Archive for the ‘Antarctica’ Category

From November 21 – December 13, 2009, Travel Dynamics International will follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton, cruising to South Georgia Island, the South Orkneys, Elephant Island (where Shackleton climbed a mountain range following a 700-mile open-boat trip) and the Antarctic Peninsula. For a voyage of this magnitude, celebrating the impossible achievements of one of the world’s greatest explorers, it’s only fitting that a great explorer should accompany us. We have two.

Peter HillaryPeter Hillary made history in 1990 when he and his father, Sir Edmund Hillary, became the first father-and-son team to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. On another expedition, Peter blazed a new overland route to the South Pole. For more than 25 years Peter has challenged some of the most demanding, most dangerous environments on Earth: he is the first man to traverse the 3000-mile length of the Himalayas; he made the first ski descent of Mount Aspiring, known as “the Matterhorn of the Southern Hemisphere;” and he has participated in more than 38 mountaineering expeditions, including ascents of Mount Everest, K2, Makali West Pillar, and Mount Vinson, Antarctica’s highest peak. Peter holds a commercial pilot’s license, is a much-sought-after speaker, and is the author of eight books, most recently In the Ghost Country: A Lifetime Spent on the Edge.

dave-hahnDave Hahn holds the record for reaching the summit of Mount Everest—ten times (out of 14 tries), more than any other non-Sherpa climber. He has guided climbers to the summit of Mount Rainier 245 times, and led 25 attempts on Denali, reaching the summit 18 times. Dave also holds the world record for the Vinson Massif in Antarctica—he has reached the summit 25 times. In 2006 Dave led a team of professional athletes on an expedition to ski Mount Everest. In 1999 Dave participated in the expedition that recovered and identified the remains of explorer George Mallory, who died trying to scale Everest in 1924. A renowned expert on Ernest Shackleton, Dave has led seven expeditions to South Georgia Island and led trekkers overland on the “Shackleton Traverse,” which in 2004 won Outside magazine’s Trip of the Year Award. Dave shot high-altitude video for the PBS NOVA program Lost on Everest, and led the film crew into the mountains of Antarctica on a journey of discovery that resulted in the Emmy-Award-winning film, Mountains of Ice.

If you book this trip before JULY 9, you’ll receive FREE AIR TRANSPORTATION from Miami to Ushuaia, Argentina, economy class, on LAN Airlines. If you’d like to upgrade to business class, we can arrange that for you for just $2,500 more (availability limited). All guests on this trip will enjoy free limousine transportation from your home to the airport (if you live within 50 miles of your departure airport). Opportunities like this, with such illustrious travel companions, don’t come often, so we encourage you to download the brochure from our main site and give us a call at (800) 257-5767.

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On the CruiseCritic.com forums, user Winegirl writes:

Corinthian II vs Endeavor vs Polar Star-any first hand knowledge?

Spouse is 46 and I’m 57. I have long been a student of polar exploration and am planning a trip to see some of Antarctica–only, not Falkland Islands. Spouse can get away for only a couple weeks, so we are looking at 15 day or shorter trips. Various options called to our attention are: Corinthian II, 114 passenger all suite ship. Online information looks pretty appealing–a smaller ship option so hopefully more personal service, a lot of valuable inclusions. Not cheap but seems good value for price. Other option is NG Endeavor. NG name carries a lot of weight, but the prices are sky high and the overall accomdations look less appealing than the Corinthian II. Polar Star looks promising as well. Spouse likes space and luxury, but does not like snobs. We both love great food and wine, and have done some soft adventure travel, plus some backpacking in the Rockies. He is a real science and nature buff and I just want to visit the “last place on earth. I’d feel better about having an MD on board, just in case, although neither of us has medical issues. I’d like to have maximum options to go ashore, even possibly camp overnight ( I know some ships offer that option at times.) Being from Wisconsin, the weather will be relatively similar to our January/February weather–cold, damp, overcast, etc.

I am reluctant to book on any Russian ship (first hand experiences with Russian business practices leave us skeptical,) and ships that don’t allow you to use your credit card for the final payment (leaves you with less protection in the event of a default.)

Any feedback on any of these ships would be most appreciated!

User Harbor32 responded:
I was on a Corinthian II cruises to Antarctica in Feb 2007. We had one of the best crossings of Drakes passage (both directions), great weather and a totally wonderful trip. (more…)

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Now at Travel Dynamics International, for remarkably discounted rates, you can:

Voyage into the classical world with antiquities experts from Antiques Roadshow. Enjoy an epic cruise down the entire Pacific coast of South America, from the Panama Canal to Ushuaia. Explore the lives of famous women of antiquity. Take a once-in-a-lifetime repositioning cruise from Morocco to Patagonia, following the route of Magellan. Continue in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton with Peter Hillary, son of the first man to ascend Everest. Cruise the Falklands and South Georgia in the far southern Atlantic en route to Cape Town, South Africa. Discover South America from the Amazon to Uruguay. Take an astounding voyage along the entire Atlantic coast of Africa. Sail from coastal Brazil into the depths of the Peruvian Amazon. Or perhaps the Orinoco and Amazon, with the beaches of Trinidad? Delve into the rich cultures of the Western Mediterranean from Seville to Venice. Circumnavigate Newfoundland. Or cruise up the entire Atlantic coast of North America, from Palm Beach to the Canadian maritimes? Listen to exquisite music, and enjoy top-chef Mediterranean cuisine, from Seville to Naples.

The epic journeys you’ve been waiting for, available now for less.

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Preview Antarctica

Antarctica, a 40-minute feature film on the continent, animals and the scientists who work there, is available on streaming video from Hulu.com.

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This is a disclaimer. Just so you know what is, and what isn’t our responsibility. It is NOT OUR FAULT if you immediately book our sensational trip to Antarctica after clicking here. If you click here and you are not, nor have ever been, interested in cruising to Antarctica – yet are suddenly seized by an ineluctable desire to jump on board the Corinthian II and head to Antarctica – you have only yourself to blame.

Because if you clicked on any of the “here”‘s up there, or if you click down here, you’ll be redirected to THE MOST AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHS OF ANTARCTICA I’VE EVER SEEN. We can’t show them here, because they’re not ours, but I guarantee if you click here your heart will pound and your breath will stop and you will suddenly understand there’s no more beautiful place on Earth.

Oh yes. For your convenience, you can book that trip to Antarctica here.

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The Antarctic Peninsula will likely look different when we return to it this December-February, on our cruises aboard Corinthian II.

AFP is reporting that Wilkins Ice Shelf is “hanging by its last thread” to Charcot Island, one of the plate’s key anchors to the Antarctic peninsula.

“Since the connection to the island… helps stabilise the ice shelf, it is likely the breakup of the bridge will put the remainder of the ice shelf at risk,” a press release from the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

Wilkins Ice Shelf had been stable for most of the last century, covering around 16,000 square kilometres (6,000 square miles), or about the size of Northern Ireland, before it began to retreat in the 1990s.

Since then several large areas have broken away, and two big breakoffs this year left only a narrow ice bridge about 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles) wide to connect the shelf to Charcot and nearby Latady Island.

The latest images, taken by Envisat’s radar, say fractures have now opened up in this bridge and adjacent areas of the plate are disintegrating, creating large icebergs.

Scientists are puzzled and concerned by the event, ESA added.

The Antarctic peninsula — the tongue of land that juts northward from the white continent towards South America — has had one of the highest rates of warming anywhere in the world in recent decades.

But this latest stage of the breakup occurred during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, when atmospheric temperatures are at their lowest.

One idea is that warmer water from the Southern Ocean is reaching the underside of the ice shelf and thinning it rapidly from underneath.

“Wilkins Ice Shelf is the most recent in a long, and growing, list of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula that are responding to the rapid warming that has occurred in this area over the last fifty years,” researcher David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said.

“Current events are showing that we were being too conservative, when we made the prediction in the early 1990s that Wilkins Ice Shelf would be lost within 30 years. The truth is, it is going more quickly than we guessed.”

In the past three decades, six Antarctic ice shelves have collapsed completely — Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller and the Jones Ice Shelf.
The above images show the partial collapse of Wilkins Ice Shelf in late February/March, 2008; a chunk of ice seven times the size of Manhattan broke off during this event. Considering that Antarctica is now experiencing winter, it is highly unlikely Wilkins will survive in the Antarctic summer.

Sometimes travel brochures are hyperbolic when they say, “A once-in-a-lifetime event” or “see it now before it disappears!”

And sometimes they’re just telling the truth.

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As promised, Conde Nast Traveler is now featuring its superb article on TDI’s Antarctica trip, “Love in a Cold Climate,” on its website. Click above for the full text. Just the thing to chill you out on this steamy New York evening.

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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 —> (more…)

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If you are lucky, as you’re sailing with us aboard the Corinthian II in Antarctica, you might catch a glimpse of these absurdly beautiful banded icebergs. Formed by the pressurized compression of ice, plus rapid melting and re-freezing, they are truly stunning to encounter. Click here for some astonishing images.

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