On the Snow Again

On the Snow Again My skis remembered what to do.  I did not.  Ten yards out of the parking lot, I caught an edge in an ice rut and toppled in a heap.  Looking around, I saw no one watching.  I got up, dusted the ice crystals off, adjusted my ski pants, and again prepared to glide gracefully down the track of the slight hill. It had been a year since I had laced up the cross country ski boots and clipped into the bindings.  Today the sky was bright blue with a few puffy white clouds over Iron Mountain in Jackson New Hampshire.  The snow had a faint tint of blue from the reflected sky.  A slight breeze and warm sun made the day quite comfortable.  I pushed off with my poles and let the slope take me down. Gliding, wind in my face, the “shwoosh” of the skis over the granular snow; it felt good to be on the snow again.  The trail crosses the golf course and leaves Jackson Village by way of the red covered bridge over the Ellis River.  Along the trail side there were a dozen sets of small poles and jackets.  It looked like there was a group lesson for elementary school kids. Up ahead, on the little hill that led to the covered bridge, I could see a dozen or so people.  There were two handfuls of kids, without poles, learning how to cross country ski.  An instructor, a few parents and some adult skiers were watching the second graders.  The kids skied up the incline and turned into the downhill...

Irregular Posts; HomeAgain

Saturday, Jan 8, 2012; HeyBoysAndGirls, We are home and doing the catch up home stuff that was undone for 25 days.  Leaving Buenas Aires was a trip!  The flight to BA from Iguassu Falls was not a problem especially since the welcoming weather was 85 with a stiff breeze off the river.  That was great after the high humidity and high 90s of the days in Brazil.  Saturday morning, we repacked the three bags for the return to the USA.  One “cold” bag was to be checked and the other two carry-ones were set.  Saturday was spent walking around some accessible parts of the city that we had not been to; Puerto Madiero, San Telmo, and other previously visited venues. Our taxi to the airport was set for 8PM for our midnight flight.  Easy time for the short 20 km drive.  HOlycRAP the lines of people waiting to check in!!!  Was everyone in the city heading out of the country at midnight??!  End of the holidays?  After about 30 minutes in one unmoving line, a “helpful” employee suggested that we might try the automatic check in kiosk, even though we had a bag to check.  OK.  Done!  Then we joined another longslowline to “drop bags”.  Some groups/families had TONS of BAGS, and a few had the family dog in a large crate!!  Finally, we leave our one bag and head off with our two backpacks…..to the amazing set of passport control lines.  People are late for planes and are panicking.  Some folks let them cut the line.  How about airport security lines?  The same pluggedtrafficjam!  It wasn’t that anyone...

Irregular Posts; Iguassu Falls

Thursday, Jan 6, 2012; HeyHotDays, Travel days are sometimes tiring and frustrating.  That is not to say the return across the Drake was frustrating.  It was the usual pitching and rolling but this time not as bad as the previous passage.  Only a few times were people thrown from their dinner table chairs.  Much laughter and no one injured.  You have to remember to keep your feet OUTSIDE of the chair legs.  And always hold the table with a free hand.  A roll of 15 degrees was not unheard of, but it was the unpredictable timing of the rolling that was the problem. We disembarked the ship in Ushuaia after breakfast on Tuesday, Jan 3rd.  Transfer to the tiny airport for 5 hour wait.  Free WiFi but SLOW and intermittent so any posting was not happening.  We landed Buenas Aires late afternoon and had a good supper at local San Telmo neighborhood establishment.  Now we selectively repacked for a short 3 day visit to the “tropics”.  Two bags left behind.   It was to be in the mid-90s and humid in Iguassu Falls, Brazil and Argentina. Five of us on the Antarctica trip had booked the extension trip to Iguassu Falls.  It was much cheaper as an extension than doing it on your own.  Border crossing should be easier as well.  Todd from Toronto, Canada did not have the $140 visa for Brazil so he would have to hotel 2 nights and tour only on the Argentina side of the park.  A Melbourne couple, Walter and Veronica, and Meg and I would hotel two nights in Brazil and visit both...

Irregular Posts; Drake Passage Returning

Saturday, Jan 1 2012, Happy New Year, In the afternoon of New Years Day, we are pitching and ROLLING (15o) through the Drake Passage.  The ten wet landings and three long zodiac cruises have been accomplished; two of the landings ON the Continent.  South of the Circle but the landing was iced out., but we got to see hunting Orcas instead  Temperatures have been consistently in the 30s.  Sometimes we are out in a light wind driven snow. The parkas are quite warm.  The waterproof pants and waterproof boots are required to protect from the 29o water on wet landings.   We have covered over 1700 nautical miles so far.  We have seen five kinds of penguins; Gentoo, Chinstrap, and Adelie in their range, and Macaroni and King “off course”.  Orcas, minke, humpback whales; Crabeater, Weddell, Leopard, and Elephant seals as well as many local birds.  We are hoping to see albatross in the Passage.  Coming south we saw a couple of black-browed albatross but not the wandering and the royal albatross. We had left King George Island area of the South Shetlands after New Year’s Eve dinner, slowly sailing westward toward Nelson Island.  New Year’s Eve party needed to be in quiet waters.  Jan 1st Sunday at 12:20 AM the boat turned north 90 o from the sheltered westerly course and headed north towards the Drake.  Weather maps showed a system that said the passage would not be the Lake but a typical rolling pitching one. It has not yet been as bad as our southerly run with the rolls consistently over 20o.  Then the dining room was...

Irregular Posts; Gerlache Strait

Thursday, Dec 29, 2011; Greetings from the South, We made a long run for the Circle on Tuesday the 27th.  We hoped for a landing below the Circle but the pack ice prevented it.  So we toasted the crossing of 66o33′ with champagne at 2:30 PM. Then, since there was no landing possible in the vicinity, we turned around and headed back north.  For speed we cruised in open water.  Swells were there but not as bad as Drake.  Meg got a little under the weather as she did not have a seasick patch on.  The seasick wrist bracelet, I think, is more placebo then effective.   Wednesday morning, we entered the Lemaire Channel from the south.  With no breeze, the deep water was a black mirror.  Black rock cliffs with white snow and ice, and floating blue shaded bergybits of ice reflected in the mirror.  Growlers hollow-banged against the hull of the ship.  The Channel, really like a fjord, is very narrow and deep.  It sits between high sheer cliffs of rock and ice.  Clouds shawled the peaks and draped the shoulders of the mountains.  High, through a thinning cloud cover, the sun sent shadows.  These were the first shadows seen in a week.  Patches of blue sky began to appear.   A lot of brash ice floating like chunky slush in a lake.  Bergybits and pack ice clogged the Channel near Pleneau Island. As the ship moved forward, the ice banged against the hull and echoed through the ship.  But there was no way through.  Not safe to lower zodiacs either.  So they lowered the anchor and we...