As I sit in the comfort of the Aerolineas Argentinas' air conditioned cabin, sipping a drink and watching the Patagonian fiords disappear into a cloudy sunset below, I finally have time to begin to process the experiences of the last month...
It's very satisfying to know that we’re been able to capture a stunning HD snapshot of the vast and varying moods of Antarctica and showcase to the world some of the amazing science and wacky characters that call Antarctica home. I’m excited to see the finished films we’re worked so hard to create but the experiences of this shoot have had a much more profound effect on me.
For me, appreciation of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is often retrospective. It's definitely one of the most challenging and frustrating places on earth to travel. The weather is brutal, logistics are ultimately challenging and expensive and being thrust together with a small team of folks under intense living conditions can be trying.
Antarctica is the ultimate teacher. First time visitors soon discover that their expectations are often unrealistic and prior planning rarely accounts for all eventualities that nature throws at us .Antarctica dishes out lessons in patience, flexibility, humility, creativity and adaptation. For me Antarctica is a powerful and transformative place. I don’t think anyone who visits Antarctica returns as the same person that left.
Antarctica has undoubtedly got under my skin and I try to put my finger on the spell Antarctica casts on me but its hard to pin down. Is it the stark beauty of the place? Is it the raw power of the environment that makes me feel so miniscule? Is it the simplicity of lifedown there – personal safety, warmth, shelter and hot food?Is it the amazing characters I meet and the lifelong friendships that evolve from sharing such intense experiences? Perhaps it’s the fact that Antarctica is free of the complications of the modern world. Or perhaps I’m just a masochist with a perverse sense of enjoyment from suffering in extreme environments!?!
Whatever it is, by the time my flight lands in the stifling summer heat of Sydney I’m already planning my return to the great southern land. CHRIS JONES
Sunday March 7th, 2010
USHUAIA: We pull into the dock dog tired. We crave a hot shower and clean sheets but there is much to do before we can relax with such luxuries. First task is to clear customs, our agent negotiates the bureaucratic hurdles and we’re free to unload and head for our hotel. We wrangle over 30 pieces of film kit and luggage into 2 impossibly small taxis and show up at our hotel. The manager does not seem impressed by the arrival of a very hairy and smelly film crew! While the luxury of a hot shower and clean sheets is very very welcome I immediately begin to miss the simplicity of life in the Southern Ocean. As the steaming hot water washes off the salt and stress of the last few weeks the urge to return is already nibbling at the edge of my consciousness. CHRIS JONES
Sunday March 7th, 2010
Yesterday it was a big relief to sight land - we were treated to a rare land visit to Cape Horn Lighthouse - thanks to unexpectedly good weather. Now en route to Puerto Williams, Chile. Then, next stop Ushuaia, Argentina. ROBERT WILKINS
Saturday March 6th, 2010
CAPE HORN: Unbelievable - the weather changed beyond belief and after 4 days of wild weather we're arrived at Cape Horn on a rare windless afternoon. There is chaos down below as we sort through the mess of the crossing, clean up the galley, find all the filming equipment and clear our heads from the fog of inadequate sleep and seasickness. We inflate our small dinghy and cram Cath, myself, Pete, Zay and Rob along with cameras, tripods, lenses, sound mixer, boom, mics into the little boat. Motoring up to the cliffs beneath the lighthouse I feel like a midget tiptoeing up to a giant who is holding his breath! A tricky rocky landing, some crazy steep stairs and we're standing at the Cape Horn Lighthouse chatting with the Chilean Lighthouse keeper while his wife wrangles their 2 little kids - it all feels rather surreal.
It's great to feel something solid under our feet and take in the wonderful smell of land once more – it's a bit emotional. Rob comments he’d rather view the ocean from land from now on! Zay points out that the crossing from Antarctica is the hardest journey he’s ever done, Pete doesn’t have time for sentimentality as he frantically makes the most of the opportunity and films for ever available minute we have!
Darryl our skipper is nervous - no wind at Cape Horn can only mean one thing – the wind is coming! We keep our visit short and hightail it back to yacht as quick as we can.
Five hours later with the valuable HD footage taped up safely in a drybag and stowed below we're motoring into the Patagonian fiords, tucking into roast chicken from the slightly bent but resurrected BBQ on the back rail and watching a half moon rise over one the windiest places on the planet. Not a ripple of breeze breaks the surface. The Southern Ocean has been kind to us... CHRIS JONES
Saturday March 6th, 2010
Land ahoy! Cape Horn!
Friday March 5th, 2010
Zay has now lost his cookies.
Thursday March 4th, 2010
days 'til we reach Cape Horn. Apparently sailors who've "rounded the Horn" get to dine with one leg on the table and wear a gold loop earring forever more - just like like pirates. Aaaargh!
Meanwhile, here's a
list of things thrown up since Antarctica...
Zay, Rob, Pete: fruit salad*
Rob: pasta cheese ravioli (Zay did not eat), 1 orange, 1 hot chocolate
Pete: Spaghetti Bolognese
Cath(Spirit of Sydney yacht crew): 1 coffee - shows how rough this is!
Chris: Nothing regurgitated.
*NOTE: Zay stopped eating but did eat cookies from U.S. Palmer Station which he is holding down so far (power of his love for cookies).
Thursday March 4th, 2010
THE SOUTHERN OCEAN: What a wild place! The Drake Passage of the Southern Ocean is truly one of the wildest places on earth. Wind blown waves circling the globe uninterrupted by land funnel into the 600 mile gap between the tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula creating massive storms and insane conditions anyone crazy enough to tackle the passage. Sailing a “small” yacht in these seas is exciting to say the least – we sail the yacht on a watch system – 6 hrs off then 3 hrs on… we all take our turn. A watch generally starts with a wake-up call then a crazy contortionist act to try and get your wet weather gear on in a cabin the size of small mini-van. With the bow slamming constantly into the waves its like a nasty train wreck in perpetual motion. I resort to sitting on the floor to get dressed then negotiate my way out of the cabin and up on deck. I clip my safety harness on and let the freezing wind wake me up.
For the first few days in the Drake we run 24hr iceberg watch. Sea spay and mist reduce visibility and on our second night we had a scare when a huge iceberg crept up on us in the murk – we only sighted it about 300m away - its wild enough out there without meeting things that go bump in the night!
Keeping warm and safe becomes our first priority and luxuries such as regular meals and personal hygiene quickly go by the way-side. Pete does a great job battling sea sickness and wielding the big camera on his shoulder, but I don’t think movie or stills photography can truly capture the full intensity of the experience of sailing in the Southern Ocean – it’s a total assault on the senses. For some reason I’m blessed with an ability to cope with the bucking bronco motion of the waves. I somehow manage to keep my food down and feel energized and invigorated by the craziness of it all!! I keep hearing that REM song in my head: "Its the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine"!!! CHRIS JONES
Wednesday March 3rd, 2010
We are now merrily sailing on the Drake Passage. All have been throwing up - we are on a 3-4 day cleanse! Chris Jones pretty solid - he actually seems to be enjoying this experience :) ROBERT WILKINS
Monday March 1st, 2010
Quick update... we are filming today, our last in Antarctica - studying the effects of global warming on Adélie Penguins with the American scientists at Palmer Station.Like the condemned we are also waiting and watching weather forecasts as we're about to head back to South America, this time on the sailing boat. The rock and roll factor is noticeable even on the quiet waters around Antarctica - who knows how we will fare on the Drakes Passage. That's the notorious stretch of water where 3 currents meet, high winds + massive waves that whip up off the undersea mountains! Named after the famous explorer/pirate Sir Francis Drake. We plan to leave tomorrow very early - 3 days later we hope to sight Cape Horn. Wowee! ROBERT WILKINS
Saturday February 27th, 2010
Phew...! Tsunami warnings subside in the aftermath of the earthquake. Our thoughts go out to everyone in Chile... Meanwhile Darrel (our skipper) is looking at the weather and planning our voyage back up Drakes Passage - one of the toughest ocean crossings on the planet. We plan to spend some time with the guys at Palmer Station on Anvers Island today (U.S. scientific base). We hear they make great brownies. ROBERT WILKINS
Friday February 26th, 2010
We conquered Mount Scott! Well almost... We didn't make the summit as clouds came rolling in too fast... but we got some amazing views! Peered into some perilous crevasses, walked along the edge of a massive glacier - just beautiful. And, it was pure comedy to try and film as we all had to be attached together on ropes, just in case... ROBERT WILKINS
Thursday February 25th, 2010
Today we visited historic Wordie House - a fine example of an early British scientific research station which was established in 1947 then closed in 1954. This was the site of the 3-year British Graham Land Expedition led by Aussie John Rymill (1934 - 1937). This marked the end of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration and heralded the beginning of a new, modern scientific era. ROBERT WILKINS
Tuesday February 23rd, 2010
So we've made it, and set foot on the world’s coldest, driest, and windiest 5th largest continent. It's just as impressive as I imagined. The part we're visiting – the Antarctic Peninsula – is packed high with mountains stacked with snow, and all around massive glaciers reach down into the sea. That's what we look at from our boat at a safe enough distance to allow for glaciers falling and not onto our heads!
Apparently, behind the mountains are more mountains. And more ice. It feels a little odd only because we are so used to arriving somewhere and really getting a good look around. Here there are barriers at every turn, first the floating ice, now the mountains of ice. There are definitely no shopping opportunities (excepting at a few of the Antarctic bases), and scant opportunity to stay overnight. This place is impenetrable not like any other country or continent I have visited before.
But we do get ashore and slowly we start to get a feel for what Antarctic is like. I'll never forget the sight of penguins zipping in to shore like torpedoes. First you see a lump on the water hurtling towards you then a rushing sound and the penguins comes flying out of the water, now they're waddling up the hill with maximum intent. It's a bit like watching penguins materialise already running into thin air. The light is surreal, we shoot a time lapse of icebergs moving around a bay.
Occasionally, when us humans can bear it, you get to experience the incredible silence you've only dreamed about - punctuated by sharp noises, distant whale calls, and loud booms as huge chunks of ice fall off into the sea.
We've now left our big boat - The Akademic Ioffe - carrying 100 passengers and downsized to a yacht - The Spirit of Sydney - carrying 6. As we get smaller Antarctica feels even bigger. More to come... ROBERT WILKINS
Saturday February 20th, 2010
This morning came far to early - at 5.00am Pete (our cameraman) was up and setting up to film the sunrise. Usually this is not a big deal as we can grab some coffee from the ship's galley, rug up and once we have the shot - hightail it back inside to the cozy warmth of our bunk. But this morning we woke up in the icy confines of a tent on the toe of a glacier on the Antarctica Continent. Last night we finally set our first steps on the Antarctic Peninsula - for many of us the completion of our journey to the earth's 7th continent.
The weather was finally on our side and not a breath of wind rippled the water. All around us the tongues of small glaciers touched the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean and ground bergs rumbled and boomed as currents and tidal changes cause great chunks of iceberg to break off with unnerving "booms" throughout the night. The stars were amazing with the Southern Cross and Orion's Belt most obvious in the this southern sky.
The good weather continued into the day and allowed us the opportunity to get out and about in the zodiacs and explore the stunning bays and coves of Willhemina Bay. After the wild and windy weather of the Falkland/Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Orkney Islands - it was a relief to finally have no wind - in fact it was almost surreal. We had an entertaining time getting Zay onto a small iceberg for a shot. Just as we got him on a suitably stable berg the glacier at the back of the bay calved - sending tons of ice crashing into the sea and a large wave rolling our way. Despite our trust in Zay's Hawaiian heritage and his likely ability to "ice-berg" surf the wave we frantically pulled him off the iceberg and safely back into the zodiac - fun and games!
We're now waiting to hear from the Spirit of Sydney (yacht charter) so we can set up our transfer to the yacht - the expedition is about to get a whole lot more serious. CHRIS JONES
Friday February 19th, 2010
WOW...WOW...WOW...WOW...WOW!!! I don't know what else to say!!! We were heading in towards our first landing on the continent of Antarctica when a number of whale blows were spotted. We decided to stop the ship and see if the whales were curious. As they got closer we could identify four Humpbacks. Two of these decided to come over to the ship and for almost an hour we were treated to one of the most amazing humpback encounters I've ever seen.
They sidled up next to the ship, one of them rubbed itself along the side of the ship - we were only meters away. They rolled on their backs floating along side and looking up at us, they waved their flukes rolled on their side and slapped their giant white pectoral fins, they dived under the bow back and forth - creating a mini stampede as everyone rushed from side to side. They kept circling back towards us and "spyhopping" - that is: poking there heads out at us with their eye just out of the water.
We're not sure who was more curious - the whales or us! I've had lots of close-up whale encounters before but this was something different and totally amazing...!
P.S. I think we just made our cameraman's day - Pete is walking around with a huge smile on his face!!! CHRIS JONES
Thursday February 18th, 2010
Yesterday was an amazing day, the wind and waves eased up a bit, we spotted Humpbacks, and large Fin or Sei whales and had incredible encounters with icebergs covered in bird life, 100s and 1000s of Fulmars, Petrels and penguins - I've never seen anything like it in 9 trips to Antarctica. Then the show really turned on when a pod of Orcas popped up right next to the ship. For an hour they stayed near the ship with two coming very close to investigate - we could see their big white patches under the water just off the bow. I suspect they are now the most photographed and filmed Orcas in the Antarctic region!
After a fantastic day and with our first Antarctic landing only 50 nautical miles ahead we all begin to relax but nature had a big surprise in store for us. How does that saying go? The best laid plans...? Around dinner time we ran into heavy pack ice. This is not unusual in the Weddell Sea and we didn't initially worry about it to much. We thought we could skirt around the edge of it and continue into the Weddell - we cruised along the ice edge looking for a route though. But no route was visible through the ice.
As we crept along the ice edge searching for leads we watched out dreams of a few days in the rarely visited Weddell Sea disappear but also thanked out lucky stars that we weren't stuck in the pack-ice or worse! The Russian crew searched all night with a radar and huge spotlight mounted on the bow - but could not find a route through the ice for almost 24 hours.
We're now taken a massive detour all the way to King George Island. This evening we managed to contact some other ships in the area and received accurate information on the location of the pack-ice. We're all learning a new respect for the power of nature down here- wind, waves, ice and wildlife just carry on with complete indifference to our human wants and needs.
Tomorrow if nature is willing we should hopefully make our first landing on the actual continent of Antarctic. We're all holding our breath! CHRIS JONES
Wednesday February 17th, 2010
We're up early tomorrow filming as we will be arriving at last at the Antarctic Peninsula. Last night we got seriously diverted, thrown off our track by drifting broken up sea ice (the winter pack ice = frozen top layer of the ocean) that extended way further out from the continent than anyone was expecting. We were heading into the Weddell Sea on the right side of the Peninsula - but... that wasn't possible so the ship had to turn around and backtrack then skirt the ice all night and today to get into clear water again.
If all goes to plan, we'll arrive at Antarctica tomorrow. It was quite exciting to see humpback whales also skirting the pack ice, seals drifting by on big chunks of ice, dramatic seas and skies with white light reflecting off the layer of sea ice. I spared another thought for Shackleton who got stuck in the same area we were forced to back out.
had a cool visit to King George Island this evening where there are many international science bases (around 8 permanent). This is in the South Shetland Islands on the Antarctic approach. It looks a bit like the moon with big antennas and satellite dishes, round spheres, funny looking vehicles, people walking around in puffy extreme winter outfits. The landscape is dry desert looking with patches of ice and snow and bergs in the bay. Here we visited the Chilean and Russian science bases. The Russians have built an Orthodox Church - pre-assembled in Siberia - then shipped out all the way here. We even attended a mass! At the Chilean base we had our passports stamped by a funky young biologist (who doubles as the post master). ROBERT WILKINS
Monday February 15th, 2010
I woke up at 4am this morning with my head jammed against the end of my bunk, then moments later, my feet jammed against the other end of my bunk - the ship was rolling and bucking in huge waves. I guess the storm doesn't want to let us go quite so easily!
I finally got up at 7am and headed for the bridge - my favourite place in heavy weather. Thick fog shrouded the horizon and the officer on watch focused intently on the radar which showed
6 or so large objects in our path - we're back in iceberg territory. The ship rides the big ocean rollers well and we surge down the face of huge waves. Luckily the wind is still behind us so the ride is not as rough as it can be down here. We passed briefly by the South Orkney Islands. We had hoped to land and visit the remote scientific station there but 30 knots of wind and big waves crashed on the only beach that offered a suitable landing spot and the disappointed scientists radioed us to tell us it was too dangerous to attempt a landing - they don't get many visitors down here!
There are icebergs in view all the time now. We can sense that Antarctica is getting nearer - the air temperature is around 1 degree C and the ships instruments tell us that the water temperature is only just above freezing.
The anticipation is slowly building. CHRIS JONES
Sunday February 14th, 2010
Well - the last few days have been a exciting blur of windswept coastlines, albatrosses, penguins, seals, glaciers, history and wind! It seems like there is no escape from the wind in South Georgia - it dictates everything we do from where our ship can sail to whether we can get to shore or not.
South Georgia's weather is notorious - the wind can howl for days on end whipping up rough seas that dash any hopes of getting to shore safely in the little zodiacs (inflatable boats). We're been lucky – the wind finally died off and the sun came out at the whaling station of Grytviken and we had a very powerful and retrospective morning - reflecting on the shortsightedness of the whaling era and the toughness of the explorers, whalers and sealers that roamed these seas 100 years ago. Zay met some of the scientific folks working for the British Antarctic Survey and learned how the wildlife has spectacularly recovered from the massive impact inflicted by the sealers and whalers.
We moved on down the coast and landed at Gold Harbour – an amazing location with over 50,000 King Penguins crowded onto the beach, elephant seals burping and slumbering on the beach and pesky fur seals baring their teeth at us. This is one of my favourite places on South Georgia and is totally out of this world. It's impossible to describe how overwhelming the experience is: a mass of wildlife on wild windswept beach with glaciers pouring off the mountains immediately behind the beach – I have to look back at my photos to remind that it is real!
We’re now heading south – en route to Antarctica. As I type the South Atlantic is angry - the seas is rough and the colour of coal, whitecaps fleck the surface of the sea and the ship rolls alarmingly at times.
Visibility is low with sea fog closing in around the ship. The weather fax indicates a massive storm heading for South Georgia - it looks like we left just in time! Hopefully the storm will track west and we'll sneak down below the worst of it. Right now there is snow plastering my porthole - the weather gods are certainly letting us know that Antarctica is not far away. CHRIS JONES
Sunday February 14th, 2010
We saw all these penguins today, 25,000 pairs very cool. How to film them is a tricky one! I'm not saying they all look the same but to the untrained observer it is pretty tough to follow central characters. The camera-shy penguin has plenty of opportunities to fade into the crowd. Maybe that is why there are gaping holes in the study of penguin behaviour. Like what attracts one penguin to another?
Try following one to find out and I would say it is pretty close to impossible. Still, penguins do find a mate and more miraculously manage to re-find the same mate when they return from lengthy trips out at sea. They achieve that by having a very finely tuned sense of sound frequencies. Even when there are 50,000 other penguins making noise - penguins exhibit a remarkable sensory ability to differentiate the unique sound of their partner or chicks, that is known as the "cocktail party" effect. In fact there are lots of amazing things about penguins. Like how they managed to evolve from the sea into birds, then into flightless birds that swim, and why they can’t go back to the sea full time - where they look a lot more in their element - because they still need to lay eggs.
Or how are baby penguins brave enough to fend for themselves after less than a year of their 25-40 year lives? That is not very long to learn the ways of the world. We are pretty sentimental creatures really us humans, that is why I am glad I am not a penguin living in the freezing cold sub-Antarctic with giant skuas swooping overhead and massive leopard seals hulking about. It is a wonder they still manage to have such a great time. You only need to follow one for ten minutes (best to pick one on the outskirts of a colony!) playing in the surf with some friends, and you will have a great time too. ROBERT WILKINS
Saturday February 13th, 2010
This morning we landed at Gold Harbour on South Georgia where we climbed up above the bay and got killer views of the King Penguin colony there and surrounding landscape. Had fun getting there though - wading our way past 1000s of barking seals!
King Penguins are the second largest penguins (after the Emperor, which inhabits Antarctica) - they're tall with a gold tear shape on their heads and look really cool. Zay had an interesting chat with our onboard Penguin specialist - Dr. Antje Steinfurth - as they strolled along the beach, surrounded by 1000s of penguins.
We've also filmed some fun stuff onboard ship - Zay doing exercise class on deck while the ship is rocking and rolling all over the place, parties in the bowels of the ship with the Russian crew, a tour of the engine room etc. There's never a dull moment :) ROBERT WILKINS
Friday February 12th, 2010
We've now landed on South Georgia. We had a good morning at King Edward Point with the BAS scientists (British Antarctic Survey). The whaling station at Grytviken looked amazing and we got some great looking shots.
The sun came out just as we visited Ernest Shackleton's grave and we had a great champagne toast - with seals lounging lazily here and there. With the weather closing in, we filmed the Stromness Whaling Station. We also interviewed a contributor from the South Georgia Heritage Trust who spoke about the history of whaling and described how the whaling station operated, in grizzly detail.
back at the BAS base, we met one of the lab scientists who cut open an Ice Fish for us (an ocean bottom-dwelling fish of the Southern Ocean) to reveal its stomach full of krill. Basically, everything leads to the krill in the Antarctic as all the fish, penguins, seals etc. feed off them. We also got introduced to an "ozone hole man" - now an expert on global warming, fascinating stuff. ROBERT WILKINS
Wednesday February 10th, 2010
Today we saw our first icebergs floating by the ship - one of the them the size of a multi-story car park - a tabular shaped berg with lots of ice remnants splattered around in the water. In the words of one other passenger "everything changed", the trip feels like it's getting serious all of a sudden. The berg itself was colossal, many times bigger than our ship and looks very solid with waves breaking up against it, you could even forget that - like us - it's moving. But it definitely has its own path. "Where is it going?", asks one other passenger. While we are now headed south, the basic trajectory of Antarctic icebergs is to drift north until the water gets too warm and they eventually break up and melt into the sea. And yes... the sea level does rise. Look out New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo!
All in all, a very pretty sight.
We're now well on our way to South Georgia... ROBERT WILKINS
Monday February 8th, 2010
Our first pre-Antarctic wildlife encounter was at West Point Island. After trekking up a steep slope into 40 knot head-winds we arrived at the top of cliffs, looking out to the ocean and beyond. The cliffs were covered in tussocks of high green grass swaying wildly in the wind. In the midst of it all were our group, dotted evenly about the tussocks of grass. But something had changed - no-one was chatting or making jokes - the mood was different now, what was it? As we got closer we were drawn right in. The group was experiencing a kind of communal euphoria, brought on by close encounters with wildlife. Right in front of us and all around were baby albatrosses, fluffy big baby birds nesting on top of round peat mounds. In amongst them, nesting rockhopper penguins. There must have been 1000s of birds across the cliffs and in the air. We were a dot on their otherwise busy day but I could have sat for hours watching the adult black-browed albatrosses fly up into gale force winds, crash land into their nests carrying fish for the chicks, or watch the fluffy baby albatrosses stretch their gangly wings. Tiny rockhopper penguins with mohican yellow hairstyles in the distance hop, hop, hop hopping up a hill like someone had tied their legs together! The bird watchers were truly in heaven.
We also met and filmed Patrick Watts - an ex-Falklands radio announcer - up on the old battlefields which were littered with lots of guns and stuff left behind by the Argentine soldiers - cans of food, toothpaste, etc. Then we visited the radio station in Port Stanley and listened to Patrick's actual announcements when the Argentinean soldiers arrived. It was obviously brought it all back for him.
Last stop was a local pub for beers and fish & chips. Cheers! ROBERT WILKINS
Sunday February 7th, 2010
At first dawn on deck as we approached the outer Falkland Islands, we met some bird watching guys. Zay had to run to keep up with them as they were the first off the boat and wouldn't let anyone get between them and the birds. Zay got kitted out with a set of binoculars to boot - which he was using backwards to start off with :) ROBERT WILKINS
Saturday February 6th, 2010
This morning we got up early with the 'birders' to film the sunrise and got swooped by an albatross! Very excited to have left dry land if a little unsure of what to expect next.
We're now out on the open sea, having left the Beagle Channel behind and are now entering the South Atlantic, motoring towards the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas.
We're pleased with ourselves because no one has got seasick (yet), despite eating double dessert portions!
I've just found out that on a scale of 1 - 10 we are at .001 = very calm seas. Our boat - the Akademic Ioffe - seems to be heaving from side to side already. Zay is busy writing a journal and we're all growing beards :) ROBERT WILKINS
Friday Feburary 5th, 2010
We set off to sea from the "End of the World": Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego or "Land of Fire" Argentina, aboard the Akademic Ioffe.
What a mad fantastic trip this is going to be!
THE BEARD COMPETITION
Zay Harding, Presenter
Robert Wilkins, Director
Ernest Shackleton, Polar Explorer
ZAY HARDING SAID...
And as far as the beards were concerned, I was in the lead until Robert made me shave mine off completely at the start of the show. He decided, (and I agreed), that it would feel more like a long journey out at sea if we captured the passing of time by being able to observe my facial growth on film. Robert looked great with his leading beard, but I quickly caught up. And Pete gave up after his started to get too itchy, as did Chris. A very exciting world down there in the freezer! ZAY HARDING
Check out our Antarctica web chat sessions with Zay Harding and the Globe Trekker film crew as they set sail from Ushuaia, Argentina, traversing the stormy South Atlantic, marvelling at wildlife and negotiating errant icebergs, along the way, en route to the Antarctic Peninsula. Click here