Antarctica Trip Blog – Entry #1

by Robert Bush: October 15, 2015

I have been fortunate to have traveled to many wonderful places in this country and around the world.  Many of those travels could be considered adventures that were  a bit off the beaten path:   The three wonderful 10 day rafting trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon;  Last year’s trip to the amazing Galapagos Islands;   Several trips to Africa, including one to the Bwindi Inpenetrable Forest in the southern part of Uganda to see the mountain gorillas and another that included a canoe trip  dodging thousands of hippos on the Zambezi River.  (I have posted a few images from those trips below and you can click on the highlighted words to get to the images from those areas that are on this website.)

But I don’t think I have ever had the sense of  anticipation that I have with regard to my upcoming trip to Antarctica.   On October 24, I will begin a 4 week trip to Antarctica,   to the spectacular  South Georgia Islands – home of hundreds of thousands of King Penguins,  and to the Falklands Islands – where sheep graze alongside albatross colonies and penguin rookeries. In speaking with many people about this trip, it has become apparent that many people – and that includes me – only have a vague idea of what a trip to Antarctica would be like.    I have also heard a lot of different reactions about the trip  – “That is on the top of my wish list” to “Why in the world would you want to go?”  But whatever the reaction, almost everyone seems curious.

Because of the curiosity and interest in this trip, I have decided to write an Antactica blog report with regular reports on the trip, accompanied with photographs.  This is the first entry.  If you received an email with this post, you are on my list.  If you aren’t on the list and you wish to receive the blog, you can join by using the contact form at the bottom of this entry. If you are on my mailing list, you will get notifications about each entry.  (You can, of course, at any time unsubscribe from those notifications).  If you have any friends that you think might be interested, please forward them this entry and they can subscribe below.  And I encourage you to put the blog up on social media by using the links below.

I will try to keep the entries short, and I will try to include some photographs.  Internet access is intermittent along the way so entries may be a bit sporadic.

To start things off, here are a few thoughts about the trip.


On October 23, we fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina. After 5 days in Buenos Aires, we sail on the 100 passenger Sea Explorer (you can see a description of the ship by clicking here) for three weeks:   First we go to the Falkland Islands.  Then we are off to South Georgia Island. And just as a teaser – for you and for me – South Georgia Island is the home of literally millions of fur seals and king penguins and many who have gone there call it the most spectacular place on earth. (A good website that illustrates that amazing place is published by the government of the islands can be found here.)   Finally, we go to the Antarctic Peninsula.  The trip is with Wilderness Travel.  16 of the approximately 100 passengers on the boat will be part of a photography workshop led by renowned nature photographer Franz Lanting (  You can see the detailed itinerary of the trip here. 



In these days of the internet, the world sometimes seems like a small place.  When you leave the world of instant electronic communication, it turns out it is not as small as it seems.  Traveling to Antarctica certainly makes that clear.

Until I had signed up for this trip and looked at the itinerary,  I really did not have an idea of the remoteness of this area.   Consider the following (and you can follow most of this on the map): By the time we get to Puerto Madryn, Argentina on the southeastern coast of Argentina (it’s not on this map), which is  the departure point for Antarctica, we will be  6,278 miles south of Los Angeles.   We then spend  two full days at sea traveling southeast to our first stop, the West Falklands.  After spending two days in the Falklands, we then head southeast for two more full days to get to our next stop, South Georgia Island.  After four days in South Georgia, we then sail two more days south  to the Antarctic Peninsula.  When we get there, we will be about 2,000 miles south of Puerto Madryn – or about 8,000 miles south of Los Angeles.    When we leave Antarctica, we will be sailing north  625 miles  across the notorious Drake Passage to the town of Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina.









October and November is the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere.  Summer in Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island  is cold, but not unreasonably so.  Usually, high temperatures will be in the  20’s or 30’s, but temperatures can dip to zero.  Also, strong winds can make it seem colder.      It is definitely do-able –  with the right clothes.  What we have been told is that the key is “layers.” On the bottom, long underwear, fleece pants and waterproof pants..  On the top, the long underwear followed by a fleece and a warm jacket, all covered with a big red waterproof jacket that is given to us by Wilderness Travel. We will also be provided with big, waterproof  boots since we will usually have “wet” landing when we leave the boat and go ashore.  Of course, we have to bring a warm hat and some warm gloves. I have posted here a picture the clothes that  I have gathered for the trip.








Ok.  You do have to stay warm!  But how about the cameras?  For those of you who care, the following is the list of equipment that I am bringing.  This photo shows the equipment that I am bringing:  a Nikon D810 camera on a Gitzo tripod with a Really Right Stuff Bh-55 ballhead.  The lens on that camera is the Nikon 200-400 mm. F/4 lens.  On top of the camera is a Pixel Oppilas/RW-221 Wireless Shutter Remote Control.  On the ground from right to left is a Nikon D750 camera with a Nikon 70-200 f/4 lens;  a Nikon 1 AW 1 waterproof mirrorless camera; a Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 lens; a Nikon 16-36 f/4 lens; a Nikon 24 mm Perspective Control lens; and a Nikon 1.4 TCE teleconverter.    Finally, all of the cameras and lenses can miraculously be carried inside the Gura Bataflae 32L backpack. I will also be bringing back up batteries and battery chargers; plenty of memory cards; various filters, spare lens caps and tools; and various sizes of plastic bags for protection from water, snow or surf.



Last year when we visited the Galapagos Islands, we met a couple at a bed and breakfast that we were staying at in Quito, Ecuador.  They were the most traveled people I had ever met.  Any place I would mention they have been to multiple times.  West Africa? East Africa?  Russia?  China? The Arctic?  Greenland?  Iceland?  You name it, they had been there.  More than once.  And after we had talked to them for a while, we asked them:  “What is your favorite place in the world?”  Their answer, without hesitation, was “Antarctica.”  I have heard the same response from a number of other people who have been there.

I can’t wait!!  For those of you wondering about such a trip, hopefully my modest reporting can help you decide whether to put this trip on the top of your list.

Next Stop:  Buenos Aires!!


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A few images from past adventures

(Photographers in the Galapagos, Lava Falls, River Mile 176, Colorado River in the Grand Canyon; Canoe Trip on the Zambezi River; Nazca Booby Courtship; Mountain Gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Ugana)



12. Lava Falls Rapids






mountain gorilla