Jim Reisert: Travel

2009 Antarctica

South Georgia
South Orkney

2009 Antarctic Cruise

Between January 23 and February 10, 2009, we travelled aboard the Ocean Nova with Natural Habitat to the Antarctic region. We departed from Ushuaia, Argentina with stops in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Orkney and the Antarctic continent. There were 68 passengers on the cruise.

Sept. 8, 2009: Pictures are coming, keep checking back in a few days.

Shipboard Life

The day starts when our expedition leader "gently" wakes us up over the ship-wide PA system. We are usually informed of our current location (latitude/longitude) and the temperature (Celsius, of course), in addition to a reminder about our morning's activity. After having breakfast, we change into our layers, waterproof pants, Wellington boots and parkas, and of course the mini life-jacket which is almost impossible to get on and off. After signing ourselves out of the ship, we get in line at the gangway and wait for the Zodiac to take us to our landing. Landings were usually wet (you step into the ocean then head onto the beach).

Once onshore, we could remove the life-jacket (or leave it on, if it's being difficult). At this point, we usually wandered off in our own direction to see or photograph landscapes or wildlife (guides would usually be stationed at the limits of our exploration). After a pre-determined time (usually 1-3 hours), we were called back to the Zodiac to return to the ship. Once onboard the ship, we had to wash our boots to prevent the accidental transfer of species from one location to the next. If it was an early morning landing (like 6-7 a.m.), brunch would be waiting for us (in lieu of breakfast), otherwise we'd have lunch. The ship would reposition itself for the next landing. Sometimes this took under an hour, other times several hours.

Afternoon landings were very much like the morning landings. Or instead of a landing, we might just take a Zodiac cruise. On a few landings, we took a Zodiac tour before returning to the ship. This was an excellent way to see species which are not land-based, like some of the seals. Some Zodiacs were lucky to have a close encounter with a whale!

On sea days when we did not go ashore, we'd have a lecture in the Panorama lounge after breakfast, and another in the mid-afternoon. The lounge had two ceiling-mounted video projectors and screens, one for each side of room. They were connected to either a laptop computer or a DVD player. The lecture topics included biology, geology and history - just like being in school (but without notes and tests). We also had a climate change seminar one afternoon with our World Wildlife representative.

Every afternoon, we'd get together in the lounge for cake, snacks and cocktails. We'd have a review of the day's activities, and a briefing for the next day. Dinner followed between 7 and 7:30, then Ocean Nova Cinema might show a movie, if you could stay awake.


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