A White Christmas In The Antarctic Circle
What a Christmas present! Moonee Ponds MindBody Health Centre’s Dr Anne Small shares her magical white Christmas day spent crossing the Antarctic Circle at 66°33.6´ south!
December 25 – Christmas Day
Our December 25th was a magical experience in the Antarctic, spent with great friends aboard the Ocean Adventurer and of course, little Leona the toy lioness who is on the trip to spread awareness about the incredible organisation Dr Anne supports – For the Love Of Wildlife (FLOW). We made sure to capture the moment in a photo with some celebratory champagne. There was a spectacular tabular iceberg in the background that added to the majesty of this special occasion.
We learnt the area enclosed by the Antarctic Circle is about 8% of Earth’s surface. The Circle marks the northern limit of the area in which the sun doesn’t set on the summer solstice (Dec 21) nor rise on the winter solstice (June 21).
We had a lovely Xmas dinner with tasty ham, turkey and all the trimmings and Leona ate too much (again). Then the staff and, later, an Australian family led us all in singing Christmas carols and songs including the Australian version of Jingle Bells which reminded us of all back home in the heat haha!:-
Dashing through the bush
In a rusty Holden Ute
Kicking up the dust
Esky in the boot . . . .
Such a fun night.
December 26 – Boxing Day
A great Boxing Day was next, beginning with the arrival in Paradise Harbour to see some of its many glaciers and ice cliffs going into the water. The Zodiac drivers were first out and saw one of the largest calvings of ice anyone had witnessed. This is when massive chunks of ice break away from the glaciers or ice cliffs to form icebergs and is accompanied by a huge noise like a cannon.
After the Zodiac cruise, we landed with Leona in tow on the Antarctica continent proper at Admirante Brown, an Argentinian base, rather than one of the islands. After lunch we landed at Port Lockroy, which until 1931 was used for whaling operations. In the 1940s it was claimed by the British and is now home to Base A. Leona had her photo taken with Kristy, one of the four people who spend the summer months there doing scientific testing. They divide their duties into cooking, cleaning, toilet care and diary writing and there is no running water or refrigerator for them. The base is supported by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust.
That night we reflected on the sights of such a special day and spoke of a particular highlight we’d seen at Admirante Brown – a ‘penguin highway’ where Gentoo penguins make their way through the landscape, which highlighted just how much this part of the world belongs to the wildlife and why it’s so important to protect this unique environment. Such an important place for wildlife really enhanced the connection we should value with all animals on the planet, just one of the reasons why Leona is along on the journey with Dr Anne.
About For The Love Of Wildlife
Animal welfare volunteer organisation For the Love Of Wildlife reminds us of this importance with their mission, which is detailed on their website as: “To stay immobilised and silent whilst our natural world is under siege is a crime against nature. It seems that humans have lost their connection to the environment and the planet. If we’re to change the demise we have to be courageous to face ourselves, get real about what is happening and act from a place of deep compassion. It is no longer acceptable to “turn a blind eye”…we are all in this together and it’s our job to make a change, however small.
For more details about For the Love Of Wildlife, visit www.fortheloveofwildlife.org.au