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.

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 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.