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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Antarctica Ski Cruise 2009 Itinerary

Just a few more things to pack, including my white tuxedo for the "White Party on Antarctica," which is gonna have a tough time living up to last year's Halloween party!

Here's our plan for the trip, of course in any adventure travel flexibility is key:

2009 Itinerary

November 5, 2009 to November 17, 2009.

Day 1: Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina. Welcome dinner and orientation. Overnight in Ushuaia.

Day 2: Board the Clipper Adventurer and set sail down the Beagle Channel.

Day 3-4: Cross the Drake Passage. Sperm, fin, and humpback whales, along with skies of seabirds will accompany our journey. Arrive at Deception Island’s volcanic crater on the afternoon of Day 4 for a hike.

Day 5: Ski and trekking objectives at Neko Harbour. Zodiac cruises, penguin rookeries, hiking.

Day 6: Ski and trekking objectives at Anvers and Wienke Islands. Port Lockroy scientific base and museum. Visit gentoo and adelie penguin habitat.

Day 7: Ronge Island/Mt. Britannia. Visit Penguin rookery at Georges Point.

Day 8: Ski and trekking objectives in Paradise Bay. Zodiac Excursions. Visit penguin rookery and Almirante Brown Station.

Day 9: Lemaire Channel/ Mt. Scott/ Mt. Demaria/Mt. Mill ski descents. Visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky scientific station. Killer whale and leopard seal sightings.

Day 10: New ski descents and nature cruises in Crystal Sound; begin journey north in the evening.

Day 11-12: Sail Drake Passage; pass the dramatic cliffs of Cape Horn.

Day 13: Disembark Clipper Adventurer in Ushuaia, Argentina.

*Flexibility is a must for all Antarctic travel. This program is subject to change throughout the journey depending on ice, weather and local conditions.

And the wave forecast now reaches out to our first day (although we should be spending most of day one in the Beagle Channel and hit the Drake Passage on the 7th):

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Better Living Through Chemistry (and a little Accupressure too)??

It seems that the main topic of conversation as you meet new people on a trip to Antarctica (after the typical name and where you're from) is the Drake Passage and what sort of Sea Sickness remedies you've brought with you. I've been prone to some motion sickness in my life, although never really bad, so I'm not taking any chances. I've got:
  1. The Scopolamine Patch - This is a patch you put behind your ear that slowly releases the drug Scopolamine over 3 days. You need a prescription to get it and based on all my research it's the one thing that really works (although the Drake is still known to shake people into sea sickness even with the patch). Many people don't like it because it makes them feel a bit loopy (indeed, I put one on last year before going to bed when we thought we would be leaving over night and definitely felt a bit strange when I woke up, took a moment to figure out the boat wasn't moving). Scopolamine has also been used as a truth serum in the past, so I'm bringing extra just in case :)
  2. Dramamine - Also effective for many people, I went with the CVS version which has the same active ingredient, dimenhydrinate. I skipped the non-drowsy version, I figure if I'm not feeling well, knock me out!
  3. Ginger Pills - Ginger is another common sea sickness remedy that seems to work by settling the stomach. Last year, ginger candies were available on the boat at the drink station. Many people swear by it, other claim it's no help at all. Since sea sickness isn't really a stomach issue, but rather an inner ear/balance issue, ginger may help with the symptoms, but it doesn't seem likely to get to the root cause.
  4. Sea-Band - Another product that many people swear by, and an equal number claim does nothing for them. These bracelets go around your lower wrist and a small plastic nubbin pushes on an acupressure point that is supposed to help relieve nausea and motion sickness. I've had enough luck with acupuncture and acupressure that I'm gonna give it a try!
So, my "sea sickness cocktail" is going to be the patch, bracelet, and ginger as needed. I'll take the Dramamine if the others don't seem to be working, but given what I've read and heard I have more faith in the patch then anything. Should be fun :)

Forecast now reaches out to our meeting day in Ushuaia, check out the big blob of orange and yellow!!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ski Antarctica 2009 - The Drake Passage

Between Ushuaia and the Antarctic Peninsula is the infamous Drake Passage. This is the one place on earth that the ocean currents can circumnavigate the globe unobstructed and thus is known to be the roughest seas in the world. The Drake Passage can be very flat too, so the big question is will we get the "Drake Shake" or the the "Drake Lake?"

So, watching the wave forecast becomes a daily obsession as our trip approaches. We set sail on the 6th and will be crossing the Drake on the 7th and 8th, so the forecast almost extends out to our passage now, a couple more days.

Last year it looked like we were going to be setting out into the "perfect storm" with 60 foot waves in the forecast. While I'm open to experiencing the the "shake," hoping for a little smaller waves then that!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Ski Cruise 2009: Ski Antarctica

One week from today I'll be arriving in Ushuaia for Ski Cruise 2009, take 2 on the ski trip to Antarctica. After last years failure, I'm feeling very good about our prospects of getting down to Antarctica this year. Looking forward to seeing people I met on last year's trip and to making new friends!

The team meets up on 11/5 in Ushuaia for our 11/6 departure. I'm heading down a few days early to get a couple warm up days in skiing the Martial Glacier. Plus, always best to build a few extra days in pre-trip for any travel related delays, luggage issues, etc.

Our approximate route

Ushuaia from the Martial Glacier, 11/3/08

Powder turns on the Martial Glacier, 11/3/08

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ushuaia Weather

One week from now I'll be on a plane heading for Ushuaia!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

El Niño 2009-2010 back on track?

Sea surface temperatures have started warming again after stalling out for awhile. A moderate to strong El Niño is still in the forecast, but some meteorologists started questioning this when temperatures stopped rising. We'll see...

More here:


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Newer Winter 2009-2010 Weather Predictions

Still talk of a moderate to strong El Nino, but things really haven't been moving that direction recently. Here's the latest from the NWS and AccuWeather:

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Opening Day in Tahoe 2009/2010 Ski Season

Earliest opening ever for the Boreal WROD!