We're hard at work finally, putting the new site look up, and making sure all the content is fresh and newly updated. Please bear with us over the next week or two if you find something missing or a broken link or two. We are working hard to get caught up so if something doesn't work right today, please check back tomorrow!
If you're looking around for a few of the sections we had before, I'm sorry to say that some of them are just plain gone. I decided it was time to narrow the focus of the site a bit to make sure we can really do a good job of covering the things we kept around. We were getting a little thin before, trying to offer something for everyone. We've got a new sitemap here though, so you can see all the sections.
We've had a fascination with Antarctica and the South and North Pole regions of the world for a long time now, as these are some of the last true places on Earth that refuse to be tamed, where men and women can go to truly test themselves against the most inhospitable conditions, where great swaths of land have never seen a human footprint. If one goes in search of the ultimate in adventure, Antarctica is a destination that must certainly always qualify.
For some who visit here, the challenge is in exploring it, while others choose to spend long periods of time living here, studying all sorts of things that relate to the health of the globe at large. In these time of increasing awareness and concern over climate change, Antarctica is actually a very good indicator of how we're caring for our planet and unfortunately it's not all good news.
One site that details some of the findings of the considerable research underway in Antarctica is the Nova Online - Warnings from the Ice site.
Antartica is also turning out to be a favorite venue for exploring the boundaries of the Internet. Several different significant web sites have been created to detail Antartic adventures, or to involve people around the globe in the exploration and study of this wonderful place. Some of the sites we've found along this line are older sites, but are still worth visiting.
Now we do have to say, in the time since we first started this section of our site, some of the more noteable sites that tell the tale of the true Antarctic Adventurer have fallen off the Internet. If you've got a site that relates, we would desperately love to hear from you!
February 17, 2009 - How's this for adding a little extra drama to your Antarctica cruise? The Cruise Ship M/V Ocean Nova has run aground in Marguerite Bay and is currently stranded in Antarctica. Quark Expeditions, the company that operates the cruises said that the ship ran aground Tuesday, and is currently waiting for high tide to make another attempt to free the ship. According to the company, the ship is carrying 65 passengers and 41 crew members, none of whom at this point appear to be in huge danger. Since the sun never sets in February in Antarctica, at Midnight when High Tide arrives, the ship will be in daylight as the crew attempts to float her free.
Update - Feb. 18, 2009 - So far, not much progress getting the ship free. High winds are working to thwart the efforts to free the ship.Read the full Quark Report here.The company is also sending their ship M/V Clipper Adventurer to the scene so that the passengers can be transferred if the ship cannot be freed.
This isn't the first time a Cruise ship has gotten itself in trouble near Antarctica. In December of last year, the MV Ushaia was also grounded. You can review the full report of that incident here.
In February of 2007 the Norwegian Coastal Voyage (NCV) MS Nordkapp hit the rocky bottom while entering the caldera of Deception Island. That incident did cause quite a scare for environmentalists, as the hull was damaged and there was a limited leak of marine gas oil. However, this oil evaporates and rapidly degrades, and there were no signs of coastal impact from the leak. The ship was recovered and repaired after the passengers were moved to another vessel.
In Novemer of 2007, the M/S Explorer struck an unidentified submerged object in the Bransfield Strait clost to King George Island in the Southern Ocean near the South Shetland Islands and ultimately sank. All 100 passengers and crew were safely removed from the vessel before she went down.
This is all a sign of the increased tourist traffic that is visiting this part of the world. Obviously, any travel to the extremes of the planet are going to carry additional risks, that's part of the allure after all. It looks to us like the expedition operators have all so far exhibited appropriate caution and respect for the environment, and we commend their continued focus on allowing people to safely visit these remote parts of the world.
Watch the video coverage of the MV Explorer Sinking
Antarctica Research and Information Sites
- Antarctic and Souther Ocean Coalition
- NASA Quest - Live From Antarctica (archive site)
- New Zealands Antarctica Site
- JACARA - Joint Australian Centre for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica
It's pretty amazing to me just how long men (and women) have been testing themselves against the hostile extremes of the planet. If you want a taste of what it was like to be one of the first to trek these forbidden regions of the globe, you need to check out a great book that I just finished reading. The book is The Mammoth Book of Polar Journeys and it's a collection of the actual diaries and journals that were written by the very first explorers to head off in search of the North and South Poles.