Island living is easy...if your a penguin.

We have icebergs!  We'll make landfall sometime around 11 today.  Keep posted!

We landed on a small archipelago island call Aticho Island.  In order to do so, we went though a decontamination process of first vacuuming and thoroughly cleaning all bags boots, etc.  We then were loaded onto zodiacs and across the sea we went.  When we landed, we were instructed on proper penguin protocol.  Just in case you're curious -
1.  Stay 15 feet away.
2.  If one comes toward you and gets really close - stand still and let it figure out what it wants to do.
3.  No picking up the penguins and putting them in your bag, no matter how cute they are.
4.  Stay within the traffic cones so you don't ruin their environment.
So the penguins we saw today were gentoos and chinstraps.  The gentoo's were funny to watch.  They make nests out of rocks and continually keep working on it even when the they are incubating their egg.  One penguin will go out and steal a rock from another …


We have icebergs!  We'll make landfall sometime around 11 today.  Keep posted!

Tomorrow we land on Antarctica!  By 10 i'lll be walking on the ice and stone of a place I've been dreaming about since early February.


From the southern most point into the Drake...

What a day!  A day of days.  A king amongst days.  Okay, that may not make a lot of sense.  I'm exhausted.  But in a good way.  Like I said in the last post, things started out pretty darn early, and the jet lag, sleeping on planes, etc. didn't help.  Let me give you a little more detail.  From Buenos we went to the airport - the local one this time, so it was closer and smaller.  From there it was a 3ish hour flight to Ushuaia, most of which was spent in either deep conversation about the fate of society and/or education, or sleeping.  As we got closer to the airport, the landscape grew more and more dramatic - ragged mountains sticking out of the earths surface like a bones, dusty gray and sharp, and wholly unlike the time rounded peaks of our weathered Appalachians.  The descent was one of the roughest I've been party to in some time - our charter passenger plan was buoyed and dropped continually as we made our way down to the tarmac that lay between the sea and the lan…

3:21 AM Suffield time

Good morning folks,
Its 5am in Buenos Aires, and the wake up call just ripped me from my dreams.  Man that phone was loud.  We leave for Ushuaia at 6am, and I thought I would give you a quick update.  Yesterday we got a whirlwind tour via bus of greater Buenos Aires and then went out for a foot tour on our own.  We - being the 100 some odd folks who will be on the expedition, which was pared to Dan (my 6'7 Hawaiian roommate), Donnie (the other National Geographic teacher fellow) as well Scott (from Savannah and his father Greg (from Washington DC).  A few months ago Scott was at the North Pole, and he and his father are celebrating his fathers recent retirement by heading now to the South Pole.  Nice folks.   We had dinner in what was something like an old fashioned speak easy - you entered the restaurant through a flower shop flower cooler door.  Honest to God.  One would have no idea it was a restaurant outside of the recent New York Times review Scott had read.  Cool place.  Al…

On the cusp of a dream

I leave for Antarctica in one day.  One day.  ONE DAY.  My bags are packed.  Okay, that's a lie.  Everything is lying in piles on the floor our study.  But its laid out in logical piles.  Batteries are charged, camera gear is packed away (shout out to Ryan Winiarski for all of the gear he let me borrow and the advise he's given me), gloves, hats, long underwear, shell, etc. its all there, just waiting to be shoved into a duffle bag.  Recent web searches have included 'weather, Drake Passage' and 'wave height predictions, Drake Passage' and 'Dramamine vs. Bonine' and 'does candied ginger really work for motion sickness.'  I guess you can see where my heads at.  Just how rough is the dreaded Drake?  Inquiring minds (like mine) want to know.  Its not like i'm a big puker or anything.  I was totally fine going through rough water in the Adriatic years ago.  People around me were reduced from jet setting beauties to barfing adolescents in a mere …

High school magic

Tuesday's are meeting days around here.  That means when you get out of work you either sit down with some folks and talk turkey in a classroom, or you head down to the library and meet with the entire faculty.  Way back in the day in a former life as a substitute teacher I would walk by faculty meetings and look in from the outside with a bit of sadness, sort of like I had yet to arrive, and maybe I never would.   At this point I have sat through my share, and they have run the gamut from fun and lively to something akin to watching a cat sleep for a few hours.  Lately, though, they've been good.  And this last one was really good.  Let me explain that a bit.  Faculty meetings  lately involve food.  Each month a different department takes the helm and makes something topical.  It could be that everything is green because your department picked March and there's a Saint Patricks Day theme.  So on this fateful day I walked in and everything was, well, ice colored.  As I sto…