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Follow the Journey

The journey has come to a close but you can still experience the Students on Ice 2014 Antarctic Expedition through daily updates, photos, videos, and news media found below and within the supporting Photos, Videos and In the News pages in the menu.

The Students on Ice Antarctic 2014 website allows visitors to follow the expedition’s daily progress (December 25, 2014-January 8, 2015) and benefit from various educational elements of the expedition.

In this section you will find daily updates, photos and videos from our student participants, education and other expedition team members.

 

Daily Updates

December 25, 2014

Toronto, Ontario & Miami, Florida

After months of waiting the day is finally here! The SOI Antarctic 2014 expedition has officially kicked off, and our phenomenal team is slowly growing and coming together, with one group congregating in Toronto (bound for Buenos Aires tonight), and another group amassing in Miami, with plans to meet up with the Toronto group in Buenos Aires tomorrow.

Our team consists of 66 students and 23 staff from 14 different countries! Over the next few days, we will be providing expedition updates here in the ‘Follow the Expedition’ section of our website. We’ll be posting student and staff journal entries along with photos and updates.

Stay tuned!

In the expedition spirit,

The SOI Team

December 26, 2014

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Toronto and Miami groups have merged in Buenos Aires! After flying through the night, the Toronto group arrived this afternoon, which gave them a bit of time to explore and relax at the hotel. The Miami group arrived in the evening, just in time to sleep in a comfy bed before getting on another plane early tomorrow morning. Crossing two continents with such a large group is quite the process!

Students in Buenos Aires enjoyed a bit of warm South American weather. When the Toronto group arrived, the sun shining and the afternoon temperature was 24 degrees Celsius (75 F). This is quite the contrast to the Antarctic Peninsula, which has an average temperature of One to two degrees Celsius in January (34 to 36 F).

After settling into their hotel rooms, the Toronto team enjoyed their first sit-down dinner as a team, followed by a short walk to see the iconic Obelisco de Buenos Aires. The Miami group arrived in the evening, and then it was lights out at 10:00pm sharp local time.

Tomorrow’s agenda includes a 5:00am wakeup call, a 6:00am departure to the airport for the flight to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world.

We’ve just received a handful of photos from our talented expedition photographer, Lee Narraway, but there will be plenty more of her work displayed on the website and our social media in the coming days. In the meantime, enjoy a mix of cellphone snaps and Lee’s incredible work! (also note, two new photos from Lee have been added to December 25th page).

In the expedition spirit,

The SOI Team

December 27, 2014

Ushuaia, Argentina

What a great day! Arriving to Ushuaia is always an exciting experience that uplifts your spirit.

As your plane descends over the Andes down the Beagle Channel a magical scene unfolds all around you. Snow-capped mountains, lush green Patagonia forests, incredible clouds and big skies. Ushuaia, the southernmost “city” on Earth clings to the edge of the Beagle Channel and serves as one of the gateways to Antarctica, our gateway.

We landed on time (together with all our luggage!) and that first moment of walking out into the cool fresh air of Tierra del Fuego is one that you never forget. We were met by our great friends Dario and Nestor who whisked us off in buses to our hotel Los Yamanas.

Since arriving we had enjoyed a wonderful lunch, checked-in to our rooms, and had time to explore the windy shoreline of the Beagle.

Also, for the first time we gathered together as a complete team for an introductory briefing. The energy, excitement and anticipation is building! We have an incredible team of young people and staff members.

Tonight, we feasted on a traditional Patagonian ASADO barbecue, and then the students enjoyed a presentation on Antarctica by the one and only David Fletcher.

This evening concluded with the entire group outside beside the Beagle Channel at sunset, amongst the ‘midden ruins’ of an old Yaghan Indian campsite. They were introducing and sharing something heartfelt and quirky about themselves. It was a great way to keep getting to know each other and build the bonds of our expedition team. Lots of laughter and smiles. It was a tired but excited group that crawled into their beds for a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow is a full day here in Ushuaia before we board our vessel and set sail tomorrow night!!

All is well,

Geoff

December 28, 2014

Ushuaia, Argentina

Today was a truly great day! One of the nicest days of the year in Ushuaia! Our good karma was really working.

The morning was spent in group discussions and introductory education sessions with expedition staff. We then set off to stretch our legs and enjoyed a great hike up to the Martial Glacier. The interpretive hike led our students past streams, the beautiful and unique southern beech tree forests to the top of the glacier with a stunning lookout over Ushuaia, the Beagle Channel and Chilean Andes in the distance.

The hike, fresh air and incredible views invigorated the team and helped us to further bond as new friends. Following the hike we enjoyed a short visit in the town of Ushuaia to explore the streets and purchase a few souvenirs.

Filled with excitement and anticipation of our journey ahead, we boarded our expedition vessel, the M/V Ushuaia, raised the Students on Ice flag and set sail at 6pm! Students and staff toasted our journey, met some of the wonderful crew of our ship, participated in a safety drill and enjoyed being out on deck to soak in the spectacular scenery of the Beagle Channel.

Energy is in the air as bid farewell to civilization, and put distance between ourselves and the land we have left behind, and look forward to the many discoveries and experiences ahead. Tomorrow will be our first full day at sea, filled with educational workshops and activities that cover Antarctic history, science and the arts – a strong foundation in understanding Antarctica.

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff Green

December 29, 2014

Crossing the Drake Passage

In the early hours we shrugged off the confines of the land and emerged into the open ocean. Our course was set for the southeast towards the northern islands of the Antarctic Peninsula, the challenge of the Drake Passage lay ahead! First light revealed the Drake to be in a benign mood, the ship rolled lazily through a long swell. Virtually everyone made it to breakfast and to the activities that followed.

The first lecture was led off by Daniele Bianchi, giving us an insight into the complexities of the Southern Ocean. Folk then spread around the ship participating in varied but very interesting workshops. All morning the vessel had been surrounded by the wonderful seabirds of the Southern Ocean, 13 species in total and, with perfect timing their secrets were revealed during an excellent presentation by our ornithologist, Santiago Imberti, on the Seabirds of Antarctica.

Following lunch, the afternoon activities were kicked off by professor Derek Mueller who gave us a taster for something we will see a lot of in the upcoming days, Ice, Glaciers and Ice Shelves. Another session of workshops followed covering subjects as diverse as Art in Journalism, Medical Matters, Remote Sensing and Photography.

There was a break for tea and cake which also gave everyone the opportunity to get out on deck and soak in the glorious sunshine. Students were even treated to a sighting of a Fin whale being chased by three Hourglass dolphins! It was a rare and very exciting thing to see. Even for our veteran staff with a combined 600 plus Antarctic expeditions under our belts, it was something we had never seen in this part of the Southern Ocean before!

The last two presentations before dinner were mapping the seabed given by Paul Brett with the Marine Institute and Trevor Taylor, former Government of Newfoundland Fisheries Minister. They tried to unravel the politics and practicalities of Fishing in Polar Waters. After an excellent dinner there was time to work on our blogs before Olle Carlsson gave us a view of his fascinating life history as a polar explorer and guide. Geoff Green’s recap rounded off a quite remarkable day on the Drake Passage. Tomorrow will be equally full of presentations and learning, including an exciting presentation by polar historian and former Antarctic Base Commander David Fletcher on Sir Ernest Shackleton – just in time before our expected arrival at Elephant Island tomorrow afternoon! This will be our first sighting of land in the Antarctic and as we watch the incredible sun set over the Southern Ocean, we wait with eager anticipation of the adventures of tomorrow.

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff Green

December 30, 2014

Elephant Island, Antarctica

We arrived to Antarctica and what a day it was! We woke to more calm seas as we crossed into Antarctic waters. The morning began with a presentation by ornithologist Santiago Imberti on the many types of penguins, their behaviours and incredible adaptations to the harshest environment on the planet.

Next, students and staff were entranced by polar explorer, historian and former Antarctic Base Commander David Fletcher as he took us on a visual and story telling journey of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s epic expedition 100 years ago that resulted in 28 men stranded for four months on Antarctica’s Elephant Island. We all left the presentation inspired and in awe of Shackleton, and the island that we were quickly approaching.

Just after 2pm we sighted the glaciated cliffs of Elephant Island. Huge tabular icebergs dotted the seas. Penguins swam past in all directions. As we approached Point Wild the power and immensity of the landscape started to sink in. Perfect weather and sea conditions made it possible for our Zodiacs to access all the nooks and crannies of the shoreline, including the site were Shackleton’s men lived in their over-turned boats for 4 months. We saw thousands of Chinstrap penguins, 4 or 5 Leopard seals, a few Elephant seals. And one lonely Macaroni penguin! Our oceanographic team conducted some Plankton tows and CTD casts, and were able to capture some samples of the incredible marine life of the Antarctic including some Copepods, Pteropods (Sea Angels and Sea Butterflies), Amphipods, and Salps.

But Antarctica still had more in store for us on this our first day here. As we made our way along the north coast of Elephant Island, several Humpback whales were spotted in the distance. We approached slowly to find three Humpbacks feeding. For the next hour we silently drifted beside them and watched as these massive creatures lunged, rolled, and gorged themselves on masses of krill. We could hear them blowing as the surfaced over and over again. Hundreds of Cape Petrels danced on the water taking advantage of the delicious scraps left behind. What a privilege to spend time with these gentle leviathans.

Our day concluded with a great dinner, a recap and briefing filled with emotion, passion and joy, and an Antarctic sunset. It was a day we will not forget.

The students are already changing, thinking, reflecting and dreaming.

Onwards to the continent…

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff

December 31, 2014

Brown Bluff and Esperanza Station, Antarctica

We enter the last day of 2014, and what a day it turned out to be! Overnight the Ushuaia had crossed the northern end of the Bransfield Strait and around 0600 hours turned into the Antarctic Sound. Here we had islands to the north of us but to our immediate south was the Antarctic Continent. Over an early breakfast we passed some beautiful tabular icebergs and small pieces of sea ice. But none of these impediments prevented the ship reaching her anchorage of our intended landing site of Brown Bluff on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The dramatic cliffs of the Bluff are home to countless Petrels while the beach at its base accommodates vast numbers of Gentoo and Adelie penguins. Approaching the beach jagged rocks reared their ugly heads above the sea but our skillful Zodiac drivers navigated them safely and once on the gravel beach the students went off on a series of workshops including climate research through ice core drilling, art work, penguin watching, sea water analysis and plankton tows. All the groups circulated so everyone could marvel at the stunning beauty of the place and absorb the feeling of walking on the continent.

Come 1300 hours it was time to leave the Adelie and Gentoo penguins behind and return to the ship. It was now time for our good deed of the day. Another ship came into view and one of its passengers had not received his luggage. We had picked it up in Ushuaia and now delivered it to the elderly gentleman on board. Over lunch the Ushuaia sailed the relatively short distance to the area of our proposed afternoon activity, the Argentine Station of Esperanza. The station members had invited us to visit them, a really kind gesture. We arrived at the station and the boats were in the water by 1500 hours. There was a stiff breeze and choppy sea, everyone got pretty wet going to the landing but our brave hearts were not deterred. Ashore the Base members greeted us, guided everyone around and with great hospitality provided hot drinks and nibbles in the main Base Hut. The Base sits in a glorious setting on the edge of Hope Bay with Mount Flora towering behind and the pristine white of Depot Glacier leading into the distance. Around 1715hrs we started to be ferried back to the ship, the Zodiac drivers doing an excellent job leaving our friends at the Station behind to enjoy their New Year’s Eve, hopefully we had helped that by supplying fruit and wine. The ship circumnavigated a huge Tabular Iceberg before setting our nose into the Bransfield Strait. Just before dinner Olle presented the magnificent story of the Swedish Explorer, Otto Nordenskjold, much of the amazing story of this man’s expedition took place in the area where we have been today.

New Year’s eve was a night to remember! Our talented group of students and staff treated us to folk singing, guitar playing, debates, poetry, dancing, comedy and more! We wrapped up the evening with a New Year’s toast and wonderful memories of yet another spectacular day!

Tomorrow promises more adventure as we explore Deception Island, an active volcanic island where we will experience a Polar dip in Antarctic waters and explore the former whaling station at Whaler’s Bay before continuing down the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

More discovery and adventures ahead! Happy New Year’s to all our friends, family, partners and supporters.

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff Green

January 1, 2015

Deception Island, Antarctica

Happy New Year!! Our New Year was welcomed in by an early morning call, at 0730 hours our sturdy little vessel passed through the narrow passage named Neptune’s Bellows and entered the flooded inner caldera of the volcano of Deception Island. Breakfast was then taken before the Captain anchored in Whalers Bay. Close by was the Royal Navy ship HMS Protector. She was carrying an inspection team on behalf of the Antarctic Treaty parties. From our anchorage we could see the abandoned buildings and tanks lining the shore from the early century Whaling industry, as well as other old buildings from the former British Antarctic Station which were abandoned after the devastating eruption of 1969. Steam rising from the shoreline reminded us very much of the active volcanic status of Deception Island.

After breakfast we all had a chance to stretch our legs! To start we explored the old buildings, boilers and tanks finishing one end of our hike at the old aircraft hanger. Beyond this there is a site of special scientific interest at a hot body of water known as Kroner Lake. From here the hike took us back along the beach past wrecked buildings and abandoned water boats then a short uphill hike to the gap in the volcano wall known as Neptune’s Window. This provided us spectacular views over the enclosed Port Foster and outwards across the southern end of the Bransfield Strait the distant mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula. It was then back to the Zodiac landing site where the braver, or crazier, joined the Antarctic Swim Team! This is a fun SOI tradition that involves a Polar Dip into the Antarctic Ocean. Many students and staff dove into the frigid waters before returning to the ship for a nice warm lunch. Invigorated and a bit tired, we took the next hour and a half to work on our journals and other ongoing projects.  I think a few snuck in a quick nap!

We passed once more through Neptune’s Bellows and sailed along the east coast of Deception Island to an impressive cliff called Bailey Head. Immediately beside Bailey Head is a long black sand beach that gives access to an enormous Chinstrap penguin rookery. Normally, because of the swell, this is a very difficult place to land but today conditions were excellent and the opportunity was taken to get the Zodiacs ashore. The sight and sound of hundreds of thousands of Chinstrap penguins surrounding you in this vast amphitheater is simply breathtaking. It is one of the greatest wilderness sites on the Earth.  We were all left speechless. Back on board for a 19:30 dinner that was a perfect end to a truly memorable day. Except the day continued well into the Antarctic night and was wrapped up with workshops, a recap and briefing, whales and a stunningly beautiful sunset. What a start to 2015!  Tonight we sail further south down the Gerlache Strait. We hope to explore several bays and channels and landing sites along the Peninsula tomorrow.

Our wonderful team is really in the groove now.  Our good karma and family dynamic could not be much better. We are full of joy, awe and wonder.  Good night…

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff

January 2, 2015

Danco Island and Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Overnight our little company had travelled down the Gerlache Strait and breakfast time found us entering the beautiful Errera Channel, which is a waterway between the Antarctic Peninsula and Ronge Island. Once breakfast was finished it was time for our first landing of the day. This was to be on Danco Island, a small island laying in the Errera Channel. A very low tide made it tricky to land, but once ashore there was a hike up to the summit of the snow and glaciar-clad island. On the way up we passed alongside a very active Gentoo penguin rookery with their well-made “penguin highways” for travelling methodically between their nesting ground and the sea. Also at breaks to catch our breath, the clearing blue sky gave us an opportunity to take in the absolutely stunning scenery that was unveiled around us in every direction.

The steep climb provided quite the workout but it was well worth the effort. From the summit the view was beyond breathtaking! Majestic peaks and a sea of icebergs in every direction with the soft sounds of nesting Gentoo penguins, and distant avalanches. This provided the opportunity for group photographs, a silent period to close our eyes and listen, the amazing atmosphere,and the impact of the journey thus far. An ice drilling station was established and the students are beginning to appreciate how this relatively simple piece of apparatus can reveal so many secrets trapped in the ice below.

We were all back on board shortly after 12:30 to be greeted by an excellent Asadobarbecue prepared by our wonderful crew, a really magnificent way to finish the morning! Over lunch we repositioned for the afternoon’s landing. In superb weather the Ushuaia re-crossed the Gerlache Strait and then entered the spectacular Neumayer Channel and around 16:00 dropped anchor in front of Goudier Island.

On Goudier Island lies the old British Antarctic Survey Station of Port Lockroy, Base A. Long abandoned as a scientific base it has been refurbished in its original style and now acts as a really interesting living-museum to a past way of life in Antarctica. It also contains a gift shop and post office and there was much frantic writing by our students excited about the opportunity to send a postcard home. The Base sits cheek by jowl with a Gentoo penguin rookery, apparently not in the least disturbed by the human presence. While half the group started here the other half landed on neighbouringJougla Point and enjoyed the opportunity to see more Gentoo penguins as well as Cormorants with chicks. Another point of interest was the large quantity of massive whale bones left from an earlier era. After a while the groups swapped landing sites and after a suitable time we all experienced a very wet Zodiac ride back to the ship. Very dramatic how the weather changes so rapidly here.

We were treated to yet another delicious meal for dinner and then enjoyed a very inspiring presentation by our expedition staff Eric McNair-Landry and Dr. Kate Breen about their experience connecting to the land and the people in Canada’s northern region of Nunavut and their 2-month expedition across Baffin Island in their own traditionally hand-made kayaks. This was motivated by a goal of re introducing traditional kayaks back into northern communities to help restore a very important part of Inuit culture. Students were mesmerized by the presentation and inspired by its message of reaching for their goals and finding their own way to make a positive difference in their communities and the World. A wonderful end to another incredible day.

Tomorrow we plan to attempt a passage of the Lemaire Channel in the morning with the goal of reaching Pleneau Island.  In the afternoon, we hope to land on Koerner Island and the Koerner Icecap (this far informally named after our late, great friend Dr. Fritz Koerner) where we will continue our 6-year study of the Pillow Icecap that blankets the island.

Our expedition has been such a huge success.  What a special group of people we have.  How blessed we have been over the past week.  Our hearts and minds our over-flowing…

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff

January 3, 2015

Pleneau Island, Antarctica

End of the day Koerner Icecap update:

This afternoon we hiked to the top of Koerner Ice Cap in the Wauwerman Islands.  This 70 m tall ice mass has been a Students On Ice research site since 2009.  We were hunting for a stake that was drilled into the ice that supported a temperature sensor and data logger.  When we crested the hill we spotted the stake, retrieved the instrument and replaced it with a new one.  We also measured how much of the stake was poking up out of the ice and snow, as this will tell us whether the ice cap shrunk or grew since the last visit in 2012.  This year we brought more stakes to take more of this kind of measurement, we dug a pit to look at the snow layers and we took an ice core.  To top it off, we noted the position of all the stakes and the temperature sensor using a GPS receiver.

In the expedition spirit,

Derek Mueller

Expedition update 6:00pm:

Geoff called SOI HQ this evening via satellite phone from the Koerner icecap to give us a live update! He also passed the phone to three students, Joanne (from Beijing), Stephanie (from Port Moody), and Piari (from Kuujjuaq).

This morning they went down the Lemaire Channel. Although there was quite a bit of ice, they took it slowly and were able to get through. Though the entire way a minke whale followed the ship and put on a show for almost an hour. Joanne described the view from the top deck of the ship. She said it was quite the scene watching the minke whale surface on the starboard side, and everyone run over there watching it and taking pictures. Then it would disappear, and reappear on the port side, everyone repeating the process, running to the port side and watching until it disappeared once more. Stephanie recounted how experts onboard the ship, Olle and Santiago, said this kind of behaviour was extremely rare.

Once they made it through the Lemaire Channel they spotted a pod of orcas! Piari says although he’s used to seeing orcas and many other species of whales in his home in the Canadian Arctic, he’s struck by how the penguins and other animals in Antarctica haven’t learned to fear humans.

The first landing of the day was on Pleneau Island, during which the expeditioners got to see gentoo penguins and four different species of seals: Elephant seals, crabeater seals, leopard seals, and weddell seals. Stephanie says one of the highlights of her day was visiting the “iceberg graveyard” near Planeau Island. Students took a zodiac cruise, and got up close to iceberg after iceberg of all different shapes and sizes. Piari says the colours are absolutely unbelievable.

At around 4:30pm they stopped at the Wauwerman Islands, and they are still currently on the ‘Koerner Icecap,’ a place informally discovered and named by Students on Ice where expeditions have been doing glacial monitoring since 2009. This program is in a way, a legacy for the man the island was named for, the late Dr. Roy “Fritz” Koerner.

The last time a SOI expedition made it to the Koerner Icecap was over two years ago. So digging the weather monitoring equipment out of the ice and snow was an incredible feeling, and it’s now been replaced it with a new weather computer and pole to be retrieved next time.

Soon the expedition will be heading back onto the ship for dinner, and tomorrow will be the last day on the continent!

On the radar for tomorrow is a visit to Neko Harbour and some workshops on the shore.

In the expedition spirit,

The SOI Team

January 4, 2015

Last day on the continent, Antarctica

This morning we arrived at Neko Harbour. Overcast but extremely calm seas with very little wind. We even enjoyed a gentle snowfall during this, our last landing on the continent. This area is well known for its stunning glaciers and frequent glacier calving that occurs and we were fortunate to witness a small avalanche across the harbour, its thundering sound piercing the silence. Students separated into workshop groups and enjoyed the rare opportunity to observe this majestic glacier up close with glaciologist and Carelton University professor Derek Mueller. Other students took advantage of the beautiful and peaceful setting to engage in landscape painting while others observed the Gentoo penguins, climbed to the top of the glacier for some incredible views and a fun slide down the hill or simply sat near the beach to enjoy the scenery and reflect on our journey and absorb the last moments in Antarctica.

Once back on the ship we enjoyed a delicious lunch and then quickly took to the deck to soak in the incredible sunshine and views as the clouds lifted, revealing majestic peaks and reflected in the glass like waters all around us. Then a pod of Orcas appeared and we spent the better part of an hour observing these incredible creatures glide through the clear waters.

We are now headed north towards the Melchior Island before entering the Drake Passage and beginning our journey back to Ushuaia. An incredible last day in Antarctica!

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff

January 5, 2015

The Drake Passage

The ship complement awoke in trepidation on what the Drake would bring. But after a few sleepy lurches actually found that things were not too bad. We are making good progress, 60 degrees south and the Antarctic Convergence are already behind us. There is a high overcast dappled sky and flopping swell from the west. A day at sea means a day of presentations and workshops.

The array of topics discussed are bewildering in their complexity, but really good questions and arguments seem to be the norm for this group. The sea has claimed a few victims (sea sickness), but only a few and it is great to see folk moving around the ship with the confidence of an old sailor.

This morning students were given multiple options for workshop discussions, giving credit to the caliber of educators we are so fortunate to have on our expedition, and the caliber of students who are absorbing this new knowledge and broadening their perspectives, goals and ambitions in so many ways. Workshops included an “Ice Lab” led by glaciologist Derek Mueller to investigate samples taken from ice coring research conducted in the Antarctic; “Becoming a Conservationist” by ornithologist Santiago Imberti; “Artistic Expression” with resident artist Diane Burko; “Civic Engagement” with former Minister of Fisheries with the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador; “Career Adventuring” with explorer/adventurer Eric McNair-Landry, and “Wildlife Observation” on deck with naturalist Olle Carlsson.

Students enjoyed some time on deck to look for seabirds and take in the Drake Passage before enjoying a presentation by Derek Mueller on “Climate Change and the Polar Regions”. After seeing first hand the changes taking place in the Antarctic and even participating in ice coring research to help measure these changes, Derek’s presentation helped to put everything into context on a global scale and impress on all of us the need to work towards a more sustainable future for our planet.

Students broke away for lunch and some down time for journaling and reflection before launching into a fun game of the “Drake Shake Olympics”! This helped to bring everyone together and forget their seasickness while competing or cheering on their teammates in the Inuit leg wrestle, Antarctic Trivia, bowling and more!

The rest of the afternoon gave students another opportunity to choose between an array of workshops including reviewing the CTD Data obtained on Zodiac outings with oceanographer and marine mapping experts Daniele Bianchi and Paul Brett; artistic expression; crafting a youth declaration for Marine Protected Areas; discussing marine resources and sustainability with Trevor Taylor and Santiago Imberti; and whaling history with Olle Carlsson. David Fletcher also held the students attention with his incredible tales of diving under the Antarctic ice, and other experiences from 30 years working and living in Antarctica!

This evening provided a wonderful closure to the day with the latest expedition video from our very talented videographer Sira Chayer as we enjoyed a look back at our incredible Antarctic adventures.

Tomorrow is another day at sea with an expected arrival time to the Beagle Channel in the late afternoon. We’ll be on the look out for Wandering Albatross and other seabirds before welcoming the sight of the green shores of Tierra del Fuego. Tomorrow night we celebrate our incredible journey during our last night together on board the MV Ushuaia!!

A mutiny has been discussed by the students, to turn the ship around and head back South. But I’ll do my best to quell this uprising!

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff

January 6, 2015

End of Drake Passage & Ushuaia, Argentina

Today is our last day onboard the M/V Ushuaia before we begin our journey home. The past two weeks of Zodiac excursions amongst the icebergs, landings full of learning and adventure, research and workshops have been some of the best in the history of Students on Ice as we opened our hearts and minds to Antarctica and to each other. We have a remarkable group of students whom we are proud to call part of the global SOI family.

Our final day included presentations, workshops, a rare spotting of a Sperm whale beside our ship as we rounded Cape Horn, Albatross sailing the skies around us, Commerson Dolphins escorting us, and to top it all, a magnificent rainbow over the Beagle Channel to help us say farewell. This evening was a true celebration of our time together with a photo contest, talent show, video and even a special performance by The GG’s! It was a fun evening and a wonderful way to wrap up our incredible journey.

Tomorrow will be a long day of travel as we depart early from Ushuaia back to our homes. A huge thank you to all our partners, supporters, families and friends who helped to make this expedition possible. A special thank you to Canada Goose, Makivik Corporation, Kativik Regional Corporation, Beatrice Snyder Foundation, Leacross Foundation, People to People, Marine Institute at Memorial University, M&C Travel Ushuaia, Antarpply, and the Canadian Museum of Nature. We are all returning with a renewed passion for this incredible planet we share and a determination to make a difference.

Stay tuned…

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff

January 7, 2015

The Journey Home

Expedition update 6:40pm:

The Toronto group has arrived in Santiago, Chile, for a brief layover, then the next stop is Toronto. From there the Toronto group will break apart and everyone will board their planes home, or meet families in the airport.

The Miami group has safely arrived in Buenos Aires, where they will have a bit of time to explore before boarding their flight to Miami, where they will arrive early in the morning on January 8th.

Expedition leader update 11:45am:

The ship arrived in Ushuaia at 7am and the expedition disembarked our ship for good after breakfast!

The Miami group is spending a few hours in Ushuaia before boarding their plane to Buenos Aires. While the Toronto group has just arrived in Buenos Aires and is currently transferring to the international airport. Others are making their own journeys home.

Goodbye Ushuaia. Until next time,

Geoff

January 8, 2015

Arriving Home

The Toronto and Miami groups arrived safely in Toronto and Miami this morning. Throghout the morning and into the afternoon, staff members will be helping students board their flights back home or meeting their families in the airport. There were some emotional goodbyes and maybe a few tears shed, but ultimately although the end of an expedition and the goodbyes that come along with it is a difficult time, everyone is excited to return home, see their family and friends, and share their incredible stories.

Another wonderful expedition has come to a close, and SOI is proud to welcome these diverse, multi-talented, passionate, and curious 66 new alumni into the Students on Ice family. Alumni, we look forward to supporting you in reaching your goals, and celebrating your successes in the years to come.

Welcome!

In the expedition spirit,

Geoff Green

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