Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dangers of Antarctic travel

Ocean travel -- particularly into largely uncharted Antarctic waters -- is not without risk.  Violent storms and rogue waves can send even the largest ship to the bottom of the ocean.

Moreover, a sudden gust of strong wind can endanger the zodiac passenger, as some tourists recently discovered:

During this excursion, some gravity-driven—“katabatic”—winds arrived. We had never heard of these winds before the trip. They arise when cold air over an ice sheet flows downhill; accelerating in the process, before arriving suddenly with great force at the bottom, in our case, the bay. In minutes, the sea was full of 1-2 meter waves, and strong winds. Our bird guide, Steven, suggested to our Russian boatman that we return to the ship.

We tried.. . . .
This traveler's scary story highlights the importance of packing warmth-retaining apparel -- not to mention carrying a waterproof sack for your camera.  

As for surviving the voyage itself, it's a good idea to research on an expedition company before you sign up.

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