Baby it's cold outside

Thu, May 2nd 2024 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Gail and Jim tell us about their Antarctic Holidays

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2ndh May 2024 Baby it’s cold outside  Gail Parkinson and Jim Gostick’s visits to Antarctica       

Gail started the proceedings explaining that she flew to Chile Santiago, travelling to Valparaiso to catch the Hurtigruten boat to Antarctica. They stopped at Castro, a small village with about 70 population in stilted properties by the water, noticing lots of birds en route. A day tour of Patagonia ensued, then on to the Magellan Straits towards Cape Horn and Drake passage with beautiful scenery although they experienced poor visibility and high seas.

On to Antarctica, where a number of landings were made in rubber inflated boats (Zodiacs) to various research centres (70 in total from 29 countries {5 from China}) Hygiene is critical on Antarctica, so they were fitted up with boots and suits and also managed a Kayak experience. They saw many penguins and Antarctic Shags (that migrate to the artic) and had albatross flying alongside the boat. They ended in Ushuaia, eventually flying up to Buenos Airies, consuming much steak and chips before returning home.

Jim travelled with his daughter and son in law on 16th January flying to Buenos Airies where they spent 2days with a guide exploring the city that boasts the widest avenue in the world with 8 roads along it and the Recoleta cemetery where Eva Peron is buried. One building had the image of Lionel Messi projected on to it. In the old town most of the building are clad with corrugated sheeting painted in bright colours. The city has many beautiful buildings.

They then flew to Ushuaia on the Beagle Sound to catch the ship for the expedition South. In Tiera del Fuego they visited a Post office at the end of the Pan American Highway. Their ship was from Aurora Expeditions (Australian company) with 119 passengers and14 experts producing a daily news sheet that was very helpful and contained much useful information. The ships first call was the Falkland Islands and Port Stanley with its Cathedral and memorials to the Falklands War and a WW1 Sea battle. The harbour 4 miles long and a mile wide is a refuge for numerous fishing vessels. No natural trees grow on the islands but lupins flourished. The ship then headed to S Georgia with its jagged mountains glaciers and shores covered with millions of penguins and seals. They landed at numerous locations and climbed several hills to take in the spectacular views as well as the derelict whaling stations at Stromness Bay and Grytviken where Ernest Shackleton finish his epic voyage and which processed thousands of whales per year for their oil. From there the ship sailed to the rarely visited S Sandwich Islands that are all active volcanoes. The journey then headed West to the Northern tip of Antarctica to experience the severe cold and winds with huge ice cliffs and even more penguins and seals. Here some hardy souls even took a plunge into the icy water.

The ship then headed back to Ushuaia with a flight to Buenos Aeries and a stay at an Estancia where the French owner bread Polo horses before heading home after an incredible month’s holiday.

President David made the vote of thanks first asking the question as to why anyone would want to travel to such a cold and adverse environment, but then thanking them for their enthusiasm, and sharing their photographs and memories  and asked members to join him with a warm round of applause.    AR

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