Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ushuaia on the rocks

South - still dangerous.  I know enough to know that Antarctic tourists don't know what they don't know.  I know because I've capsized in a 60 mph summer squall off Kings Point.  I know that I can't imagine a 103 kt. hurricane in the waters of Wilhelmina Bay on the outer end of the Antarctica Peninsula.  And I know from hard grounding a chartered J-24 25 years ago that even in  the Penobscot Bay not every rock is on the chart.  

The 80 passengers on the cruise ship Ushuaia, on the rocks there, waiting for rescue by the Chilean Navy, know about the 103 kt. storm now as their ship lies impaled on the rocks with a hole in the hull, as this blog post explains.

I want to take photographs too with the steely grays of Frank Hurley, two of whose images -  from original negatives - are on my wall, relics of Ernest Shackleton's doomed Endurance.  I want to tie up to an ice floe like National Geographic Explorer's Endeavor does there regularly.

But I have come to the conclusion that we should not do Antarctic tourism - not unless you are really ready to take your chances in a lifeboat, or have what you need to spend a week on an ice floe, or camp out on an iceberg or an icy rocky shore without shelter beyond what you have on your back or your raft.  

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