Edward Bransfield Day-2018


At the time it just seemed like another glorious day in the Antarctica. When we were wakened for breakfast we knew to get busy. Every day, so far, had been packed with excursions and lectures and more excursions and lots of food. It was just another amazing day.

But that day, 198 years before, was the day that Edward Bransfield sighted the Antarctica Continent. It turned out to be a very special day.

On the morning of January 30, 2018, we grabbed a Zodiak and toured the area. It was cold and foggy. There was no horizon.

bruceandjill

Bruce and Jill in full protection from the cold

penguinswim

Gentoo penguins out for a swim in waters that go on forever.

But the penguins were swimming and playing. Bruce Hampton captured some in mid-flight.

img_8530

Photo by Bruce Hampton

It was on that day that we saw an “ice cave”. The colors of the Antarctica are, for probably good scientific reasons, more brilliant and more surreal than anywhere else on Earth. And the “cave” was a perfect example of that phenomenon.

icecave

Try to imagine the feelings of the men on that voyage, so many years ago, when no one had seen what they just saw. What would anyone feel at that time and place? It was hard to put myself there. The sights that I was seeing were overwhelming. There were no words left to describe the ice or the water or the penguins or the seals. It was time to just absorb.

Our landing that day was at Station Brown . It is an active research station which we did not enter. Instead, we were encouraged took a hike. And it is one I will never forget.

On that day of celebration for Antarctica Explorers, our intrepid crew made sure we had a keepsake.

me

Yes, I was there!

The hike was to the top of a large outcrop of volcanic rock. As usual, a path had been created by the crew BUT snow is snow is snow. And the path was wet and cold. Note the full get-up–mittens, over gloves, neck gaiter, wool cap, and parka. It was cold and snowing.

The trail was long and required the use of hands to get to the top.

lookingattheclimb

 

But Leigh (my friend and travel partner) and I made it. And here is the proof.

It was an amazing place to sit, cool off and contemplate the beauty and severity of Antarctica.

contemplation

BUT WAIT!

There is more!

Back on the ship the traditional Polar Plunge was about to take place! This was an activity that did not suit my proclivities but MANY people joined in including one passenger who was in her 80’s. Just call me “wimp”.

All who participated were tethered to the boat. A crew member had that tether in her hands. The doctor was standing next to her. According to Leigh, who did the dastardly deed, once out of the water you were wrapped in a large, warm towel, taken inside and given a hot beverage. They were taking no chances!

Maybe I wasn’t such a wimp…

The day was topped off with a few personal firsts (besides being in Antarctica at all!)

My first view of an Orca in the wild.

firstorca

And my first and only picture of a whale tail.

whalestail

A copy of this picture hangs on my office wall.

It reminds me, every day, that we MUST protect and respect the Continent that Edward Bransfield found 199 years ago, today.

Categories: Antarctica, expeditions, Orcas, Penguins, Travel, Uncategorized, WhalesTags: , , , ,

17 comments

  1. What a truly wonderful experience. Best not to spoil it by taking an icy dip, I think…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Unique post. Bruce’s penguins is a magical shot. Brrrrr

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a treat it was especially to see the full-frame original of your profile photo! And what a privilege it is to see this remote landscape through your eyes. Thank you for sharing your memories of this beautiful-but-endangered place.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What is happening to the Antarctica is so scary. I hope we are not too late to remedy some of the damage.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I attended a lecture a few weeks back on global warming in which the speaker broke down the major contributors of greenhouse gases — and two of the biggest (in my part of the world, anyway) were burning “natural” gas for heat, and cattle farming. It we all kept our homes just a bit cooler and ate a bit less beef we might have a shot. Alas, people aren’t great at changing even such basic habits until they’re forced to … and by then it’s too late. It breaks my heart for future generations, and for all the creatures with whom we share this planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I LOVE that shot! He has a bunch of them. I am so jealous! He is an accomplished pianist as well. Just not fair!!!!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a great piece on a “Once in a Lifetime” journey. You had the chance to learn and grow as you may have suffered. The Photos are great. Keep the good stuff coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 🙂 But I bet he doesn’t weave

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Derrick, you are right! But his wife does an incredible cross-stitch!

    Like

  10. Beautiful photos, and the message just makes me feel like doing more to save our world, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What an amazing experience! Your pictures and details are wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you, Darlene. That trip changed my life. Literally!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Trips can do that!! I went to the United Arab Emirates, wrote a children’s book based on the trip and now have six books in the series published!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. How fabulous!! Thanks so much for sharing! I lived vicariously through you while looking at the photos and reading your words!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. You have stunning photographs here of a land that too few of us will ever get to see. I thank you for that. I read recently that “a huge void” has been discovered beneath one of the glaciers in Antarctica, 1000 ft high and 1/3 the size of Manhattan. Have you heard of this? Not sure what to make of it.

    Like

  16. Janet, I have been following the news on this discovery. I have a couple of friends (that I met on my voyage) who are down there right now. They are concerned, to say the least. Not only are their livelihoods in danger, the entire world could be endangered by higher seas and changed climates. I hope I can return to Antarctica before it is gone. Before we are all gone.

    Liked by 1 person

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