Mother Nature Decides Our Course Today!

Mother Nature Decides Our Course Today! 

Orne Harbour, Continental Landing.

Lat: 64° 35’ S, Long: 62° 39’ W

Wind: 24 Knt SW, Temp: 1° C (4 PM)

Despite the best laid plans, Mother Nature ruled today!  The wind and currents moved lots of ice into the Neumayer Channel, which we were going to use to move toward Palmer Station (operated by the U.S.) today, and as usual, Greg was on top of the situation and worked with the captain to make alternative plans.  Take a look at the map below and follow the red arrows to find Wilhelmina Bay just about in the center of the map. Move just a bit south and west and you can locate Danca Island.  Those are our landing spots from yesterday.  I’ve also marked where Palmer Station is located.  We hope to visit Palmer Station in a few days.


As the ship headed toward the Dallman Bay and the Melchior Island group, once again ice blocked our way.


The red arrow on the top the left points toward the Melchior Island group.  The bottom arrow is Neumayer Channel where Greg was hoping we could sail through today. The middle arrow points to Dallman Bay, and where attention had shifted because we couldn’t sail south through Neumayer Channel.  Mother Nature had other plans…the ice was too thick to move through Dallman Bay.  Plan C went into effect.  Being flexible is always the rule of thumb in Antarctica.  Safety is paramount and sometimes plans change many times in one day.  Despite our changing plans, scenery did not disappoint us.  It continues to be spectacular everywhere we turn our attention!

Lots of sea ice in the photo below…


The extent of the sea ice was far reaching today…but Greg told us that a change in wind direction could alter this scene dramatically and quickly.


We spent the day with really important strategy and leadership work for Homeward Bound, with lots of breaks to go out on deck and get fresh air and take photographs.  I like the way each day has focused on leadership, strategic planning and science content.  Each day brings new learning, important discussions in small groups or with the entire Homeward Bound contingent, and time to personally reflect on how what we are learning will apply to our careers or life back home.

At about 5:30 pm the opportunity arrived to have a landing in Orne Bay, and short but steep hike up a snowy mountain.  I went ashore, hiked up a little way to a rock sticking out of the snow, plunked myself down and just sat and took it all in.  Massive glaciers spilled down the mountains to the sea, and we could hear the creaking and groaning of the glaciers…an indication that at any moment giant crevasses would give way and chunks of ice would topple into the water below.  Mountain tops looked like they were slathered in vanilla icing…thick and smooth.



My rock…I shared it with Sharna, another Homeward Bounder.  Notice the tiny specks (people) climbing the mountain today.  They all slid down the entire hill to return to the bottom…loved their squeals of laughter.  Personally, being able to sit and gaze out at the view was inspirational, and I loved having this time to reflect on the journey and the beauty surrounding me.


These are the mountaintops that looked like they were iced.  Can you imagine frosting that thick and smooth?


Here’s my view from the rock…pretty awesome.


After dinner we watched another one of our “Conversations with Global Voices” videos.  Tonight’s filmed guest was Bob Kaplan, famous Harvard professor of leadership and founder of a strategy called “the balanced scorecard.”  I like the fact that we’ve heard from various leaders in science and leadership through these videos.  The four adjectives Bob encouraged us to think about:  stretch, communicate, motivate, and inspire.  I do believe the Homeward Bound program is helping us with all of these things!

A few other important Homeward Bound initiatives took place today.  Below you’ll see a whole lot of plastic test tubes.  Each day we choose a bead to represent our feelings about that day.  At the end of the voyage we’ll have a little reminder of our emotional connection to this journey together.  I often use clear for ice and snow, blue for ocean, green for land, purple for joy, and I’ll be adding more before the trip is completed.


All of the Homeward Bound participants worked on project teams prior to this voyage.  I was part of the education outreach project team.  Today each team hung their poster to describe their work together.  Here’s ours…I love the way we used Antarctic animals as word clouds, to depict the strengths we bring to the program.


One of the other posters gave excellent statistics about the women on this journey, including age, geographic location, and concerns about participation in the Homeward Bound expedition.  This first graph below shows the range in age…from the 20’s to 60 years old (that would be ME and one other woman).  Over half of the women involved as participants in this inaugural voyage for Homeward Bound are the ages (or younger) than my own children.


It’s also awesome to see the breakdown of different nationalities represented in Homeward Bound.  Many of the Americans involved are currently working in Australia or other countries.


And, it was interesting to see the various concerns women had about participating in this expedition.  There was significant apprehension, but obviously we overcame those concerns and I am certain that everyone on this ship is thankful that they are part of this amazing Homeward Bound experience.


I will leave you with another favorite quote that sums up how I felt when I sat on the rock and spent a few quiet moments today with an amazing scene laid out before me.  My walk was short, my mindfulness of nature intense, and it renewed my spirit to take in the beauty of Antarctica.

“Take a quiet walk with Mother Nature.  It will nurture your mind, body, and soul.”   Anthony Douglas Williams



2 responses to “Mother Nature Decides Our Course Today!

    • You would have loved that test tube colored bead project. It was nice to reflect on our experiences each day…and which color represented our emotions for the day. I think that was a very cool project as part of our voyage!

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