Mar 042011
Penguins I have known: Half Moon Island, Cuverville, and Neko Harbour

Finally, Antarctica proper. Time for penguins! Our first landfall in Antarctica was at Half Moon Island, a crescent-shaped, rocky island with chinstrap penguin colonies and a small Argentinian research station.  (Technically Half Moon Island is part of the South Shetland Islands, not the Antarctic Peninsula, but there was ice and there were penguins, so I’m […]

Feb 152011
The Drake Passage: It's Not so Bad Until It is

Most people who visit Antarctica get there by boat, and the shortest route to Antarctica by boat is across the Drake Passage. For those of you who don’t remember your grade school history and geography lessons, the Drake Passage is the treacherous stretch of ocean between the southern tip of South America (at Cape Horn) […]

Jan 262011
End of the Road: from Ushuaia to Antarctica

Ushuaia is, quite literally, the end of the road.  Located off the tip of the South American continent in the archipelago called Tierra del Fuego, it’s considered the southernmost city in the world (although the smaller, Chilean Puerto Williams is giving Ushuaia a run for its money). As the last outpost before the Southern Ocean […]

Jan 202011
Antarctica Is . . .

For most of my life, Antarctica was an abstraction — a stand-in for the concept of “faraway”, of inaccessible wilds, bitter cold, the unknowable.  It stood for the idea of a last frontier populated by heroic explorers, or, as a reflection of more modern concerns, a barometer of climate change.  It was the fabled seventh […]