Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Golden Circle

Once in a while something really special happens, it doesn't necessarily have to be big ,but just special, and when its shared and enjoyed by a number of people at the same time then that has to be the best !

Xplore during our February Antarctica expedition was able by the grace of god (and some good planning) to be able to make it south and past the "Golden Circle". I am not talking tinned fruit you might ask, I am referring to being able to go to, and past the Antarctic circle, it is the spot in Antarctica and also in the Arctic where on the longest day of the year (December 21,22 or 23 depending on the year) that the sun never sets, it just stays up there in the sky, beaming away like a happy chappy.

We didn't get there on the longest day of the year but mid February, we did get twilight all night, and we also had some of the fabulous weather and scenery whilst down south, the whole continent was there in front of all of our eyes, grand, large, white and pristine, awe inspiring !

We spent a few days below the circle, no sounds apart from the local wildlife, and the lapping of wavelets against the rocks. Days and even weeks could have easily drifted away and none of us would have noticed or cared, those were some of the best moments that will stay embedded in everyone's minds.

But like a dream our eyes must open again, luckily we all have the chance to come back again and see that special side that only Antarctica can deliver, no other place is the same.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Ice Ice

Ice Ice

Silently it creeps, with no sound it weeps, with deathly motion it finds you, to destroy leaving wounds that cut, oh so deep.

Turn your back, it moves with such speed, murder its motive, yet no trace of its path.

With sunlight, it's like a jewel, so pleasant is the viewings of fools

Don't be deceived by its glamour, the noise of its entry, fierce blows from the largest of hammers, whether small, or the large, they're from the same palm, beauty and beast all in one piece.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Locked up and blowing

The first two days here in Antarctica with the France Vs England battle of the "White Continent" teams have seen an array of talents and skills, muscles flexing as the raw flesh of seasoned athletes have been training and acclimatizing to the atmospheric conditions of the south.

Soft snow, deep leg trekking has been a favorite to harden the leg muscles needed to compete in this grueling knock out completion. High speed zodiac sorties, designed to test a persons balance, agility and strength of stomach as the G forces and acceleration can turn the hardest body into mush.

Evenings also see talents never expected, as the French have battled neck and neck with the English team on lager and red wine consumption. Night 1 had the English in the lead, but then night 2 saw the French make a flying come back as they gulped copious quantities of Syrah and Cabernet, we now see a line draw so far in this important point scoring part of the competition.

Flooding the heads, earlier on in the competition was found out to be a direct attack on the French team by the English, designed to give them cold feet and put the fear of god into the toughest of their team, referee kangaroo Stephen soon pulled a Red Card to this tactic outlawing all future use of this menacing and debilitating trick.

Today has been set as a "Lay Day", to enable teams to recover from the onslaught so far, the weather has been turned up to ensure that no teams sneak additional, and valuable training in the secret of the night, with wind strengths increased to 36 knots from the south, and a wind chill factor hitting minus 5, teams have been quiet and reflective as they plan for tomorrows events.

Referee Kangaroo Stephen said in this mornings official media conference that if teams don't maintain decorum, and restraint in trying to stymie the opposition then an addition day of foul weather will be arranged, meaning that teams which are currently on peak performance levels, will start to feel muscle failure as the cold dissipates their strengths and energies whilst bound to their team camps on board.

More exciting news to come through as the "Battle of the White Continent" continues

Referee Kangaroo Stephen

Monday, February 1, 2010

Roast beef, Frogs and a Kangaroo

Well it is the year for world cup rugby, so why not have a ding dong battle as well on board Xplore ! France vs. England. On the left hand side of the field we have the French team comprising of Fabrice, Delia and the formidable Troll (Audrey). To the right, we have England represented by Steve Strong, Edward and giant Jim. Referee for this Antarctica 28 day knock out is kangaroo Stephen. The challenge and the games that may be played along the way may not resemble rugby, but there will be a score, a prize winning team and the loosers, just who that will be, time will tell but we will report as it evolves. So Xplore slipped her lines there from the dock of Ushuaia, provisioned and prepared for what we hope is another great success in discovery on the white southern continent. Our plans are to arrive into the middle section of the Antarctic peninsula and then to penetrate south to the Antarctic circle and maybe further, to discover new anchorages and maybe touch on locations never visited by man before. More sports news to come as we head for the Drakes Passage. Stephen