To talk about Antarctica is to talk about elephant seals and penguins not to mention icebergs and albatrosses. 3.3 billion gallons of frozen water in 3 tons of ice plus 10 pounds of tiny baby fur seals never fail to be disappointing especially for a continent on earth that is so dry, high, and windy.
There were two well traveled teachers who chose Antarctica as the place to spend the Christmas holiday in and this is in considering how it is a land of frozen wastes and voyages gone wrong. Saying that they have been to the continent is what drives these teachers to continue with their plans of going to the land of Antarctica. They did not only read about the explorer in a travel magazine but they have spent much of their time thinking about the trip.
Preparation was important, the women found. Under rubberized, seamless, and waterproof pants and slicker are a parka worn on a regular set of clothes with insulated underwear and three pairs of socks, one being wool, worn inside boots weighing in at 15 pounds, all for one day in Antarctica. With two pairs of gloves, one waterproof, the ensemble is complete.
Everyone is susceptible to frostbite other than having some cold feet. The summer in the Southern Hemisphere is this way. Even though the ice was warming up to about a point above the freezing point and travel could be done on the breaking ice pack still the water was at 32 degrees. It was in one Antarctic research station where air temperature was measured by a thermometer to be at 47 degrees. In the daytime nothing but sunlight was directly shining but as the evening came the Explorer was confronted by snowstorms and sleet storms.
If having unpredictable weather was bad enough, the women were also told about the possibility of itineraries changing due to winds. In their 24 days in the southern ice cap they did not encounter the 84 below wind chill that they experienced in their hometown last Christmas.
Dreaded but overcome was the Drake Passage. From Cape Horn on the tip of South America to the Antarctic Peninsula is where this passage that claimed numerous ships goes through. Utilizing their bunks' seat belts, the women strapped in for sleep as the Explorer went through the passage taking 48 hours to complete. Bruises were in store for one of the ladies.
Penguins were over a million. You could even walk up to them not to mention their nests. Fussing at each other is what penguins like to do. One could spend the day observing penguins. Seals were also there. They love to scoot around with their mouths open. These are not as gentle if you get close to them and their babies.
Simply amazing was how the trip ran on. There was a spectacularly blue sky and the water was bluer than usual. Icebergs measured to about three stories high and were as large as city blocks and these floated along and some even had penguins. They saw old whaling stations, closed for 20 years since the treaties of the 1960s. Part of their journey did not involve a plane ride but a view of the early explorers' huts in the South Pole, a number of these still had old canned goods.
As their journey is mapped out, they have gone to Punta Arenas on the south end of Chile, the Shetland Islands, Antarctica, the South Orkneys, South Georgia, and the Falklands before heading back. Agreeing to how different their holidays has become are the two.
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