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Whales

Environment

Have You Heard About the Sargasso Sea?

Sargasso Sea Ecosystem and Why It’s So Important

I’m beginning to think I really should have tried harder in Geography at school! Why? Well, when a colleague mentioned the Sargasso Sea, I had absolutely no idea where it was or why I should be so interested in it. Let me tell you, since last week that has certainly changed. Whilst not claiming to have got anything close to being an authority on its importance, a chance invitation to an expert meeting, had me rubbing shoulders with some pretty key people that definitely are! Here’s what I learnt…

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Environment, Travel

How the ‘Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute’ Amplify Antarctica’s Challenges Through Art!

When we think about Antarctica, what tends to come to mind are penguins, whales, seals and of course, snow and ice but unless you have been able to see it for yourself, the vastness and brutality of its stunning scenery are hard to convey in photographs and indeed through paintings.

But that’s exactly what the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute (FoSPRI) annual ‘Artist In Residence’ scheme looks to achieve. Each artist, will have their own unique style capturing Antarctica or the Artic in ways we would not necessarily think about and opening our eyes to new perceptions.

As an FoSPRI member, we joined a preview evening in London of the most recent work and got to speak to the artist, Polly Townsend, first hand about how she transferred her experiences to canvas…

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Environment, Travel

Antarctica. A Life Changing Experience

After the success of our short film “It’s time to act. NOW“, we didn’t want to stop there! Continuing the collaboration with the various environmental organisations, we’ve produced a short documentary film that follows my life-changing voyage to South Georgia Island and Antarctica.

Join me as I share my journey and experiences in this very visual way, demonstrating how each of us can contribute to the preservation of our environment and the eco-systems that we are both part of and dependent upon….

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Environment

‘Audacious Goals’ May Save the Arctic Ice

Blink and you might have missed these news items….

My colleague and fellow adventurer to Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica, Brad Borkan – co-author extraordinaire ofAudacious Goals, Remarkable Results, writes about how an early explorer, a statesman and an engineer have shaped our current world by setting themselves audacious goals and not being put off by the naysayers!

He pointed out to me that we are seeing these audacious goals now in relation to the Arctic. We know the ice is melting. We know our wildlife – the bears, the seals, whales, foxes, birds – are suffering with the break up and disappearance of the ice shelves that they live, hunt and breed on.

BUT, things are happening! One or two humans are aiming high – audacious goals are needed to save the Arctic. Here is what we are seeing….

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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 is that these whale photographs – photos to follow in this blog – 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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