It is hard to write and travel so much when there are flights involved. Even though you might leave early, there is a stress that naturally exists. We first hit the streets of Buenos Aires for some quiet time and food. Both have been much needed; we have been running constantly for now 20 days! We walked the streets of Palermo so more and visited a street market. I love them! There is so much life going on in these kinds of places. The colors were fantastic. I took some close-up shots of some of the products. It wasn’t until I was back at the apartment that I realized that I should have spent much more time taking impromptu shots. The photos that I am including here are just a small, small sampling of the hues and bold flavor of the goods being offered.
Mr. Sanders and I then embarked on our way to Iguazu Falls. The journey began almost being completely stressful. We tried to use the automated tellers for our boarding passes in the airport. Broken. Frustrated, we looked at the line for getting them manually. It went on forever! Out the door. Twisting like a serpent waiting to eat us so we could not make our flight. I really assumed that we were going to miss it. Then, Mr. Sanders got the idea that we should try out another machine. Suddenly, we were on our way to one of the most beautiful, natural places ever!
We landed and found our way to the “remise” stand. That is a fancy word for a private taxi. How they are different or similar is uncertain. They look like regular taxi cars and the drives are generally pleasant. We checked into our hotel had a surprising oasis/resort feeling. Honestly, we had very little plans on what we were going to be doing once we arrive – other than “go to the falls.” We were met immediately by the kindest of staff; they offered immediate guidance. We were directed to hire a taxi drive to whisk us over the Argentinean border back to see the falls from the Brazilian side because we only had 4 hours left before the park closed. So, we were off!
Our taxi driver, Gustavo, acted more like a guide, a friend and someone whom we could trust. He was expeditious in the way he managed our passports at every stop. He walked us to the front gate of the national park telling us exactly where to go on the Brazilian side. He was waiting for us upon our return!
So… the best part! The falls! There were coatimundis roaming the paths in browns and oranges. At first, they were so exciting to see. They look like they are related to a raccoon and, at first, look so much cuter. You hear birds calling to each other hidden deep in the canopies of the forest as you are walking down the path. Then, you get to the first landing – and it is breathtaking. Cascading veins of water falling by the tens in every direction you look almost like pieces of tinsel on a Christmas tree. We were awestruck – until the rain came. It rained. And rained. And rained some more. It was a full on summer tropical rain where you are soaked through the bones!
It is amazing to see the massive amounts of waterfalls that this natural world “wonder” offers. It almost seems as if they will never end. We were excited to see that Devil’s Throat (the observation point where you can walk over the falls) was open. This area had a strange change in temperature. It was almost chilly in Iguazu. At this juncture over the falls, the air temperature seemed to rise almost 20 degrees as you are sprayed in the face by the rainstorm generated by the falls. Photos were very, very hard to take with the rainstorm and water blistering us from the falls! Tomorrow, we will be hiking and walking the paths on the Argentine side! I do hope to share better photos with you!
We woke up to another beautiful day in Rio. The clouds were no longer protecting us from the sun and temperatures felt like they were already 90 degrees before 9 a.m. Today wasn’t a big day because we had to leave around 1 p.m. to come back to Buenos Aires. Our plan is to stay a few days in a different neighborhood before heading off to Iguazu Falls.
Our taxi ride was pretty long – terribly long actually. Traffic was difficult getting out of Copacabana; we were lucky to have left a little earlier than we normally had planned. The language, as I have written, continued to be an obstacle for us as well as a perpetual joke amongst us. I just now assume that I won’t possibly get what I want and have to be flexible! J
The flight back to Buenos Aires was full of screaming kids. GREAT. There were probably 8 or 9 little people on our flight; they all were seated up towards Mr. Sanders. I was lucky to be towards the back of the plane even though their wailing was inescapable. It makes me so thankful to have the lovely darlings in my class!
We got to our apartment in the Palermo District in Buenos Aires. It is full of a different kind of life and reminds me a lot of Madrid. The streets have cobblestone, people go out later. Everywhere you go there are cafes and musicians creating a living sound all of its own. There are people of all ages eating, meeting with families, and enjoying their summer. Palermo has a neighborhood feel with a bit of a “hip” flavor. There are many independent shops and interesting things to investigate at every turn.
Above and Below; Japanese Garden
Monument for German Park
We spent today walking the streets. Me, I am mostly lost. Mr. Sanders has Google map location on his phone and navigates everywhere. We strolled through big parks – one German, one Japanese. We toured the outside of the zoo – where graffiti around the walls clearly said that people were not happy with, “the incarceration of animals.” Mr. Sanders would not want to admit it; however, we found a Starbucks and enjoyed a big, cold, icy, delicious iced-coffee. We are off to do some more neighborhood explorations! I'll post more photos of Palmermo tomorrow! Adios!
Big surprise – we enjoyed the beach again today. The weather was by far the best so far. It was sunny all day and the water was a deep emerald green. The waves were full energy today – occasionally knocking someone over and tumbling them over into the shore. It happened to me, and it was a ton of fun!
After spending a majority of the day at the beach, we decided that the famed Ipanema Sunset had to be seen. It was unreal. The sun came down from the clouds with the power of a bomb exploding in the distance. People lined the shore as it slowly made its way down to the horizon line. People were posing and taking selfies, trying to get the best shot. It was hard. I tried many times to capture Mr. Sanders with multiple different exposures and camera tricks. Nothing worked. Every time, he showed up as a dark silhouette against the background. Colors of fiery red, burnt oranges and electric yellows blazed through the sky. When the sun finally went to sleep, the crowds cheered and applauded paying homage to the incomparable show that nature displayed.
We then walked over to the lake where a famed tree has been erected for the holidays. They say there are 3 million lights on the tree! When you get there, it plays a variety of holiday music and changes during the musical transitions. From all green, to a bright sunrise, to a deep right purple and even all black! It truly was a sight to behold and am so glad we got to see it. This afternoon we officially take off. I will miss Rio, the beach, the beauty and the casual lifestyle it offers.
Today was one of the first days that we have been able to really sleep in. One of us slept in much later than the other! J I chose to get up and go to the beach. The weather didn’t really want that – it was cloudy, overcast and not really hot. So, I decided to wander and wander and wander. As a traveler, I enjoy listening to the sounds of the people – the greeting of each other from across the street, the ordering of a juice from a corner vender or picking out vegetables from a farm stand. For me, I love learning about how life is so very different from what I know. I sauntered through the streets for about three hours. At times, there was a real hustle and bustle of people going places. All in summer attire – sun dresses, bathing suits, shorts and t-shirts. Flip-flops are the “way” here in Rio – even on Christmas Eve. Before we came, we were told by COUNTLESS people to be careful here; it has almost been to the point where we were frozen in pre-perceived fear. Each day, we have become a little more adventuresome and brave. On my walk, I was certainly careful. I only brought a small amount of money, my room key and my iPhone. In Chicago, clearly the mayor’s son can be mugged across from his house; here, I am happy to give it to someone. My phone is quite old, and I am ready to upgrade.
I dodged in and out of the various streets. Yes, as I walked things became less populated by people and not so “nice.” The road became dirtier, houses more broken and I was watching everything that moved by. Don’t worry, really. I was being careful. After a bit of that neighborhood, I turned around and made my way back to the hotel. I didn’t take photos because it is rude to capture images of the misfortune of others. The life of Rio is very different a few blocks away from the main beachfront; you have to be careful. I did manage to take some photos of a colorful flower stand selling Christmas arrangements to people getting ready for their dinner and the marvelous fruit stands. There was a lone park in all of this that seemed quite tranquil with people there. From a distance, I thought they were all having a lovely afternoon, playing chess and enjoying the calm temperatures and slight breeze. After one shot of my camera, someone who did not appreciate my photography was yelling me at. I moved on and then made my way to the beach for a full afternoon of relaxation. It was still overcast and really not much to report other than I had a nice, good nap.
It was Christmas Eve and Mr. Sanders and I took Carmen (from yesterday) up on her offer to make a reservation for us at a fantastic restaurant. We were skeptical. Would there be aliens? Would there be food? A pyramid perhaps? I apologize. It has been a running joke since yesterday.
Our reservation was for 8 p.m. as suggested by Carmen; I might add that we did not get any strange looks when we suggested the time. We were given a suggestion to walk around the area when we got there because it has interesting features. I envisioned old, quaint streets and neighborhoods from maybe a few hundred years ago. We pulled up to the restaurant at 6:30. It was a ghost town. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. We even wondered if we were in the right place. We decided to walk and see what there was to see. We strolled down the beachfront in the Flamengo neighborhood. It was surprising to see people jogging and carrying on as if it wasn’t a holiday. We know that not everybody celebrates Christmas; it looked as if it were a workout day and just as if it were a regular evening in Rio. I tried to order a Coca-cola. I got a coconut with a straw. Whoops. I realize now what I did wrong. :)
We were starving and held off until our reservation time. Does it shock you to read that there was STILL nobody at the restaurant? Famished, we decided to go in. Being the second people to arrive, we saw the spread in all its untouched glory. As Carmen had promised, there was food presented unlike anything that we saw before. There were “sushi’s, shrimps, breads, gelatin molds, crab, etc.” Everything was displayed as if it were made for a king. Colors galore – reds, salmons, burgundy sauces, and creamy salads. We were a bit confused – nobody was offering to speak English and we muddled through it! Suddenly we were barraged with meat upon meat. Skewers of different steaks, chicken hearts, pork and lamb were flying around us asking if we wanted more. And more. And MORE. It wasn’t long until we found ourselves in a food coma. I think I am switching to vegetarianism for a little bit.
We bellied up to the desert table that was as stunning as the main buffet. Eventually, we attempted to pay for our bill and catch a cab in the rain. The drive home was lovely down the main costal strip in Rio. People were still partaking in late evening beach life eating and enjoying the rush of the waves combining with the pouring rain.
We will soon make our way back to Buenos Aires. We will miss the sun and sand of Rio. I am excited for two days of strolling Buenos Aires again and the off to Iguazu Falls! Bon Nuit!
It was a very bright and early morning today. I am looking forward to some sleep very soon! We scheduled a tour pick-up for 7:30 a.m. It seemed a little pricey, but I wasn’t going to try to figure out how to get up the mountain to see the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer.
We were met in the lobby of the hotel by Carmen. She is a lifetime, self-proclaimed “liver” of Rio. She explained to us that the name for people who are born and raised in Rio is “Carioca.” She showed great interest in the history and beginning stories of Rio. Things became a little strange when we told her that we were just fresh off of a trip to Antarctica. We were thrilled to learn, from Carmen, all about the supposed pyramids that have been discovered there. We tried to explain to her that we were just visiting the continent and didn’t see such thing. Oh… but the story just didn’t end there. I was puzzled and honestly was starting to feel a little shorted by my folks at National Geographic! How dare they not show us the pyramids? ;)
Carmen was very pleasant and her English very clear – which was a big positive. The Portuguese language has been super funny, sometimes difficult and confusing to us. We aren’t sure if it wants to be Spanish, French or Italian. I have completely quit trying and have accepted my “American” roots while always trying to be polite.
Carmen was on the spot with our very small photographic windows. Within a minute of ascending to the statue, fog began to magically appear as if we were in a movie. She told us to quickly pose – and she expertly snapped photos. Then, the giant statue began to disappear into the white, mystical haze. We were literally in the clouds – with nothing to see. I cannot lie; it was a little disappointing. I hadn’t looked at my photos at that point and felt sad. I had traveled all this way to see one of the new wonders of the world – and it vanished! I was very happy to see later that Carmen captured wonderful photos. I can relive it over and over. We really only saw the stature for less than 2 minutes!
This is what we saw RIGHT AFTER this photo was taken! Courtesy of Mr. Sanders. That white stuff is where the statue is SUPPOSED to be!
We then made our way to Sugar Loaf. It is a mountain that soars from the waters off of the shore of Rio. You take a cable car to get up to the mountain. On our way, we learned more about Carmen. She travels and loves it. She has been to many places in the United States. One particular story involved her capturing “orb-like energy” in photographs while she was visiting New York City. There was not point in debating her at this juncture. Mr. Sanders already thought I was pushing it when I challenged her about the pyramids in Antarctica. I was so close to asking her about aliens that have crashed there. Mr. Sanders would have abandoned me for sure. If you take a moment to Google these things, please know that there are NOT Aliens, Orbs or Pyramids in Antarctica. Carmen is just a little weird although very well experienced in giving tours.
Back to Sugar Loaf… It was lovely. There were cute Marmosets monkeys climbing all around and entertaining the folks. The climb up the cable was steady and quick with 2 levels of climb switching from one rock formation to the other. Daring climbers were scaling the vertical mountainside; I wondered if National Geographic were here if they would make us rappel the steep slope. If you sat long enough, you would be sure to find reptile life, blending into the rocks in which they sat. All of this, of course, was bathed in new fog coming through.
It was a fun day and evening as we ended sitting on the beach of Copacabana with one of Mr. Sander’s old roommates from New York City. His friends were all 20 years younger than Mr. Szymanski. It was fun to feel like I was in college again. We laughed and enjoyed watching the sunset, taking in the ambiance of Rio. Waves were crashing, and people were fishing off the shore. The sky setting in the night was replaced by the reflection of the hotels and buildings on the oceanfront. Sometimes, you just have to take a big breathe and take it all in!
You know that you wanted to see a photo of Carmen! I don't see any orbs or aliens. Do you?
I know that many of you are celebrating a visit from a jolly, old man in red right now. Regardless of what holiday you celebrate! Wishing you a wonderful, and safe holiday season! May the orbs and pyramids be with you!
Today marks the official relaxation period for Mr. S. and Mr. Sanders. Yesterday had pretty heavy toll on us. The morning was lovely with a walk through the park and then we made our way to the airport. Getting in to the hotel at 9 p.m. just made us want to relax.
We woke up and decided to experience the life of Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. Immediately stepping out of the hotel, brought a strong burst of sunlight across our skin – little hot tingles combined with a new humidity set the stage for the day. It was hot! We made our way across the street to hotel’s beachfront. The sand was burning hot; you had to wear shoes to get into the water. The water was calm and allowed for many people to rent SUP’s (Stand-up Paddle Boards) into the evening. Many snoozes and dips into the water later, I felt the urge to go for a long walk down Ipanema’s shoreline.
Copacabana beachfront is one of the most famous in the world. It is located in the South Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro. There are two forts at the ends of Copacabana to protect the people from the many pirates taking advantage of the many islands and coves around the bay. Fort Copacabana was built in 1914 and Posto Seis and For Duque de Caxias was built in 1779. Walking down the beach was fun with lots to see! The promenade is paved with black and white Portuguese pavement in a geometric wave. Many people, including Mr. S. at times, walked down this pavement when it wasn’t too hot.
There is so much life on the beachfront. People play volleyball and also a kind of “football/volleyball” with their feet. It was so amazing to see young and old pass volleyballs between them without their hands! Walking down more will bring you to a musical event or two – perhaps a Jewish celebration or local musician playing for the passersby. It has to be noted that it is absolutely true that the people of Rio are beautiful – stunning actually.
As we decided to walk back to the hotel to get ready for dinner, Mr. S. and Mr. Sanders came across a school getting out. There were hundreds of children who were liberated from school. Each student had a special present that they received from school. You could see the excitement in their hearts as they showed their new gift to their friends and family. It made me miss my kids even more!
Tomorrow should be a fun day. We plan to go to see the Christ the Redeemer statue and tour up a cable car ride to Sugar Loaf! We are so excited and thrilled to be here! Bom Nuit!
So, to begin, I have to say that the hotel we stayed in Buenos Aires was quite nice; everywhere you turned the staff was helpful and made every effort to make you happy. Mr. Sanders and I were excited to have more than 3 feet of space between us! Our cabin on the ship was tight. We had two T.V.’s, a chaise lounge, desk and an enormous bed! Our flight leaving to go to Rio was in the afternoon; so, we had time.
We took advantage of the breakfast offered at the hotel and then decided to meander around the district, exploring a little before our 1 p.m. pickup to go to the airport. It was a lovely day in Buenos Aires. The temperature was about 80 degrees without any humidity. We made our way to a local park area in the Recoletta district. There was a little city of booths being setup with people selling their crafts, handmade treasures and some occasional food. It is a good thing that they were setting up because I seem to like looking at that kind of stuff. J The hotel (Melia) agreed to hold on to all of our arctic wear so that we could travel with only our summer things! Even if I wanted to buy things, I really couldn’t. There isn't room in our summer bag!
We made our way over to an impressive building – it looked kind of like the Museum of Science and Industry. Big. Columns on the perimeter. Old. Dirty. It was impressive, though. It had a presence as if to say, “I am here and pay attention!” It was the Buenos Aires School of Law. Further down there was a giant sculpture that Mr. S. needed a photo with. It was a giant lotus flower, silver and in the same style of “The Bean” in Chicago. Another cheesy photo opportunity lead me to posing like one of the strange advertisements that we saw all over the street. People seemed to have strange facial expressions to sell something as simple as a sell phone. Perhaps, I was in a silly mood. There was a photo in our lobby above the headboard from Eva Peron’s bed when she lived in the apartments in the hotel.
Walking down the street, we hear someone say, “I hear English, you must be American.” Can you believe that after chatting with the couple, we found out that they are friends with a pair that we met on the voyage to Antarctica? The woman of the couple is a travel agent in the states and had a ton of business cards for us for tour opportunities in Rio! What luck! We haven’t really planned what we are going to do here yet.
We wanted back to the hotel, stored our luggage and found our driver waiting for us as promised. Again, all of the people have been so nice and follow through with what they say they are going to do.
The flight from Buenos Aires to Rio was smooth and quick. The three and a half hour flight brought us to Rio around 7:30 “Buenos Aires Pacific Time.” Coming into the city, you could immediately tell the difference in geography. We flew over water for most of the flight. It was exciting to finally see land. The view offered mounding green hills with almost river like veins surrounding each mound. Things were very green and not as if chards of giant pieces of chocolate were rising out of the earth. After going through customs without a problem, we found a taxi and arrived at the Sofitel Copacabana. The hotel is fantastic. Great service. Pretty top notch.
We ate at the hotel, relaxed and enjoyed the soft, warm breeze of Rio from the hotel’s restaurant patio. Our hotel overlooks the south end of Copacabana. I see beautiful beaches, calm waters and paddle boarders as I write this. We have five days here – so some relax time is planned! Though, you know Mr. S. I will be looking to do some wild and adventurous things as usual!
The morning, as usual, began with every too early “Good morning, Good morning.” However, this time, it was a little different. It was our last morning wakeup call from the Expedition Leader. She was gentle in stirring the boat to get everybody up, to the kitchen and off the boat to begin the last parts of our expedition.
After breakfast, we all scurried about getting our bags in place to be picked up. Boarding the buses, we all began to realize this was all coming to an end. It was a very bittersweet moment. We were so proud of the things that we had done, seen and feats conquered that we never thought we could begin. There was a planned tour at the Ushuaia Jail and Military Prison. This was a very somber experience. The jail was originally started in 1896. Argentine prisoners and political “offenders” were brought there to actually build their own prison. It was thought of as the “Siberia of Argentina.” Walking into the complex, it became clear that it was a place that no one ever wanted to set foot in. Cells were so very small – 4 foot by 4 foot square. Originally, there were supposed to be two men to a cell. Capacity in the prison was twice the original plan; four men to a small cell does not seem humane.
The lighting dark and you could imagine the dread that a former inmate would have walking down the dark, tile floor. There was a putrid smell that seeped through the air creating staleness with every breath. Heaters that were in place clearly could not do the work needed to provide basic heating conditions. Jail it just depressing. It is a good thing that the Argentine government made this facility a museum and no longer uses it.
After finishing up the tour, the group made its way to a coffee shop in a nearby hotel as we waited to make our way to the airport. There was a jewelry store attached to the hotel that was handing out cards where we could get a free penguin charm. Many of the people of our group were collecting their free token when I saw a couple looking at a beautiful gold necklace that had a sophisticated, artisan craftsmanship to it. I admired it and could not hold myself back. Most of you don’t know that I formerly worked in the jewelry business, and admire quality pieces when I see it. I, of course, butted my nose into their private viewing and gave them my thumbs up – it was just spectacular! I was beside myself when the wife approached me when we were boarding the bus. She said, “Tom, every time I wear this piece I will always, always think of you. Your voice helped us make the decision to purchase the piece. It will be something that I wear, my daughter wears and the children beyond.” It was a touching moment to accidentally be a part of someone’s surprise commemorating our triumphs over the white continent.
Mr. Sanders and I had a relatively calm flight back to Buenos Aires. Tonight, we are staying in a hotel that is the former residential site of Eva Peron – a very famous political and social figure in Argentina. I am so excited to begin the tropical portion of our adventure and share those experiences with you! Rio is next on our list. It promised to be full of new experiences and cultural learning!
First, I need to say hello to my Lovebugs. I miss all 33 of you very much! I am so happy that you have continued to follow me during this time. I think of you every minute and know that this is your last day of school! I am very excited for you. Truly, I wish I was there to give each one of you a hug and a special wish for a safe, warm holiday season with your families.
The journey on the waters have been much kinder to us this go around. We are all pretty thankful on the boat for the ease of crossing and the approach of the South American Continent. The sea birds soaring around or vessel have changed in size and variety. This more temperate climate obviously brings different kinds of life for us to experience. Waking in these waters sounds an almost startling boom every so often as the waves crash against the sides of the ship. When waking from a deep slumber, it almost sounds like bombs exploding – some close against the side of the ship and far off in the distance as if they are miles way.
This morning, we approached the southern tip of South America. As we approached the Cape of Horn, we were reminded that we were not going to Chile as their coastal authorities contacted the ship and asked us not to come closer to their borders. Still, the captain was able to bring us closer and closer to get photos documenting our journey to this noteworthy point on the globe. The landscape had steep, jagged cliffs rising out of the seawater with deep burn sienna rock formations and green foliage; surely, we were no longer on the white continent! Dr. Johansen kindly let me have another photo opportunity as we came upon the Cape.
After lunch, Mr. Sanders and I tied up some of our obligations on board with the videographer. A montage of interviews, video clips and images will be woven together to provide interested parties our reflection of such an awesome experience. I deeply am grateful for such an opportunity from National Geographic and Lindblad expeditions. This has pushed me professionally and personally in so many ways. I never could have dreamed about the things I have been able to do. I have climbed up cavernous snow banks, sunk to my thighs in soft, yet heavily packed snow, jumped into water that was below the freezing point and bore witness to the remarkable behaviors of a bounty of animal life in a world where we often think that life barely exists. It exists and is thriving!
Tonight, we made our way back to Argentina through the Beagle Channel. In 1839, Captain Robert FitzRoy published his voyage of H.M.S. Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826-1836. For the first time, the world learned about the discovery of the Beagle Channel. The narrative described South America and the Beagle’s circumnavigation of the globe. On board was a young Charles Darwin, who went on to develop the theory of evolution based partially on observations he made in South America. These protected waterways of the southern tip of South America were stark contrast to the black and white landscapes of Antarctica, with the first trees seen since we left. When we looked every so closely, we could see Condors soaring against this impressive backdrop.
This post is a kind of recap from yesterday’s evening and today. Last night, we had an amazing opportunity. I have neglected to talk about some of the fascinating individuals that have been shipmates with me on this journey.
Everywhere I turn there are people from all over the world: San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, Florida, New York, Switzerland… the list goes on and on. Early on, Mr. Sanders and I were sitting on our cabin floor going through some materials. In walked a gentleman that we had chatted with earlier in the day. He mentioned something about Lucy – both of us were a bit confused. As the days passed, this conversation became much more clear. Our visitor was Dr. Don Johanson – the world-renowned man who discovered the link between humans and primates. Over the past 10 days, we have dined together, chatted and been on many expeditions together. It is amazing to have been able to really get to know someone who had changed the way we define the world today. Dr. Johanson treated all of the guests to a lecture tonight, telling his story about his discovery of Lucy. Funny enough, there is even a stronger connection! Dr. Johanson has been travelling with his fiancé, Leslie Iwerk. She is the granddaughter of a pioneer in cinematography, technology and animation when Walt Disney was just getting started. Leslie’s grandfather and father both have won Oscars. Leslie, without a doubt, will join such prestigious company has she has been nominated in herself! Leslie is kind, gracious and giving – immediately wanting to talk to me about her family history and how it is intertwined with the Disney legacy. What an evening this was! It is hard to explain what it is like to be surrounded by the perfection of our planet and meet people whose lives continue to shape it!
Today, we have set back to the Drake Passage. The familiar feeling of the ship’s rocking has returned. Ropes have been tied along the walkways to help us when our penguin-like waddles require some extra balance.
The morning featured two lectures from the National Geographic/Lindblad staff. First, we had a lecture from National Geographic photojournalists Cotton Coulson and Sisse Brimberg. The pair offered insight into their lifework: creating a story through the art of photography. After that, we were fortunate to experience the wisdom and insight of Eric Guth, certified photo instructor and naturalist from Lindblad Expeditions. Eric presented the second part of his lecture series that has a unique and creative perspective on the wondrous, organic nature of ice formations.
After lunch, Mr. Sanders and I were very lucky to be given an exclusive tour of the engine room by the Chief Engineer and our mentor Eric Guth. The complexity and harmony of the millions of parts working in concert flew our minds. As we made our way through the metal caverns, we found ourselves in the waster management area. Every day, the shipmates sort EVERY piece of trash into 17 categories with the purpose of recycling. A few steps further brought us to the water purification area where all consumable water is made by these complex machines from seawater! We are the only two guests aboard who have had this different kind of expedition. We were lucky to have guides; there was no way we could get out on our own!
The waters, while full of movement, are much easier than our original passing. The guests seem to be much more comfortable walking across a moving floor. We are professional now! The photos posted today are from different spots in our voyage. Enjoy!
Mr. Szymanski is a 7th Grade Math, Reading and Writing Teacher at Gary Elementary school in Chicago, IL He is bringing the world to his classroom with the help of National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions. Here, he chronicles his adventures to Antarctica and South America in December 2014.