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Whales

Environment, Travel

Antarctic Ambassadors

This is quite an introduction from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO):

‘Antarctica is a unique and one of the most perfectly preserved regions on the planet…. see how we work to keep it that way’.

IAATO

Since the first mainland Antarctic landing, thought to be by the sealer Captain John Davis on 7th February 1821 to the first tourist expedition in mid-1900’s there have and always will be, people who want to experience Antarctica. Initially it was the science, pursuit of knowledge and of course geographic claim that were the key reasons for making the treacherous journey to this remote land. With the Artic being more accessible and cheaper to reach, Antarctica escaped mass tourism until the 1900’s then this is what happened…

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Environment, Travel

Citizen Science Anyone?

And can you guess who Antarctica’s most beloved citizens are?

Do you know how difficult it is to get a good photograph of any part of a whale? Well you have to be lucky enough to see them in the first place of course and then have the camera ready just at that exact time they breach to capture that tail or fin. What I didn’t know before our Antarctica trip (2019) is that these whale photographs, capturing precious memories for each of the passengers, could make a much wider contribution….

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Environment, Travel

When a Gift to Yourself is a Gift to the Planet

Remember the very successful Charity Auction in July for both South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) and the UK Antarctica Heritage Trust (UKAHT)? There were some fabulous donations and some surprising ones – Four Seasons Maldives kindly donated 5 large Coral Frames to the auction! What’s the link? It’s kind of like connecting the dots – except with oceans instead! The Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean to be precise, they are joined – get out a map and check it out. But still the SGHT Team and Four Seasons ‘ummed and ahhed’ over whether the ‘ocean restoration and conservation’ association between these two distant places would result in auction bids for the frames. It did!

Curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to know the stories behind the like-minded people who successfully bid on the coral frames. Fortunately, they both agreed to let me share some insights….

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Environment, Travel

Has Anyone Asked the Penguins What They Think?

Protecting the Waters Around South Georgia – The Marine Protection Area Five Year Review is Underway

I’m currently reading Mensun Bound’s book, The Ship Beneath the Ice – his journal of the search and discovery of Shackleton’s sunken ship Endurance. He talks about Shackleton’s Men having to kill and eat penguins. Twenty-eight men and numerous dogs needed to be fed – with Emperor penguins mainly plus some Adelies. I liked what Bound said next:

‘We might wish to shield our eyes from the horrors of what Shackleton’s men did to those birds a hundred years ago, but what the modern world has visited upon them is infinitely worse. The way in which we have blighted and befouled their environment has disrupted their feeding patterns and breeding cycles to the extent that many of their nesting grounds on the west side of the Peninsula are now ghost rookeries. Were Shackleton alive today I have no doubt he would be a fervent environmentalist.’

It led me to ponder on the balancing act of ensuring the waters around South Georgia can sustain the teeming wildlife in it while fulfilling some of human kind’s seemingly insatiable appetite for fish!

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Environment, Travel

What a Juxtaposition!

South Georgia Heritage Trust’s Whale Conservation – Versus – Iceland Begins Whale Hunting as of 1st September 2023!!

This week marks the safe return of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Quest crow’s nest, to its home in the crypt of All Hallows by the Tower of London, following its exhibition travels to Athy, Ireland and Grytviken, South Georgia.

While we celebrate that return along with many of man’s GREATEST qualities that are to be found in the Shackleton endeavours, with an event that supports the continued conservation work of SGHT largely including whales, I can’t help but contemplate the juxtaposition of the Icelandic governments decision to go forward with the whale hunting this season, eliminating Fin whales in a most barbaric and cruel way. The WORST of man’s qualities around this decision!

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Environment

Antarctica. It’s Time to Act. NOW!

One of our most precious continents. Subject to and suffering from the increases in temperatures to both oceans and atmosphere. Such significant consequences to so much and so many, as sea levels rise and the Southern Ocean’s currents change with the ice melt from what is the planet’s greatest freshwater reserve.

This short ‘teaser’ film, showcasing the collapse of Antarctica is meant to draw your attention to the dramatic effects that are happening right now.

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Environment

Lets Celebrate the Return of the Whales, but Not Forget Our Past

Why the Grytviken ‘spirit tables’ sculpture is important – a visitors perspective!

Future generations cannot learn from history if we eradicate the visible signs and monuments – that’s my belief. Nothing was more pertinent and obvious to me in South Georgia. The juxtaposition of the beauty and extensive wildlife on its beaches and surrounding ocean, compared to the remains of the Grytviken whaling station, where we nearly wiped out entire whale species, is a case in point. This place has much visible evidence of human devastation on our wildlife. Combining the ‘then and now’ is tricky, but it seems ‘art’ might provide a solution – a way of expressing history, AND showing hope.

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