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 1st grade teacher at Walt Disney 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.