Tag Archives: Antarctica

THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA: A journey with a purpose

Join us in our journey to the whitest, driest, coldest, windiest continent on earth, February 2020.

THIS EXPEDITION JOURNEY IN BRIEF:

1. Perfect for first time visitors to Antarctica
2. Explore the highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula
3. Learn about the environment and wildlife from on-board lecturers and specialists
4. Experience abundant wildlife: penguins, seals, whales and more!
5.Become an Ambassador to help in spreading the message of protecting the Antarctica.

11 nights / 12 days

Trip Overview:
The 12-day Antarctic Peninsula voyage offers an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities as well as possible stops at active scientific or historic bases.

Detailed day wise itinerary

4 Feb 2020
Arrive  Ushuaia

Tuesday Arrive in Ushuaia anytime today, or take advantage of our complimentary flexible arrival program and arrive up to 24 hours in advance. You’ll be staying at the beautiful Arakur Hotel & Resort, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Today is all yours: explore some of the sights that Ushuaia has to offer, from museums to Argentinean leather markets, or continue relaxing at the lovely Arakur. Our optional evening briefing is a great opportunity for you to ask questions and to meet some of your fellow travelers.

5 Feb 2020
Embarkation
Wednesday After a complimentary buffet breakfast, you’re free to explore Ushuaia or unwind at the resort until our mid-afternoon transfer to the ship.

On board, you’ll be greeted by our Expedition Team and the Ship’s Officers. A concise safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the Captain’s welcome dinner. After dinner, relax and take in the scenery on our early evening sail through the Beagle Channel, past Magellanic Penguin, Rock Cormorant, and Sea Lion colonies.

6 and 7 Feb 2020
Crossing the Drake Passage
Thursday and Friday As we make our way ever closer to the white continent, numerous Polar Experts will prepare us with presentations on everything Antarctic, from wildlife to history. Eventually, we’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where we’ll notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the waters of the Antarctic Ocean.

Those interested in Citizen Science can take part in Sea Bird sighting surveys, or help collect salinity samples and weather data along the way. We’re likely to witness some spectacular sights, from icebergs to an array of seabirds and whale species. If we’re lucky, we may see some of them fully breach from the sea.

8 and 9 Feb 2020
South Shetland Islands
Saturday and Sunday In the waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula, we will hope to make as much time as possible to explore by inflatable Zodiac boats and marvel up close at nature’s glory. Our Expedition Leader and Captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. We will aim for the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas, as well as sites of historic and scientific interest.

Our first sight of land will likely be that of the South Shetland Islands. These highly volcanic islands offer amazing abundance and beauty. We may visit Half Moon Island nestled inside Livingston’s eastern shore, or conditions permitting visit historic Deception Island. Being further north, sub-Antarctic species are more commonly found here, including Chinstrap penguins and Southern Elephant seals.

10 to 12 Feb 2020
Antarctica
Monday to Wednesday As we head south across the Bransfield Strait, we enter the Trinity Coast and Gerlache Strait. Here we may explore picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the Humpback whale favored Wilhelmina Bay,the striking Lemaire Channel, the wildlife-filled Penola Channel, or the majestic Neumayer Channel. We may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy as well as a historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or Wordie House.

Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins abound, and Weddell and Crabeater seals are often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard seals and the assertive Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and Humpback whales are frequent visitors in the late season and Orca sightings are also common.

13 and 14 Feb 2020
Crossing the Drake Passage
Thursday and Friday As we leave this magical place and make our way north, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage, we will continue our presentation series and wildlife spotting. Sailing back to Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, we celebrate the conclusion of our expedition with a special slideshow.

15 Feb 2020
Disembarking at Ushuaia
Saturday Morning disembarkation lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure.

10 Places on Earth that Feel Like Outer Space

 

Himali Singh Soin writes about ten places on Earth that feel like outer space. This article was originally published by vice.com. Images by Himraj Soin.

Like every child, I wanted to touch the moon, wear stars on my face and blow bubbles into supernovas. Growing up on a diet of David Cronenberg and Star Wars movies, it always felt like the stars were so close and yet so far. But, like you, I soon learnt that the stars aren’t what they seem. They’re just hot, dying stones instead of lit masses of wonder. So I decided to go in search of the most distant, faraway and paranormal places on this planet instead.

I stocked up on warm jackets, cool hats, canvas, wool, muslin and rope, waterproof cameras and barometers. A plane, a train, a bus, a boat and a yak later, and I was at the peripheries of the planet. There, I found breathtaking views, monolithic outcrops, and vegetation that looked like something from another world. But I was on Earth, held by the same blue sky, feeling like I’d travelled light-years away.

If you want your Instagram to look like Nasa’s ISS feed, then check out these 10 landscapes on Earth that could definitely belong to other planets.

Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, Mongolia

This is an arid region in which traces of dinosaur eggs and fossils have been found. Rocky outcrops look like fallen meteorites that have been flattened and smoothened over time. From the top, the semi-desert steppe is solitary and the only signs of life are rare sightings of the elusive wild Argali sheep in a ravine or an abandoned mine.

Tsingy and Baobabs, Madagascar

Disney aside, the raw romance of Madagascar makes for a perfect inter-galactic love story. The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is a UNESCO world heritage site, made of sharp limestone formations that seem to tear the sky open.

The upside down trees on Avenue de Baobab looks as if Calvin and Hobbes walked into the Jataka Tales, like currents of electricity, hanging on their own accord.

Sossusvlei and Damaraland, Namibia

Sossusvlei, which means marsh of no return, is a salt clay pan with burnt-camel thorn trees protruding out of the parched earth. The dunes are also covered in tiny shrubs growing in perfect circles, referred to by locals as ‘fairy circles’ because scientists have yet to learn the reason behind them.

Klip River Valley in Damaraland is the land of rhinos, the unicorns of the earth. Flanked by the Namib Desert in the west and the Kalahari in the east, it looks like a crater where tectonic plates rift and part in pleasant separation. The flat plateaus would make a perfect spot for a UFO landing.

Lamayuru, Ladakh, India

Referred to as ‘moonland’, the high altitude mountain desert is filled with mineral deposits. Its purple and teal hues, combined with the famous Lamayuru Monastery—known as the ‘eternal monastery’—carved out of the mountain, lends that divine sense of the grand unifying theory that everything is one.

Grey Glacier, Chile

At the southern tip of the Chilean Patagonia is a wall of warm blue ice, rising up as high as fifty feet, giving way to fjords, horns and glaciated valleys. To experience this sense of distance shortening, scale and sculpture is to experience the periphery.

Atacama, Chile

If Saturn was on Earth, here it is. In the driest, most uninhabitable part of the world, the stars look like sheet of silver and the sand is layered in snowy-looking salt. The meteorites found there help astronomers trace the beginning of the Big Bang, and here is where we can actually touch a thing that has burst through from outer space.

Mahabalipuram, India

In a small town in the state of Tamil Nadu this 5 meter wide, 250-ton round monolith has been precariously balanced on another rock for over a thousand years. Local residents quip that the rock is the god Krishna’s butter ball. It’s believed that at this spot the forces of this world give way to the mysterious, the miraculous and the marvelous.

Maras, Peru

Beside quinoa fields and hummingbirds and orchids, in one of Peru’s sacred Incan valleys there’s a stunning white natural stairway of evaporated salt ponds. It looks cold like Heaven (or Jupiter), and tastes like tears. Maybe it was a natural metaphor for the core, the source of things, like a lesson in the idea of the essence.

Borneo, Malaysia

You know those movies about alien plants from nearby galaxies colonizing us? In the deep rainforests of Kota Kinabalu’s forest reserve are the most bizarre and terrifying plants. Beside the giant meat-eating pitcher plant there’s a parasitic flower with leathery petals and no roots, no stems and no leaves. The Rafflesia is the world’s largest and most putrid smelling flower, one meter in diameter and blooms for about a week every year. As the forests dwindle, its status has changed from rare by nature to endangered by humans, but who knows, it may take over the world next week.

Lemaire Channel, Antarctica

The biggest tabular iceberg, over half a mile long and half a mile wide, broke off the Antarctic Larsen B Ice Shelf and is floating in the Antarctic Ocean. Climate change caused the complete collapse of this ice shelf in 2002, making it the largest disintegration event in 30 years. Witnessing a massive and heavy thing floating with only a third of its structure visible, inverts everything we know to be true. You feel a simultaneous sense of beauty and alarm from seeing it.

This article was originally published by vice.com. Images by Himraj Soin.

Scientists Discover Huge Cavity in Glacier - Ibex Expeditions

Antarctica Matters: Scientists Discover Huge Cavity in Glacier

Scientists Discover Huge Cavity in Glacier - Ibex Expeditions

Scientists recently discovered a massive cavity under Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier. The cavity is a result of rapid melting of ice, according to NASA.  The Thwaites Glacier has been considered unstable by scientists. The discovery of the underwater cavity could cause a rapid decay to the glacier. The cavity itself is two-thirds the area of Manhattan and about 1000 feet tall. It is big enough to hold about 14 billion tons of ice, most of which melted in three years, say researchers.

Rising sea levels are caused by melting of ice sheets, and thermal expansion of the oceans. A NASA press release stated that the melting of the glacier is responsible for 4 percent of the world’s rising sea levels.

Source: The New York Times.

Keeping the urgency to protect this pristine land in mind, we at Ibex Expeditions, in partnership with Polar Latitudes, will be taking our second expedition to Antarctica in March this year. Led by artist and explorer Himali Singh Soin, this journey with a purpose is meant to turn all participants into Antarctica Ambassadors, pledging to support all causes related to preserving the big white continent.

Previously, our Antarctica journey has been supported by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO), Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Skal International, and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Racing To Cross Antarctica - Ibex Expeditions

Antarctica Matters: Racing to Cross Antarctica

Racing To Cross Antarctica  - Ibex Expeditions

Two adventurers are attempting to cross Antarctica alone, without support, without being resupplied by food, or assisted by any means of transport other than the power of their legs. If either or both succeed, they will be the first to do so. No one has been able to cross Antarctica on foot, unsupported, yet.

The two adventurers are attempting this feat separately, and couldn’t be more different than each other.

Lois Rudd is a 44-year-old British Army captain. He wishes to slide into the record books, tracking two other British explorers—Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton.  Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole in 1911. Ernest Shackleton wrote that “there remained but one great main object of Antarctic journeyings — the crossing of the South Polar continent from sea to sea”. 

Mr. Rudd is a grizzly British Army adventurer, carrying hot chocolate powder, dried porridge, along with the rest of his kit.

The second explorer is a 33-year-old American mountaineer and explorer—Colin ‘O’ Brady. Mr. Brady is a chiselled professional triathlete-turned-mountaineer. He has over 70,000 Instagram followers, a YouTube channel, and brought his own custom-made energy bars called Colin Bars.

While for Mr. Rudd the reason for taking on this journey is a personal one, Mr. Brady wants to win the race, and make history. 16 people have attempted to cross Antarctica so far. All failed. Waiting to see what happens now.

Source: Financial Times

We are going on an epic voyage to this expansive continent in March 2019. The journey aims to create ambassadors for Antarctica, who will pledge to protect and preserve the region from exploitation of all kinds. Check this link for more details of the journey, and send in your enquiries to us at ibex@www.ibexexpeditions.com

 

UPDATE: Colin O’Brady eventually won the race in 53 days. For more, read this BBC story.

Antarctica Matters

Antarctica Matters: Scientists Discover Graveyard of Continents Beneath Ice

Antarctica Matters - Ibex Expeditions

Antarctica has been called the least understood continent of Earth. Recently, data from a discontinued European satellite reveals that the ice sheet beneath eastern Antarctica is a graveyard of continental remnants. The research, led by Jörg Ebbing, a geophysicist at Kiel University in Germany, reported their discovery earlier this month in Scientific Reports.  They created 3-D maps of the southernmost continent’s tectonic underworld and found that the ice has been concealing wreckage of an ancient supercontinent’s spectacular destruction. The pieces may have been assembled a billion years ago, when the supercontinent Rodinia was built, or as recently as 500 million years ago, when another supercontinent, Gondwana, came together. Either way, what has been found beneath Antarctica is part of what’s left after Gondwana’s dissolution, around 160 million years ago.

Why is this important to know? Because knowing the rock that sits beneath the largest ice sheet in the world will help understand global warming, as subglacial geology influences how ice shifts as the climate changes.

Source: The New York Times

We are leading a journey to Antarctica in March 2019. Send us an email at ibex@www.ibexexpeditions.com to find out more about this epic voyage. 

Antarctica Matters - Journey With A Purpose March 2019 - Ibex Expeditions

Antarctica Matters—Join Us On Our Journey with a Purpose March 2019

Antarctica Matters - Journey With A Purpose March 2019 - Ibex Expeditions

Antarctica has always been a land held with intrigue. The whitest, driest, coldest, windiest continent on earth was collectively decided to be preserved by twelve countries, including Russia, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Chile, Australia, and the United States.

The Antarctica Treaty System was signed in 1959, and an environmental protocol was added to it in 1998.  It states that Antarctica is to be a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science,” and prohibits all activities relating to Antarctic mineral resources, except as is necessary for scientific research. But the treaty is not set in stone. In 50 years’ time, 1948, the part of the treaty that prohibits mining and resource extraction could come under review.

Meanwhile, climate change is playing its part. One of its largest glaciers was splintered off sometime last year, while its sea ice is shrinking at a rapid pace. Recently, scientists, discovered a whistling sound coming from the Ross ice shelf, which many scientists are linking to the decreasing ice. Krill, the main food source for all wildlife of Antarctica is also reducing at a fast pace.

Keeping the urgency to protect this pristine land in mind, we at Ibex Expeditions, in partnership with Polar Latitudes, will be taking an expedition to Antarctica in March 2019. Led by artist and explorer Himali Singh Soin, this journey with a purpose is meant to turn all participants into Antarctica Ambassadors, pledging to support all causes related to preserving the big white continent.

Previously, our Antarctica journey has been supported by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO), Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Skal International, and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Our journeys are never without their share of fun of course! You will witness wildlife you can perhaps only witness in Antarctica. There might be times when you feel like you are on another planet, as is beautifully explained by Himali Soin in this essay titled “Voyage to a White Mars”. There might be a moment when you feel an urgent need to take a dip into the icy cold water, as Himraj Soin had while on his journey described here. 

Join us in our mission to preserve Antarctica.

Details of the journey here: https://www.facebook.com/events/254332385079622/

Email us at ibex@www.ibexexpeditions.com for more details.