Monday, December 30, 2013

What's happening in Antarctica?

Recall my amazing expedition to Antarctica HERE early this year?  After getting back from Christmas in the UK, in early January I was busy packing and organizing my gear to leave for Argentina where, in Ushuaia, the ship would be waiting to take Paula, me, and another 100 plus passengers on the adventure of a lifetime!

Remote places, especially Antarctica which is definitely as remote as one can be, are exciting but of course always somewhat dangerous. I have to admit if what is happening there now with the Russian ship, M/V Akademik Shokalskiy, had occurred as I was preparing to head south, I would have had some trepidation about leaving home!

All Photos from The Guardian 

The map shows where the ship is frozen into the heavy pack ice, following blizzards on Christmas Eve. This is not the area of Antarctica we visited, however, you will note directly north of the location sits Macquarie Island where I visited on the Sub-Antarctic expedition trip in 2011.

First few days of being trapped were fun, now after even worse weather conditions, and two icebreakers (Chinese and Australian) being unable to get through the ice, morale must be getting somewhat low.  
Air evacuation of the scientists and tourists on board will have to be considered using the helicopter from the Chinese vessel, Xue Long. The crew will stay behind and the Australian ship, Aurora Australis, will try to reach it again when the weather improves. Meanwhile the huge American Coast Guard ice breaker, Polar Star, now on its way from Seattle to Sydney, has been re-routed to Antarctica to assist in the rescue, but will not arrive for 8-9 days!

Yes, it's great to always be up for a big adventure.........and usually the purchase of the pricey insurance coverage is never utilized, thank goodness.........I just hope all these travelers, scientists, tourists, and of course the crew, stay safe, healthy, and are rescued soon. 

Go HERE to read more and keep up to date with the rescue mission. The Guardian newspaper has two staffers on board who seem to be doing a very good job updating the precarious situation.


  1. Thanks for this, Mary. I had heard a little about the incident, but will be checking out the Guardian reporters for more information. Don't you find that having been to Antarctica, you have become more aware and interested in what happens there? I find that for the places I've visited.

  2. I saw this on the news, Mary and thought of your trip there this year. I think I'd be getting quite concerned if I were on that boat. I do hope they will be rescued soon!

  3. My goodness, I hadn't heard this. Hope they get rescued soon.
    That would be scary. Glad you didn't have to use your insurance
    when you were traveling there.

  4. See that gal on her knees with her mittened hands to her eyes? That would be I. I'd be a total wreck, which is why I am as adventuresome as a church mouse. I have yet to have an adventure that was beyond my wildest or sweetest dreams. I am in awe of those of you who do! (However, I am very happy to take virtual tours via my blogging buddies.)

  5. Terrible conditions for mid-summer when usually this area is excellent for visitors. A man from a town near us (Elliott, 750km south of Darwin) is on the ship. He is not accustomed to cold weather but he is very used to isolation and making the best of things. The helicopter rescue was cancelled yesterday. The international cooperation is wonderful and really shows what can be achieved in the scientific community. In cases like this the Australian Government usually picks up the bill, for which everyone must be extremely grateful.

  6. Wishing you a very good and sparkling new year full of new adventures!

  7. Thank goodness they are safe now, but if you had been on it we would have a ton of cool photos to look at!


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