Made It To Ushuaia! Dec. 29, 2011

Kate has made it to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, “The Gateway to Antarctica!”

Here’s a fun video of my excitement and the beautiful mountains visible from the airport at “El Fin Del Mundo,” the End of the World.


I first drafted this post in the air above a snowy expanse in the Rocky Mountains on the first of three long flights on the way to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. I’m now in the Hotel Canal Beagle (Beagle Channel Hotel) surrounded by the Southern end of the Andes mountain chain, craggy and snowy even in the summer. It’s only 1000 kilometers to Antarctica!

I have glimpsed our ship, the M/V Ortelius, at the pier, have eaten Fuegian-style trout for dinner in a local art cafe, and at last have a secure internet connection. It’s time for some long-anticipated sleep in a real bed (including a late night packing, it’s been…64 hours with a few airplane naps), but first, I want to let everyone know I made it!

Flying from San Francisco to Atlanta with me were Doug and Gail Cheeseman, founders of Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris, the company on whose Antarctic voyage I’ll be naturalist staff member number 15 for 90 world-traveling passengers.

In Atlanta another staff member and a few passengers joined our flight to Buenos Aires, and then in the BA airport we met up with over a dozen more. My last flight down the length of Argentina stopped briefly in Trelew, Chubut State, which took us low over beautiful Peninsula Valdes, where I had seen Southern Right Whales a few years ago. It’s been a beautiful mid-summer reunion with South America so far.

The Cheesemans group are now spread in two adjacent hotels right on the waterfront of gorgeous, mountainous, alpine-flavored Ushuaia. Tomorrow is a day for getting to know everyone as more people arrive and some go on field trips. On New Year’s Eve afternoon we set sail for Antarctica!

Read about the voyage itinerary and what we’re likely to see:

It’s been an incredible three weeks already since I said, “Yes, I’ll go!” and my flight was booked. The response to my requests for sponsorships has been more than I imagined, and just what I needed to be able to take off for a month with a clear mind. My most heartfelt thanks go to each of my generous sponsors, and I look forward to posting a page soon recognizing their contributions.

It’s not too late to sponsor me, by the way. Signing up now for the remaining special limited-edition prints from this artistic expedition will support studio time when I return and allow me to focus on interpreting the experience artistically, in color, in line, in words, and in whatever ways the Antarctic itself inspires me.

Sponsor Kate’s Antarctic Artistic Adventure Go here:

And keep watching this blog to hear about some of that inspiration as it happens. Best wishes from “Fin del Mundo!”

Kate’s Going to Antarctica!

Sometimes dreams come true when you least expect them!

On very short notice I’ve agreed to join the naturalist staff of Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris‘ 26-day voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic Peninsula — leaving in just two weeks!


I fly on December 28, 2011 to Ushuaia, Argentina, in Tierra del Fuego on the Beagle Channel, where we’ll set sail on New Year’s Eve aboard the M/V Ortelius. The itinerary is incredible: three days in the Falklands, six days on South Georgia, one day in the South Orkneys, and a full week on and around the Antarctic Peninsula.

I’ll be soaking up incredible scenery, amazing wildlife, and the power of the great Southern Ocean. I’ve sailed that heaving ocean before — and loved every minute — in a much larger ship, as far as Cape Horn and the eastern Falkland Islands. This time I am delighted and honored to be working on a small, ice-strengthened expedition vessel as part of a tour staff of 15 and only 95 passengers.

There is a lot to do between now and departure, and of course Christmas is right in the middle of it. I’m going over my foul weather gear, pondering portable art supplies, and getting everything taken care of on the home front. There’s location research, travel arrangements, and, these days, getting the digital equipment shipshape. It’s a bit overwhelming, but it will all be worth it when I see my first nesting albatross.

KateWithPenguins2959 KateAsPenguin2958


 Here’s me getting into the penguin spirit at a Magellanic penguin rookery near Punta Arenas, Chile. They sit like that for hours, then bend and preen just when you want to take a picture.