Sunday, January 6, 2008: Day 13
Drake Passage - 11:17 am EST
Posted from SOI World HQ
The expedition continues to go remarkably well. We’ve had a very good Drake Passage crossing. Now close to Cape Horn, the M/V Ushuaia has passed between two low pressure
systems which allowed for a relatively calm Drake crossing. This has enabled everyone to stay engaged any continue to participate in workshops and lectures.
The students have divided themselves into 5 action groups: climate change, water, over-consumption, human rights, and wildlife conservation. They are in the process of co-creating plans to extend their learning through meaningful action projects when they return home.
Our final group celebration is tonight as students begin to transition to life at home. It has been a great expedition to say the least.
These students are leaving Antarctica inspired and motivated to work for change!
Drake Passage - 11:48 pm EST
Posted from SOI World HQ
What an amazing day!
While sailing on the relatively calm Drake Passage, our team continued their wrap up. Each of the 5 Action Groups presented their thoughtful plans to their peers and the staff. The Education Team was impressed by the collaboration and creativity that emerged from the Action Groups.
Throughout the afternoon and into the evening students shared fond memories from the expedition, including how they were challenged and what changes they've noticed in themselves already!. Before dinner all participants thanked the Captain and his crew onboard the Ushuaia, the Education Team, Chaperones and every student for his or her engagement and commitment to learning throughout this experience. Many moving words were shared. Students and staff made special mention of the legacy they will leave as part of this International Polar Year and thanked all of the partners and sponsors around the world affiliated with the 2007 Students on Ice Antarctic Expedition.
Later in the evening the group was treated to a slideshow of expedition photographs put together by Alex synched to a wonderful live acoustic performance by Ian. Following the slideshow, the group shifted to an in-house talent show where over 20 performances ranging from songs, to stories, humour and skits were enjoyed by all.
As the evening drew to a close emotions ran high as thoughts of friends made and journeys home crept into our minds.
Posted by Rachel Gacioch, student
It’s our last full day on the boat :( Talk about a bummer. We are all so close to each other now, we don’t want to go our separate ways. I feel like after the day spent on the sea ice we have all come to realize why we are each here on this trip. There is no other way to describe that day, other than perfect. The sun was shining, we were all playing in the snow wearing only tee shirts, and it was simply just a good time. The time we took for ourselves where we just sat on that sea ice, looking at the mountains and snow against the bluest sky I have ever seen, and reflected on the trip, left us all inspired and full of anticipation for our action groups. Our action groups are so much fun. We all want to do so much to help the world and humanity in whatever ways we can and we are all excited to work with our groups, towards our similar goals!
As a final reflection on the trip all I can say is, it is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It’s amazing how people from all over the world have come together on one trip, all having similar hopes and goals for the future and life and now we are all working together to make a change in the world. We have learned that we can be the change, and the fact that we learned this in, how Geoff puts it, “the greatest classroom on earth,” just makes the experience that much greater. We have all come a long way on this trip and I think that our lives, and the lives of other people around the world, will forever be changed as a result of this fabulous group of people!!
Posted by Serin Remedios, student
Theme Song of the Day: Comin’ Home - City and Colour
Well, today is our last day basically. Tomorrow morning we will again begin our long trek home. In a way, I am excited to go home—to sleep in my own bed, to see my family, to put my ideas into action. However, on the other hand, I never want to leave Antarctica. This continent, that seemed so hostile and detached, has become welcoming and familiar. All of our experiences have been so magical and eye opening. I only wish it could continue forever.
Also, progress with our action group is coming along well. We have a very exciting idea that could really take off it we put all effort into it. It is hard though because everyone has varying opinions. As well, I find people sometimes drift off onto completely different tangents and get distracted from our true purpose. Sometimes we just need to take a second to reel everyone together.
Right now I’m too tired to really write much else. Mom, I’ll give you a call in Miami when I get a chance, and I’ll see you soon. It has been great writing in this blog and I hope everyone reading it has enjoyed it as much as I have. Thanks for following our trip!
Posted by Molly Conlin, student
So, we are back on the Drake Passage; heading towards Ushuaia with Antarctica behind us. This has certainly been one of the best experiences of my life. Each day held
something spectacular and new. With all of the extraordinary and unique species and environments, it is difficult to choose any specific part as my favorite, but I will always remember the sounds. The penguins, the seals, the whales, and the birds will all chime in here and there, but then you will come upon a region of silence; certainly the loudest of them all. One of the most memorable days from the trip, had to be the eleventh day, January fourth. After navigating through uncharted waters, we came upon an unnamed bay. This bay was covered in a thick layer of fast ice. It was beautifully surrounded by snow-covered mountains and glaciers, the still water, sprinkled with snow and ice, and the clear, blue sky above where the sun was brightly shinning. Suddenly the Ushuaia, our ship, crashed directly into the fast ice. We started to reverse and once we were freed from the ice, we continued forwards and again, crashed deeper into the ice. Glad to learn that all this was intentional, we quickly got dressed and ready for the shortest zodiac trip yet. We literally got in and out of the boats as they transported us from the Ushuaia to the ice. It was so warm on the ice, it was incredible! All we wore were our snow pants and boots and a t-shirt. We had so much fun playing in the snow and Fritz took some ice core samples, to examine the layer of ice and snow over previous years. After a little while, we were called together in a group before setting off, each on our own, to find a spot in the snow to reflect. We spent about twenty minutes in thought. All I could hear was the silence of Antarctica and the tumble of the snow as it avalanched down mountains in the distance. We were then called back into our group where we shared our thoughts and ideas, in some ways, listening to what everyone else had to say was the most moving part of the day.
It is difficult to think that we are actually leaving; I just hope that one day I will be able to return to Antarctica and in the mean time, to help to keep it as beautiful as it is now.
Posted by Kasey Fausak, student
So, Geoff told me that my “mom and aunt” wanted to read more journals. I should have been journaling more, I guess. But everything just happened so fast. It seemed like only yesterday I was boarding the ship, and now it’s the last day. I can’t even picture going home. Things are just going to be so different. I mean, yeah, I’d kill for some real food, a hot bath, and to get out of these pants and into a decent skirt, but like… going to school, doing reports, going to work, hanging out… that stuff just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. I can’t see myself doing anything without being slightly uncomfortable. Not journaling, whether on the website or in my own notebook, which is last dated December 28, doesn’t matter because there is no way I can ever forget this trip. There’s no way I can ever forget the smell of penguin crap either but that’s beside the point.
The little islands we visited, excluding Deception and Elephant, weren’t all that great, admittedly. Nothing to see but a Penguin versus Skua standoff, and maybe a seal rolling over. But the first day, seeing the humpback whales in the sunset, and the last day, getting sunburned on an ice shelf surrounding by mountains in a bay that has no name, those two days were what really made the trip for me.
I guess I’d like to go home. I miss my family, and even some of those crazy friends of mine, but at the same time, this is probably going to be my only chance to ever come here. The ship sails across the Drake, and all I can think is “I’m never going to see this place, or these people, again.”
It’s heartbreaking, really. Like, when I left Ireland, I was pretty upset, but I knew that I could come back one day, and definitely would come back one day. Antarctica is so hard to get to, so expensive to go to, and so far away that it just seems impossible.
How long do these things have to be, anyway? I guess this is okay, considering everyone’s going to see me in less than two days. It definitely has not seemed like two weeks, that’s for sure.
Posted by Brittany Pieters, student
Today is our last day on the ship and it’s a farewell celebration. We started off with a later wake up since we had to push our clocks ahead an hour to coincide with Argentinean time. After breakfast we had a bit of free time where people sat in the lounge and drank some tea or coffee. Next on the agenda was “action groups” where the five groups from yesterday (climate change, over consumption, water, human rights, and wildlife conservation) got into groups and made up plans of attack. Our group came up with a scrap paper box in classrooms so schools could help reduce the amount of wasted paper. There were many great ideas that were presented and really showed the passion that Students on Ice has given us. We then had some more time to socialize and after had lunch. The day has been flying by and we put the anchor down in the Beagle Channel and now its time to party! Tonight is a celebration of the friendships we have made and the lessons learned. As we leave it is a bittersweet ending to an amazing trip!