Penguincation Part 3

Summer Solstice at Esperanza Station, Antarctic

Summer Solstice and the southernmost point of our trip at 63˚23’ S & 57˚00’ W. It’s a day of thick fog as we crawl through seas amid icebergs to our first landing at Brown Bluff on the Antarctic Continent. Like ghost ships, bergs and bits are obscured by fog. Our second landing is at Argentina’s Esperanza Station, its buildings bright orange against a backdrop of ragged mountains and glaciers, and year-round home to several families. Today it is 470, sunny and clear. However, strong guide wires anchoring the buildings against high winds, the deep snow on the ground, and the presence of penguins remind me this is a harsh and isolated life for its inhabitants. (more…)

Penguincation Part 2

John James at Sir Shackleton's grave.

Grytviken is the capital of South Georgia. In its Whalers’ Cemetery is Sir Ernest Shackleton, who died here in 1922 and was buried on a hill facing South, the direction that dominated his entire adult life. We gather for a champagne toast to this explorer extraordinaire. Having read several books on Shackleton, and his unfortunate rival Robert Falcon Scott, I am in awe of their achievements. Joining in our toast is fellow-shipmate Mr. John James, son of Physicist Reginald James, one of Shackleton’s men on the ill-fated Endurance expedition of 1914-1916. In the days ahead, we will hear a lecture by Mr. James about his father’s experience and visit the scene of his survival. (more…)