Preparing for Antarctica

Having got the whole Christmas thing out of the way the countdown is on to our ‘trip of a lifetime’.
Had I know how much the trip was going to end up costing I don’t think I could have justified it.  As a result I’m very glad I didn’t know, and that I have not felt the urge to add it all up.
People tend to ask the same questions when they hear about the trip.

Do you sail from Tasmania?

Actually the trip is to the Antarctic Peninsula which is much closer to the tip or Argentina that any part of Australia is to Antarctica’s east coast.

How many people will be on the boat?

The  Ushuaia has 84 passenger berths, and our photographic group numbers about 20 people so we will be well represented.

How cold will it be?

From what I’ve read we’re expecting most days to be between -5 °C and 5 °C. I’ll let you know if that was wrong when I get back.

Where are you going?

The list of islands on our predicted itinerary is;
South Shetland Islands and the western side of Antarctic Peninsula, Livingston Island, Half Moon Island, Deception Island (volcanic crater), Paradise Bay and Lemaire Channel (gigantic icebergs and huge cliffs).

Will you see polar bears?

Ah no, they only live in the Arctic with Santa. I wonder if that’s where the Claus (claws) part comes from… And before you ask, no, you won’t see penguins in the Arctic. Bears north, penguins south. Tigers in Asia, Lions in Africa. Dolphins aren’t fish.  You get the drift.

Have you got warm clothes to take?

It’s all about layers.  It is difficult to know if we have enough or even too much stuff.  We’ve been given advice by the kind folk from World Expeditions so hopefully we are on the right track. Even so, just how many pairs of socks do we need?

My packing list
  • Socks, thick thermal 3 pair
  • Socks, liner 2 pair
  • Polar buff (neck, head, balaclava) 1
  • Beanie 1
  • Ear warmers 1
  • Gloves, outer 1 pair
  • Glove liner 1 pair
  • Snow pants 1
  • Light weight trek pants 1
  • Waterproof outer pants 1
  • Gortex jacket 1
  • Down, long sleeved puffer jacket 1
  • Thermal leggings, 2 pair
  • Thermal top, long sleeved 3
  • Thermal top, short sleeved 1
  • Polar fleece vest 1
  • Polar fleece jacket 1
  • Underwear
  • Passport (with troublesome Brazilian visa for day trip prior to the Antarctic voyage)
  • Camera bodies x 2
  • Laptop
  • Portable hard drive x 2
  • ipad (because some hideous people introduced me the The Room and I will now have v2 and v3 to play on the plane)
  • Go Pro Hero with head strap
  • Chargers x aargh
  • Lenses (18-200, 70-200, 150-600)
  • Dry bags x 3
  • Aquatech weather shield
  • Spare batteries x 3
  • Memory cards (totaling 480GB)
  • Lens cleaner
  • Spider pro holster
  • Kindle (fully loaded)
  • Rain cover for camera backpack
  • Polarising filter (just in case)
  • iPhone fully loaded with Audible books for travel and down time
  • Card reader with cable
  • Photocopies of insurance, passports, itinerary, flight details
  • Reading glasses
  • Notebook
  • Pen
  • Travel adapter / power board
  • Sneakers for on board
  • Hiking boots for prior travels
Software
  • FastPictureViewer
  • Lightroom CC 2015
  • Open Live Writer so I can write blog posts even if I can’t actually post them
  • Canon camera manuals
  • Lynda.com courses for downtime
  • Zero Assumption Recovery software in case of emergency card failures
Things I’m leaving behind (with regret)
  • Penguin onsies
  • The dogs
  • Kitchen sink
  • Ug Boots
  • Playing cards
  • Many pairs of extra socks
  • More shoes
  • A Sherpa to carry all the stuff I AM taking