We are absolutely thrilled to tell you that Condé Nast Traveler features, in its July 2008 issue, a MAJOR seven-page article on a voyage to Antarctica with Travel Dynamics International aboard the Corinthian II. The piece, entitled “Love in a Cold Climate,” should be available online in about a week, so in deference to that esteemed publication, we won’t reprint the entirety of it here — and we strongly suggest that you leap to your nearest newsstand to check out the rapturous photos, enthusiastic guests, and tremendous experiences from writer Sue Helpern’s adventure — but we can relay that the article takes an excellent vantage point of observing Antarctica with reference to the effects of global warming. Ms. Helpern devotes much praise to Corinthian II and Travel Dynamics International’s staff. Here’s a glimpse:
A former Peace Corps volunteer and a graduate of Columbia University, Frick has been leading trips for a company called Travel Dynamics [International] for fifteen years. This is his twenty-fifth trip to Antarctica. He has been around long enough, and is savvy enough, to know that one unseasonably long summer, or two or even three, do not make a trend. But because Travel Dynamics specializes in what can be called intellectual adventures–arranging trips for the Yale Alumni Association or the Smithsonian, for instance, that bring naturalists and historians and experts of every stripe along for the ride–Frick is up on the science, too. That is what makes warm days like this one, and the image of four seals huddled on a shrinking mat of snow, seem like visions of the future. For here is the cruel paradox: Antarctica, which is as physically removed from human civilization as it is possible to be, is experiencing climate change more rapidly than any other place on earth.
Oh yes, there’s more. Much more. If you want a sublime sample of what a TDI trip is like, click here —>
Our habitat, meanwhile, could not be more congenial. Every room on the Corinthian II is a suite, every suite has a view, the bar is always open, and the library has picture windows and plush chairs and books you might actually want to read, if there was time. But from 7:30 am — when the dulcet voice of John Frick is broadcast into every room, noting the time, the geographic coordinates, the weather, our cruising speed, the wind speed, the water and air temperature, and the days events — there are places to go. There are lectures (explorer Bob Dobson talking about the 1946 American Antarctic expedition, when he was in charge of the sled dogs; naturalist Ken Wright discoursing on local birds; former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker speculating on the economy and the environment) and films (March of the Penguins, the BBC series Life in the Freezer) and food (the abundant breakfast buffet, tea time, boullion break, the even more copious lunch buffet, brandy sipping time, hot chocolate and cookies time, happy hour, pre-dinner little sandwich time, dinner, post-dinner little sandwich time).
And then there are the landings, twice a day — what we’ve really come for — when we don life vests, red parkas, and waterproof boots and pants, and head for the Zodiac rafts… Despite all the accoutrements of civilization — the Jacuzzi on the top deck and the turndown service at night — we are in a wild and unpredictable place.
She also writes about how our guests relate to what they’ve seen —
When scientists in nine countries working independently in the Antarctic pooled their date, they discovered that the kirll population in the waters surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula had dropped eighty percent since the 1970s. The food chain, they suggested, is on the verge of coming apart.
We talk about this among ourselves in the lounge, or in the tiny gym, or at meals. After six days at sea, despite our obvious differences — national, regional, professional, political — we are a congenial and inclusive group. We share stories, swap photos. We also voice concerns…are we not only among the first “civilians to set eyes upon Antarctica but also among the last to see it as it has been?