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Live trip report begins in the beginning of this thread and continues (amid a fair amount of banter) until post #321 here.

Regular trip report begins here.



Other people's trip reports:

@chff: https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=101296.0

@Dan:
Original Post for the trip: https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/trip-notes/join-lifetime-kosher-catered-trip-antarctica/
Intro to trip: https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/trip-notes/follow-me-to-antarctica/
Part 1: https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/trip-notes/trip-notes-antarctica-part-1-buenos-airesplanning-positioning-adventure-lifetime/
Part 2: https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/trip-notes/antarctica-trip-notes-part-2-flying-end-world-southernmost-chanukah-party-ushuaia/
Part 3: https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/trip-notes/shabbat-shalom-southernmost-shabbos-earth/



Related DDF Threads:

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Kosher Catered Trip To Antarctica!
A Once-In-A-Lifetime Kosher Catered Trip To Antarctica! FOMO support group

Antarctica Cruise Raffle
Antarctica Raffle #2, Fill Out This Form If You Would Like To Join A DDF Raffle!
New Antarctica Cruise Raffle! Win A Superior Cabin
Another Antarctica Raffle!

"First" in Antarctica?
Polar Zmanim On The Antarctic Cruise
Antarctica TR: the trip after Dan

Author Topic: Live Antarctica Trip Report  (Read 70671 times)

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #540 on: March 30, 2020, 01:35:36 AM »
Wow! Amazing pictures. And so much work that goes into putting these TRs together. Thank you!

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #541 on: March 30, 2020, 09:35:00 AM »
Thanks for a much needed distraction! Incredible as always!

Offline Traveler718

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #542 on: March 30, 2020, 12:07:48 PM »
Amazing post, wow, such great memories! Are you going to send a link to the WA group?

I'd also add this to the list of unfathomable consequences of the Coronavirus - that this TR we'd long since given up on has had a techiyas hameisim! Hope we get the next day's TR as the quarantine continues.

Offline shwarmabob

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #543 on: March 31, 2020, 11:26:15 PM »
amazing pics

Offline moisheyb

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Offline chff

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #545 on: April 02, 2020, 12:01:56 AM »
There goes the ship!

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/32853/this-venezuelan-patrol-ship-sunk-itself-after-ramming-a-cruise-liner-with-an-reinforced-hull
Yup, was nice to have a different story to follow besides Corona


Offline moisheyb

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #546 on: April 02, 2020, 09:38:15 AM »
Yup, was nice to have a different story to follow besides Corona

Ya im trying to find anything but corona news...
We should make a website lol

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #547 on: April 04, 2020, 09:50:07 PM »
You can't make this stuff up

HT @Traveler718

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Offline EliJelly

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #548 on: April 14, 2020, 01:43:54 AM »


After a bit he woke up,


Shedding his baby fur?

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #549 on: April 14, 2020, 01:53:38 AM »
Shedding his baby fur?

No, just an annual molt. All ages go through it.
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #550 on: April 23, 2020, 02:39:57 PM »
Monday, December 17 (Part 1)

Woke up today to this view out my window:



Today was a big day: we were going to finally set foot on the Antarctic continent itself. Truthfully, there's no real difference between the continent and the islands we visited yesterday - without checking a map, you have no way of knowing or differentiating. But for us travel enthusiasts, these details do matter a bit more... For many in our group, this will be their seventh and final continent visited.

And so after an early Shachris and massive breakfast, we were off in the zodiacs once again. We were wearing our standard polar layers, but with a twist. Beneath our parka, waterproof pants, fleech mid layers, and thermal underwear, we were also wearing... our bathing suits.

Our goal? Argentina's Almirante Brown Base in Paradise Harbor- land on the continent and swim in the ocean.



Not that far off, is it? Ha! In Antarctica nothing goes as planned... It would be nearly two hours before we would arrive at the base.

What's that off in the distance? Two black humps, a fountain of spray...



Let's get closer:



Not one, but two massive humpback whales:





These guys were absolutely massive. Just how big? This big:





These gentle giants found us interesting and spent nearly an hour playing with us, constantly circling our zodiacs and diving in and out of the water. And we couldn't get enough of them - the weather was absolutely perfect, the seas calm. The zodiac drivers all turned off their motors and our group of puny little boats drifted silently about amidst these behemoths. The was no sound except the hoarse breathing of the whales, the slaps and splashes of their giant tails, and the excited exclamations of our group.





All of a sudden one of the whales lifted a 20-foot flipper out of the water, as if waving goodbye to his new friends:





And just like that, with the final swish of a tail, they were gone:



We finally set off for land again, as always passing spectacular landscapes and fantastical ice shapes:







Looking back at our ship, dwarfed by a glacier:



We spotted one of the other zodiacs speeding toward land, so our driver decided to race them:





We lost - spectacularly - but wait! Something was spotted on an iceberg off to the right, and our landing plans were summarily canceled.

What have we here?



It's a napping crabeater seal!



He opened a blearly eye,



regarded us imperiously,



and ויישן ויחלום שנית:





Our destination - for real this time:



The approach to the landing site was choked with icebergs, all breaking off the glacier adjacent to the base:





Waiting while the drivers navigate the zodiacs through the ice one at a time:



The happy "anniversary couple":







Made it through the scrum to more open water right at the base - you can see how close it is to that glacier:



Most of the other passengers had arrived before us and were climbing the hill up to the base proper:



Welcome:



Fixed it for them!



A couple of thousand penguins were nesting in cocky crevices spread out all over the mountain, but the vast majority of them were quite far:





Snowy sheathbills were poking around eating whatever the penguins dropped:



Most people decided to hike up to the top of the mountain:





Personally, I decided I was too tired to climb a mountain, so I had a better plan. I dug a little depression in the snow, pulled my hat over my eyes, and went to sleep:



I slept for a good 45 minutes, waking up refreshed and wonderfully warm.

Apparently some people got a kick out of that, such as @Moishebatchy here:


(Photo credit Aderet F.)

But as I found out later, others liked my idea and and my spot turned into something of a rest area (as you can see in the background of the above picture).

What does a chosid do after waking up? Goes to the mikvah of course!

It was time for the Polar Plunge.

Standing in the 35-degree air, knee-deep in snow, I peeled off layer after layer till I got to my bathing suit. I headed down the mountain, waited my turn, and...


(Video credit @LFR)

Holy. Canolli. I have never felt something like this in my life. My entire body went into shock, and I literally had to force myself to breathe - let alone move. I was a chuchem too - most people just jumped into the water right by the rocks, but I took a running leap and now had to swim back 20 or so feet.

I was in 30-degree water (saltwater freezes at a lower temp than fresh), literally surrounded by icebergs, and swimming in Antarctica. It was beyond cold, it was beyond painful, and I would do it again in an instant.


(Photo credit Jason Ransom)


(Photo credit Jason Ransom)





Finally made it to shore, where I was helped back onto the rocks by a crewmember, handed a towel, and sank into knee-deep snow. Ah, warm, warm, snow... It was literally way warmer than the surrounding air.

Here's Dan reconsidering his life's choices - he didn't enjoy it as much as I did:


(Photo credit Jason Ransom)


(Photo credit @Moishebatchy)

@bgfbgfbhgf taking the leap:


(Photo credit Jason Ransom)

@CheskyGold going full Breslov:


(Photo credit Jason Ransom)

The base was unmanned when we visited, so we made ourselves at home, including planting the ship's flag - here's @CheskyGold warming up:



(Just to be clear - the polar plunge was supervised by crew who were trained medical staff. They didn't let you in of you had a heart condition, for example, and made sure that everyone was safe at all times.)

Finally, with two unique accomplishments under out belts (and a bit drier and warmer), we left the base to get back to the ship.

Quick detour to check out the face of a glacier - check out the minuscule zodiacs for scale:







I'll never get tired of cool ice shapes:





This morning's wanderings:



Lunch awaits:

« Last Edit: April 23, 2020, 02:51:38 PM by Something Fishy »
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Offline Dan

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #551 on: April 23, 2020, 10:49:27 PM »
You'd think that @Dan would be used to some cold from Cleveland, while @bgfbgfbhgf from LA would be wearing fourteen layers, but I guess it was a weird night:


Just protecting myself from COVID-18.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #552 on: April 23, 2020, 10:55:27 PM »
Just protecting myself from COVID-18.
Hahaha

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #553 on: April 26, 2020, 12:35:34 PM »
Monday, December 17 (Part 2)

After and exciting and exhausting morning, we were now back on board the ship for lunch and a short break, and before long the call came to prepare for the second excursion of the day - a visit to the Chilean Gonzlez Videla Antarctic Base. Unlike the Argentinian base we had visited in the morning, this base was staffed and active.

As usual, the kayakers were called to disembark a few minutes before the others. Here's Dan all suited up before leaving our cabin:



The base in the distance:





A Wilson's Storm-Petrel displaying its characteristic "walking on water" behavior - they hover with their legs on the surface looking for fish and crustaceans:







@chff getting the shot:



Welcome to Chile:



The Chilean Air Force personnel stationed here are stuck for six straight months, and were pretty excited to have guests:



Walking from the dock to the building was... an adventure. The entire area is a giant penguin rookery, and every inch of space was taken up by nesting penguins. Even from the water we were accosted by the sounds (and smells!) of quarrelling penguins, and it was a sight to see their activity up close.

Unlike our pervious stops, where we had mainly been on the edges of massive colonies, here we were right in the middle of things. The path from the docks meandered between two small hills, with pebble penguin nests covering pretty much the entire things:





It was impossible to walk too fast, as the path itself was crammed with penguins. Instead, we just stood and watched the penguins going about their lives - and penguin society is a thing to behold.

The general idea is that the females sit on the nests while the males go around looking for pebbles, which, when approved by the female, gets added to the nest.

The only problem with this entire scheme is that each and every pebble around here has already been found by someone and incorporated into a nest. The only choice the males had was to find a nearby unguarded nest, grab a stone, and abscond with it posthaste. He would then return to the nest, only to find that while his back was turned a different male had stolen a pebble from his nest.

The entire place was filled with penguins running between nests, and screaming and fighting between males when a thief was caught. Amidst all this hullabaloo, at every other nest a quiet yet tense interaction was taking place: the guys getting their pebbles approved by the ladies.

Got one - time to waddle back to the nest at top speed:



Let's see... looks good so far:



Approved!



Couple of males trying to out-scream each other:



After getting our fill of this crazy scene, we continued to the main base building. The staff invited us to this little museum thingy they had in their main building and laid out a few tables with souvenirs for sale. Prices - as expected - were completely insane, but we all happily plunked down the cash (no CCs accepted 'round these parts...) for some unique souvenirs.

Photo by @CheskyGold:



The staff were wonderful, and we spent some time schmoozing and checking out their facilities. At one point I asked if they have any water available (I had forgotten mine on the ship), and was promptly shown into their private quarters and told to help myself to whatever I wanted.

Back outside, an elephant seal had gotten comfortable near the penguins:



We then found a quieter area behind the main building, gathered our group, and davened mincha - likely the first-ever minyan on the Antarctic continent in the history of the world. This was followed by a definite historical first: a siyum mesechta by our very own @Moishebatchy:







The paparazzi:



Here's a video of the entire thing:



And a 360 video I took of the siyum's kaddish - you can see the entire scene by using a VR headset, moving your phone all around, or using your mouse to drag on a PC:



After the siyum we continued watching the penguins - this time, it's the weird penguin edition.

Here's an extremely rare sight: a white penguin. This is caused by leucism, similar to albinism:





This is the even rarer headless penguin:



Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Penguington:



Wish you coulda heard it - this guy's rendition of Yossele Rosenblatt's "V'hu Rachum" was absolutely spot-on:



BING BONG:



Since we were technically on Chilean territory, we got to add yet another unique stamp to our passports:



...And then it was time to leave the base.

The scenery was beyond descriptions, so instead of heading back to the ship we decided to explore the area in our zodiac for a while.

Penguins were porpoising all around us - jumping in and out of the water:



I call this one "Monday":



I was just in absolute awe. This is a scene I will never forget:



Amazing mountains and glaciers:







Three Weddell seals on an iceberg:



Amazing how cozy those seals seem, lying there in the ice:



Once again Stephen Harper was in our zodiac, along with his wife this time (they were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary):



Watching penguins with @CheskyGold:



The shapes of the ice, the colors... it was a never-ending show:









Cruisin' along:



The guy to the right is the ship's official photographer, Jason Ransom:


(Photo credit @CheskyGold)

Off in the distance, we suddenly saw a strange sight: a weird black patch was floating on the water. None of us were able to figure out what that was, including the zodiac driver and Jason, both of whom have been in Antarctica many times. It was something they'd never seen before.

Off we went to investigate...

As we got closer we saw that the black patch consisted of numerous penguins swimming in tandem. Looking around, we spotted 4 more of those - hundreds and hundreds of penguins all together. We later looked it up and it turns out this is called a penguin raft, which the penguins sometimes use to hunt more efficiently:





Time to head back...



Passing some building-sized icebergs on the way:









The cranes lifting the zodiacs:





Afternoon GPS trace:



As we were having dessert, the waiters all emerged from the kitchen bearing a cake and singing "Happy Anniversary" - to @chff and his mother. It was undoubtedly one of the funniest moments of the trip:



After dinner, we all gathered on the observation deck where I had arranged for the ship's photographer to take our group picture. A few people were camera shy, but we all had a great time posing in our Kosher Antarctica yarmulkas - even some of the ladies:


(Photo credit Jason Ransom)

Me taking a 360 picture:


(Photo credit Jason Ransom)




(Photo credit Jason Ransom)

As we were wrapping up the shoot, the captain came on the PA system to inform us that conditions in the Drake Passage were looking dicey, and we should prepare for the "Drake Shake".

And with that ominous announcement, we turned our backs on Antarctica and turned towards home.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2020, 02:15:39 AM by Something Fishy »
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Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Live Antarctica Trip Report
« Reply #554 on: April 26, 2020, 12:50:19 PM »
Great TR section. As someone who gets sea sick at the slightest waves, that's the only reason I'm not going to Antarctica any time soon. I couldn't handle the Drake Shake.