see where the Explorer will take us. We’re excited to start and hope you’ll join us!


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