"Traveling to Antarctica was transformative - it's nothing like you have ever seen or would ever see anywhere else in the world. It has humbled me to the core, made me more conscious of climate change and the delicate yet powerful connection we have with a part of the world which is so far away from any civilization yet we depend on it for survival"
1. Become an Antarctica Ambassador
Each of our expeditions to Antarctica are accompanied by a team which includes researchers, scientists, conservationists and explorers who have dedicated their lives studying Antarctica. While our mission is for each and every one of us to enjoy the beauty which Antarctica offers, we also take every opportunity to educate our travellers with the ecosystem of Antarctica. The scientists claim that the four The White continent, locked in its four-kilometre-thick ice sheet, is key to understanding how our world works and holds a unique record of the Earth’s climate over a million years ago. Thanks to the scientists at British Antarctic Survey, we were made aware of the hole in the Ozone layer above Antarctica due to the damage done by us to our environment. Becoming one of those ambassadors of Antarctica is not only helping us protect the world’s last wild frontier but also helps advances in research for our scientist to learn more about the planet and our galaxy.
2. Visit the Research Bases
The entire setting seems like you are at the sets of one of those Hollywood classics, could be one of James Bonds’. While we get to visit some of the active bases, we also come across some abandoned shelters or remains of what once used to be a part of the bases - mostly serving us museums now. Of course, the history of Antarctica is engulfed by early Polar explorers like Shackleton, Amundsen, Clark, among others. One of the lesser-known highlights we feel is visiting these bases - More than 29 countries have established their bases across the continent and on our expeditions, we get to visit a few depending on weather and logistics to ensure our visits are non-disturbing and welcoming. Currently, there are around 35 permanent research stations in Antarctica. During the peak season there could be as many as 1000-1200 members living in Antarctica. Two of the most popular bases that we try and visit on our expeditions are -
Ukrainian Base - Vernadsky which was named Vladimir Vernadsky, a mineralogist. The station boasts the world's southernmost bar and you get to enjoy some Antarctica brewed Ukrainian Vodka if you are lucky to be there at the right time. It is one of the most interesting research bases to visit with its little bar, OPD, laboratories and of course the basic amenities required for human life.
Argentine Base - Brown Station, built in 1955 has been a key contributor to various scientific studies in Antarctica. However, in the 80's the base was burnt down by a scientist who couldn't bear the thought of spending another winter in the cold continent. The base was rebuilt a few years later to only function as a summer base and locked in winter months. Located close to a Gentoo Penguin colony the base offers a great view point of these beautiful birds.
3. Antarctic Churches
Traced back to Norwegian whalers, there is an old saying, “below 40 degrees south there is no law and below 50 degrees south there is no God”. For those sailors crossing the Wild Drake in days when we didn't have the sophisticated vessels as today, this might be what the sailors felt. Thus, it is not surprising that one would find a good handful of churches and places of worship scattered across the White Continent.
Trinity Church on King George Island: Carved out of Solid wood, Trinity Church is the southernmost Orthodox church in the world. The structure was built in Russia and transported to its current location on King George Island near Bellingshausen Station, Russia's permanent outpost in Antarctica. The church performed its first wedding between a Russian and Chilean researcher in 2007.
Chapel of Santa Maria Reina de la Paz at the Chilean Base Pte Eduardo Frei: Not far from the Trinity Church at Chilean Military Base lies the chapel of Santa Maria Reina de la Paz. Built from shipping containers scraps, the chapel is an interesting piece of architecture and is fairly active for its religious ceremonies which are delivered by a Deacon who lives on the Chilean base.
Chapel of the Snows at US McMurdo Station: One of the earliest churches in Antarctica, Chapel of the Snows is located in Ross Island. Built in 1956 as a Christian non-denomination church, the building burnt down in 1978 to only reopen 11 years later. Interestingly, the chapel has hosted services from various faiths such as Baha'i Dharma and Buddhism and has also had non-religious groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
San Francisco de Asis Chapel at Argentinian Esperanza Base Station: Esperanza Station is one of the two locations on Antarctica where there are actual civilians living with their families in Antarctica. In fact, the first human being to be born in Antarctica, Emilio Marcos Palma was baptized in this chapel in the year 1978. That very year a wedding ceremony was also performed in the chapel.
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