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Hello from Jenni! Picture the tawny rolling grassy hills of South Africa, strains of Ladysmith Black Mombasa playing in the background and a dozen five month old lion cubs, half of them white, with their massive paws around your neck, licking up and down your arms, nibbling on your skirt and you have an idea of the glorious endowment provided us as we were welcomed into this vast and gracious country. Read More »

Just before midnight on Thanksgiving Day we were now sailing southwest through Bransfield Strait having spent the morning at Elephant Island; we were not heading to Antarctica. Bransfield Strait is south of the Drake Passage, the body of water between the southern tip of South America at Cape Horn and Antarctica. The cruise was titled the “The Spirit of Shackleton”, no one knew when we left Ushuaia how aptly this cruise was named.

I was particularly keen to go on the Explorer as it is well known for being the only purpose built ship for exploring the Arctic and Antarctic. Unlike my first cruise to Antarctica aboard the Ushuaia, the Explorer cruise included visits to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island with King Penguins, as well as Antarctica.

When we weren’t boarding Zodiacs, visiting historic sites or viewing the wildlife, we were onboard the Explorer attending lectures given by prominent scientists in ornithology, geology, sea mammals, climate and glaciology.

Damian, the historian, was present in the Falklands during the war in 1982. Brad Rhee has been leading GAP tours to Antarctica for twenty-seven years. GAP is an acronym for Great Adventure People, no connection to the jeans.

We spent Thanksgiving Day visiting Elephant Island where Shackleton’s crew waited while he sailed about 970 miles to South Georgia Island in a twenty three-foot boat. By now we were accustomed to hoping from the small platform at the side of the Explorer into Zodiacs, with assistance from the crew. Zodiacs are small inflatable boats and the most common form of transportation between ships and beach landings in Antarctica. We were all very adept at boarding the Zodiacs in rough seas and accustomed to riding the swells and getting drenched by the waves breaking over the bow. Read More »