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Thread: A trip to antarctica

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    Default A trip to antarctica

    After all this snow and ice we are experiencing, it brought back memories of a trip we did the Antarctica on the ship, MINERVA,
    In March 2009, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    .

    The trip to the Antarctic was fantastic, I would certainly do it all again, we have run out of world now so we don’t know where to go next. Maybe somewhere different..

    We flew to Buenos Aires on an awful Air Chance flight from Paris, a long overnight flight. I wouldn’t fly with them again. We stayed in B.A. for three days and Swan Hellenic had a few coach tours lined up for us, we stayed at the Crown Plaza right in the city centre. We went to the Riccoletta to see Evita’s tomb, Just in a small family plot belonging to her brother in law, she is buried 30 feet down as there have been a few attempts to dig her up.
    Then to a really good Tango show and dinner, I went to look for my old Sailor Bars down the Calle Viente Cinco de Mayo, all gone. Just offices and banks, sad.
    So I went down to Number 4 Dock where we berthed and it is now a Marina and the cargo sheds are now apartments and Italian restaurants, sad. We did a tour of La Boca, that has not changed too much over the years, as rough as ever and so are the women, see photo..
    We then flew on a five hour flight to Ushuaia, most southerly town in the world, we went there on QM2 three years ago. They gave us a full day coach tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park. It was getting cold there then after the heat of B.A. the mountains covered in snow. Followed by a dinner and a Gaucho show at an old prison. It was very good.
    Later we joined our ship, `Minerva` and then sailed down the Beagle Channel round Cape Horn and then headed south to the Antarctic. We sailed along the coast of the Antarctic Peninsular, with high ice covered mountains, lots of humpback and blue whales. We arrived at Half Moon Bay and we got togged up in our Antarctic clothing and thermal long johns, and climbed into the zodiacs and went ashore, landing on the beach, wading through the water. We were surrounded by penguins and seals. We had a walk across the Island and I saw a large bull elephant seal with his harem of cows, so I went towards him to take a photo, he saw me and raised himself up, about seven feet tall and as I took his photo he charged, these beasts can move faster than a man can run but only for a short distance, I ran up some ice covered rocks fell over the other side and headfirst down a hole in the rocks. My shoulders stopped me from going further down and so the expedition leaders had to help me out. Fortunately the Elephant seal couldn’t see me or he could have made a bit of a mess of me, they weigh up to five tons. I injured both shoulder but being a roughy toughy I carried on. I took off my belt , fastened the buckle, making a loop and over my shoulder and my arm through it used it like a sling. When I arrived home a month later, after a bit of trouble with both shoulders, I went to the hospital and had x-rays, my left shoulder bone, the Clavicle, was snapped in half and in my left shoulder I had torn all the Clavicular Ligaments. It could have been worse, that elephant seal could have sat on my face.
    I carried on and walked amongst the Penguins, they are very tame. When you sit down they come up to you to have a look, if they like the look of you they pick up a pebble and lay it next to you. That means they fancy you and want to mate with you and build a nest, nests are made with pebbles, no twigs or leaves in Antarctica .Lovely creatures.
    We sailed back to Minerva in the Zodiacs and then sailed along the coast to several other landing places in the zodiacs, Very interesting landing in these isolated places, with thpousands od sels and Penguins. We sailed past Livingston Island and along the Antarctic Peninsular to Deception Island where we sailed through the caldera, open side of a volcano opening into a huge lake. Going ashore again there where thousands of Penguins, Chin Strap, Macaroni who are very grumpy, gentoo and emperor. At one side of the lake the water is heated from below by the volcano and the water is quite warm, Unusual to be swimming surrounded by ice and snow. About a dozen passengers went swimming, I didn’t go in, a bit of pain from the shoulder.
    From there we sailed to Point Wilson, Elephant Island, to where Ernest Shackleton left his men to sail 800 miles to South Georgia in an open boat to get help after they lost their ship. He rescued them 22 months later. A bleak and evil looking place covered in freezing fog and ice. They lived under upturned life boats and the only food was Penguin meat.
    We sailed through the Scotia Sea, surrounded by hundreds of massive icebergs and went to Elsehul on the west coast of South Georgia, home to millions of Albatross and penguins. There are more than 14 million penguins in South Georgia.
    The following day we arrived in Grytviken on the east coast of South Georgia,
    It was a bleak desolate place, but I found it to be very interesting. We went to see Sir Ernest Shackleton`s grave in a small cemetery, of about twenty graves of old sailors. on the hillside overlooking Grytviken. We had a small service at his graveside and tots of rum were issued and a tot of rum was poured on his grave, an old custom.
    One grave was of an Argentine Sailor who was shot by a Royal Marine in the submarine they had captured, he made a false move and was shot.
    On the harbour side were the ruins of the old whaling station, three old whaling ships, including one that was once a trawler that once sailed out of Fleetwood, They had sank over the years but were now hauled up the beach and the Olivia is being cleaned up and the team from the South Georgia Heritage Trust are trying to get it in a condition to return it back to England for preservation. A big task, I met the team leader and volunteered to help them, they were leaving the following week as the winter was coming on, they work from October to March. I was offered a place on the next season in October, leaving home in September; the job also involves looking after the Whaling Museum there that is very interesting. The man who does it was not going back. I was all set for a last big adventure, but after visiting the hospital here, they told me it could take up to nine months for my shoulder to heal. You have got to be 100% fit there, no medical facilities; no one lives there only the British Antarctic Survey team and the men from the South Georgia Heritage Trust in the season. So sadly I had to cancel the trip. That would have been the last big adventure,
    There is a pretty wooden church, built in 1904 for the whalers, Shackleton had his funeral service there, Inside was a plaque with the name of three British Soldiers on who lost their lives in the mountains. One was Garry Green who lived near to Anne, His body was returned back to Bolton and he is buried in the local church on the lane near to where used to Anne live. I took photos of the plaque for his family.
    There were lots of Penguins and seals playing around and posing for the cameras.
    We sailed later that day past the snow capped mountains and into the Scotia Sea with many more massive icebergs.
    Four days later we saw Nightingale Island appear and sailed along the coast, it was uninhabited and then a couple of hours later we anchored off Tristan da Cunha.
    It is just a large volcano sticking up out of the ocean on one side is the settlement of Edinburgh where everyone lives, the population is 290 people made up of seven main families. It has one church, one pub, a few vegetable fields, a few cows and sheep and a couple of fishing boats.
    The British Government always sent a ship twice a year to the island with supplies and anything else they required but this year this government stopped it all. There is no airport and now no ship or any other way of getting to Tristan. They just have to depend on any passing ship to help them and they are very few. Our ship dropped a lot of `stuff` off for them. It is the most isolated island on the planet. The nearest land is Cape Town, 2000 miles away. In 1961 they were all evacuated to England when the volcano erupted and almost destroyed the settlement. They stayed for a couple of years but did not enjoy it and all went back when it was safe to do so. One of our passengers was a retired schoolteacher and he taught the children in a school in Southampton. He had a wonderful reunion with his ex pupils who he hadn’t seen for 47 years.
    We then sailed for Cape Town five days away. We arrived off the Cape early in the morning and our berth wasn’t ready until late afternoon so we sailed along the coast past the Cape Point and False Bay and back again. Lots of whales appeared and stayed there right into Table Bay.
    We stayed in Cape Town for three nights and the company put on a few coach trips for us. I had lived there for a while when I was flying in Court Helicopters in 1976, and had relatives there and had been many times on my other ships, so I had seen everything there but it is still interesting going to the wineries in Paarl and Stellenbosch, up the Table Mountain etc. Then we flew home on an overnight BA. flight
    When I arrived home a couple of days later I was still in a bit of pain in the shoulder, so I went to the hospital and had ten x-rays MMR Scan, and a they told me my clavicle or collar bone was in two halves the Clavicular ligaments had been torn and and the nerves had been compressed in the right shoulder, so they gave me a sling which I slung, I had been galloping around the Antarctic without one for more than a month. The clavicular ligament was torn so had to have an op to sew it back.
    A very interesting voyage from Cape Horn to Cape of Good Hope, I would certainly go again down to the Antarctic is a very fascinating and interesting place to visit. It wasn’t a holiday, more of an expedition and adventure.
    Sometime we were called at four and five a.m. to have early breakfasts before going ashore in the zodiacs, it would take at least thirty minutes to get dressed. Thermal vests, tee shirts, shirts and jerseys, thermal long johns, trousers on top then water proof trousers on top again and knee length boots for wading ashore from the zodiacs. and balaclavas and the BIG red Parkas and hoods that you keep afterwards then life jackets and ruck sacks that you also keep. Quite exhausting just to get dressed. It is a tough trip but very well worth doing if you enjoy that kind of trip.
    Brian
    photos outside of the Museum in Grytviken with whale bones , Minerva in the ice. Penguins on South Georgia the cemetery in Grytviken, Shackletons grave is behind me, All graves face east Shackletons faces South. and the old whalers on the beach.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 1st March 2018 at 04:20 PM.

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    Default Re: A trip to antarctica

    Here are a few more photos of the trip.
    Young lady I met in B.A. Ice berg , Point Wilson where Shackleton left to go for help., Abandoned lifeboat in Antarctic, and old Whalers waiting to be rescued.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 1st March 2018 at 04:19 PM.

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    Default Re: A trip to antarctica

    Brian with all the weather in UK just now I think most wills see enough without going to Antarctica.
    And in time it will all melt away.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: A trip to antarctica


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    Default Re: A trip to antarctica

    And a few more....H GRYTVIKKEN . ANCIENT MARINER AND ALBATROSS.jpgJ SALISBURY PLAIN AND A FEW KING PENGUINS.jpgK PETE COMPLETING THE LAST 6 MILES OF SHACKLETON'S WALK TO STROMNESS.jpg

    "For speed and efficiency of travel, give me Amundsen
    For Scientific discovery, give me Scott;
    But when all hope is lost, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton."
    Sir Raymond Priesley

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    Default Re: A trip to antarctica

    Hi Brenda,
    many thanks for the mail and photos,
    What a great name you have,
    I have a photo of the Albatross in the Museum and also of the Penguin skin, very oily,
    . Very interesting place, Love those Penguins,
    I was going to go on the Shackleton walk but I had been injured by the Bull Elephant Seal and don't feel up to it.
    I was offered the job there in Grytviken as the man was leaving so there was a vacancy, to look after the Museum and to help with the restoration of the Viola, by the SGHT, in Dundee, but unfortunately My injury lasted until the following March, and so I was unable to go in October 2009.
    It would have been a great experience to spend the season in South Georgia. A trip to the Antarctic is a wonderful experience like no other.
    love to do it again.
    Cheers
    Brian
    photos...............
    The Elephant seal that chased me, he thought I was after his cows.
    Anne and me
    Shackletons grave
    Ushuaia and a print of Shackleton leaving Elephant Island in his boat, the CAIRD..
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 2nd March 2018 at 03:57 PM.

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    Default Re: A trip to antarctica

    I had a few movie clips of the Antarctic but it will not allow me to upload them,

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  10. #8
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    Default Re: A trip to antarctica

    Only YouTube Videos Capt!
    Cheers

    You can convert those you have !
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

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    Default Re: A trip to antarctica

    Elephant Seal Cows.jpg

    Haven't seen Brian for a while, have you? No, but I've seen one of the Gentoo penguins carrying pebbles to build him a nest.

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    Default Re: A trip to antarctica

    GOOD ONE Brenda, like it..

    Lucky the male didn't chase you getting so close to take the photo.
    I would love to go back, getting a little too expensive now, I guess we got there just in time.
    Cheers
    Brian

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