A Travellerspoint blog

March 2012

Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon

25 March 2012

sunny 80 °F

finish of Rock n Roll Dallas half marathon

finish of Rock n Roll Dallas half marathon


On our Antarctica trip a lot of runners were irritated with the rock n roll series of runs saying they give nothing back to the community. I thought it was interesting to find out that 75% of the profits went to the Susan Komen Foundation for breast cancer - doesn't that count for something. These are popular events because they are really fun. I would guess about 20,000 did this one. THe expo is massive and drained my already weak finances :)
The route took us by some of the prettiest houses - old Dallas money I guess. And then there was this guy..
Rock n Roll man

Rock n Roll man


The finish had plenty of food and the greatest invention -the ice towel! Our only complaint for this one was that it should have started earlier - the 0800 start meant but the finish it was pretty hot - probably atleast 80 despite the fact it is still march!
I loved the sparkly medal and I'm pretty sure Curt loved the beer at the end. I went home happy!

Posted by ErinDriver 15:20 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Ushuaia again

15 March 2012

overcast 50 °F

This morning we have to disembark and become responsible for all our meals and our wake up calls again.
We are on a later flight so have a few hours to pick up any last minute souveneirs, etc. We decide that we must have some dulce de leche and that sending the kiddos a post card from the end of the earth might be fun. I would have liked it when I was a kid anyway. We scrambled to find a postcard, stamp and mail slot. Curt was running back to the mail slot as the buses were loading.
Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche


We managed to find some basically carmel spread at a grocery store - we started to put this on toast and it is a real pick me up in the morning.
I guess all good things must end so we are on our way home!
Irish pub at the end of the earth

Irish pub at the end of the earth


penguin street sign

penguin street sign


post office

post office

Posted by ErinDriver 18:10 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Rounding Cape Horn

14 March 2012

overcast 30 °F

Cape Horn

Cape Horn


A scary day at sea today – we have to settle our bill! Other than that the only thing to look at was Cape Horn for a brief moment. We were trying to get within 3 miles but the Chileans would only let us get to 6 so the pictures weren’t so great. Apparently if you are a sailor rounding Cape Horn is a life dream.

Posted by ErinDriver 18:06 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Birthday at Sea

13 March 2012

overcast 3 °F

My birthday is spent at sea but luckily the waters were calm. In the morning we had presentations on seals and Shackleton. In the afternoon I skipped the class on birds getting caught in fishing loors and geography of ice to just nap and read.
Before dinner Marathon tours held an auction to benefit Oceanitis which is an organization that works toward the conservation and study of penguins. They were auctioning the mile marker signs, the finishing banner and some marathon posters.
They started off by giving us champagne which was a very smart move. I had my heart set on the 13 marker but so did several other people so I had work to do. I prevailed in the end though.
mile marker 13

mile marker 13


The finish sign went for $1000 and the finish line banner went for around $1400. The 26 mile marker went for $1200. Yes – we runners are a crazy lot!

Posted by ErinDriver 18:04 Archived in Antarctica Comments (0)

Paradise Bay

12 March 2012

sunny 10 °F

our boat in Paradise Bay

our boat in Paradise Bay


Last day in Antarctica but we get to spend it at Paradise Bay. There is a small Argentine base there but seems to be manned more with penguins than any scientists. This area has a beautiful views which we get to by climbing the most ridiculous mountain of snow. I had way too many clothes on for the climb but the top did have a rewarding view. And the way down was even better because we got to slide on our butts from about the half way point.
humpback fin

humpback fin


Back in the zodiac we motored around to some iceberg arches, a waddell seal and found some more humpbacks. On our way back to the ship a group of penguins was following the boat and proposing along behind giving all the photographers a shot at the ultimate photo.
I love the penguins

I love the penguins


Lunch was a pizza buffet and I only mention this because the announcement was made that usually for this ship they make 11-12 pizzas but our group polished off 18!
mom and baby swimming away

mom and baby swimming away


Our next excursion was cancelled because we spent a huge amount of time watched a group of orcas and humpbacks. We hit a section where there was a whale everywhere you looked. It was interesting to have the two types in the same area because you could see how small the orcas looked next to the humpback. There were probably 30-40 orcas swimming along. They are very fast so hard to photograph but Curt got a great one! The display was basically the icing on the cake.
We now begin our way back across the Drake Passage where there is rough water and nothing to look at.
another penguin jump

another penguin jump


Base Brown

Base Brown


gentoo penguins

gentoo penguins


gentoos following the zodiak

gentoos following the zodiak


getting ready for the slide

getting ready for the slide


humpback blow hole

humpback blow hole


ice tunnels

ice tunnels


marching uphill

marching uphill


mileage sign

mileage sign


morning view

morning view


Paradise Bay

Paradise Bay


penguin colony

penguin colony


penguin flying

penguin flying


penguin hopping

penguin hopping


penguin leaps

penguin leaps


penguins and whales

penguins and whales


penguins with ruins

penguins with ruins


sunrise

sunrise


The slide

The slide


us on top of rock

us on top of rock


weddell seal

weddell seal


zodiak cruising

zodiak cruising


baby blow

baby blow


humpback tail

humpback tail


mom and baby swimming

mom and baby swimming


orca blowhole

orca blowhole


tail spray

tail spray

Posted by ErinDriver 17:49 Archived in Antarctica Comments (0)

700 photo day!

11 March 2012

sunny 10 °F

sunrise and moon

sunrise and moon


THE BEST TRAVEL DAY YET – and a 700 photo day!!! Today was the kind of day travelers dream about. Our wake up call was an announcement over the loudspeaker that there was a beautiful sunrise outside our windows! I could even see the moon in some of the photos.
me with penguins

me with penguins


After breakfast we set sail for a Gentoo penguin colony on Cuverville Island and were able to get so close to the penguins. The instruction was to give them five feet of space but if they came up to you it was okay. I got within an arms length of them several times.
napping together

napping together


The doctor on the ship had one come and take a nap across her legs. The experience of being so close to them in their natural habitat was spectacular. I could have spent hours taking photos and watching them.
The young chicks are molting and at one point the colony was disturbed by their predator the Shoul. I was scared I was going to see it carry off one of the chicks.
lunch on deck

lunch on deck


Lunch was a BBQ on the deck which I was not excited about because I was already so cold but ended up being really neat. It was a pretty nice little Sunday brunch of hamburgers while icebergs pass you by. There was an award ceremony and then last photos in front of the start/finish banner.
us on 7th continent

us on 7th continent


As if the day could not get better we had another excursion to Neko Bay on the actual Antarctic Continent. This meant Curt and I had both been on all seven continents!! Well I was excited about it!
penguins with whale bones

penguins with whale bones


There were more Gentoo penguins and we chose just to sit on a rock for the designated time and watch them getting in and out of the water, napping, chasing each other and fighting.
gentoo with polar plunger in background

gentoo with polar plunger in background


Some did the polar plunge from the shore but we preferred to stay dry.
humpback blow

humpback blow


It was fortunate the way it turned out because on the zodiac back to the boat we were deterred by the Whale Happy Hour. We didn’t even know where to look there were so many of them. Truly amazing experience had by all!
Curt and I must also remember the Japanese guy on the tour who for the second time took over the microphone to tell us “I had a bean for twenty years! (dream) Seven Continents Good”.
gentoo fight 1

gentoo fight 1


gentoo fight 2

gentoo fight 2


gentoo mouth

gentoo mouth


how many penguins

how many penguins


humpback body

humpback body


humpback tail 13

humpback tail 13


humpback tail 14

humpback tail 14


humpback tail 15

humpback tail 15


ice cube water

ice cube water


ice ice and more ice

ice ice and more ice


ice reflections

ice reflections


kayakers

kayakers


kayakers in the distance

kayakers in the distance


kayaks await

kayaks await


lanscape 13

lanscape 13


maniacs on ship

maniacs on ship


mirror mirror on the wall

mirror mirror on the wall


mountain reflections

mountain reflections


penguin feeding

penguin feeding


penguin feet

penguin feet


penguin nap

penguin nap


penguin reflections

penguin reflections


penguin ridgeline

penguin ridgeline


penguin slipping

penguin slipping


penguin slope

penguin slope


penguin stretch

penguin stretch


penguin yoga

penguin yoga


running penguin

running penguin


seal nap

seal nap


seal nap 2

seal nap 2


seal swim

seal swim


seven continents

seven continents


ships gangway

ships gangway


the gentoo eye

the gentoo eye


up close and personal

up close and personal


view from penguin colony

view from penguin colony


view from ship

view from ship


wall of ice

wall of ice


whats down there

whats down there


zodiak whale watching

zodiak whale watching

Posted by ErinDriver 17:31 Archived in Antarctica Comments (0)

kayaking Antarctica

10 March 2012

sunny 20 °F

Mikkelsons Harbor

Mikkelsons Harbor


getting kayaks into position

getting kayaks into position


This morning the ship arrived at Mikkelsons Harbor on Victoria Island and a group went out on kayaks. IT was just surreal to be surrounded by such scenery. Finally we have arrived at what everyone pictures Antarctica to be like. Curt and I had a tandem kayak so he did a lot more paddling while I took a lot of photos.
Leopard seal

Leopard seal


We were lucky enough to circle around some leopard seals relaxing on their individual ice bergs. Later we were treated to the same with Waddell Seals on a rock. They really didn’t pay any attention to us at all.
before kayaking

before kayaking


The rest of the group went on to an island with some penguins which we could smell from our kayaks. The occasional penguin would porpoise out of the water near our kayak. It took an incredibly long time to get everyone into the kayaks but it was worth it in the end.
double humpbacks

double humpbacks


After lunch we were moving on to our next destination which went through what is called Whale Highway. The ship passed lots of humpback whales on the way to Graham passage.
happy hour

happy hour


happy hour on deck

happy hour on deck


In late afternoon happy hour was on the deck on the way through the passage. The ice and rock formations were magnificent….and so were the cookies. After everyone was sure we would make it through the passage safely we had dinner, watched the Frozen planet and went to bed.

Antarctic scenery

Antarctic scenery


kayaking thru ice

kayaking thru ice


kayakying around iceberg

kayakying around iceberg


our ship at Victoria Island

our ship at Victoria Island


penguins on shore

penguins on shore


pulling kayaks

pulling kayaks


Waddell seals napping on the rocks

Waddell seals napping on the rocks


a devil on the ship

a devil on the ship


another tail

another tail


ice reflections

ice reflections


ice square

ice square


ice statue

ice statue


iceberg design

iceberg design


iceberg with blue ice

iceberg with blue ice


more landscape

more landscape


reflections

reflections


sharp iceberg

sharp iceberg


sun setting colors

sun setting colors


whale blow with iceberg

whale blow with iceberg


Antarctic continent

Antarctic continent


Humpback fluke

Humpback fluke


humpback whale

humpback whale


iceberg

iceberg


iceberg with blue

iceberg with blue


whale blow with iceberg

whale blow with iceberg


white whale tail

white whale tail

Posted by ErinDriver 16:58 Archived in Antarctica Comments (0)

Antarctica Marathon

9 March 2012

all seasons in one day 4 °F

Runner arrival

Runner arrival


The day has finally come, some have been waiting five years – the Antarctica Marathon is here! Breakfast was at 0630 with boats loading at 0800.
Run signs

Run signs


The first shock of the day came on arrival at the Russian base on King George Island. The place was a muddy mess – after only a few steps the reality set in – this should be renamed Muddy Buddy Antarctica.
water station

water station


There was a pallet where it was possible to secure gear against wind and rain and a strip of mud next to the start to put the collection of water bottles. The temp was about 4 degrees and windy with the expectation of rain. The route was to go out one direction 2.18 miles to the Chilean base then back to the start, then the other direction out 2.18 miles. We did this loop three times. So after time one we knew what kind of torture we were set up for! I have never been in a harder race. The hills, mud and wind were worse than anything I have ever experienced. At one point in started to snow, which turned to hail which really stung your face. Luckily that only lasted a few minutes.
running the course

running the course


The race had a cut of 3 hours and 10 minutes for the first half to ensure participants and workers were not out past a safe time to return to the boat. This was extended a bit since we started early and they want to give everyone the best chance of finishing. The cut off for the full marathon was to be 6.5 hours.
some of the route (2)

some of the route (2)


Each direction had fairly large hills but usually after that was a fairly large downhill which saved some time. At lots of points we had to jump over water or by the third lap just run through it.
The only penguins at the start

The only penguins at the start


There was barely a lick of snow and the only two penguins I saw were at the beginning of the race. It was great to get finished and I hit just under 6 hours. Curt finished the half in 3:01 but was wise enough to return to the boat at that time.
Curt finishing

Curt finishing


Erin Finishing

Erin Finishing


The hectic part was trying to get your gear on at the end to get back in the zodiac and taken to the ship. I was so hungry I went right to the dining room and ate a bowl of the best chili I have ever had. We weren’t supposed to have plastic bags or wraps on the island so we had put three race gels in a small water bottle but that didn’t quite give me enough calories.
After a shower and some more chili I felt like a new person. The race was not what I expected but incredible none the less.
Adam and Ben

Adam and Ben


Antarctica marathon start

Antarctica marathon start


Asian rock

Asian rock


Curt Running

Curt Running


ffffffinish

ffffffinish


Marathon maniacs

Marathon maniacs


Mary leaving the Russian Base

Mary leaving the Russian Base


Running toward the russian base

Running toward the russian base


Russian chapel

Russian chapel


Russian signs

Russian signs


shoes after the run

shoes after the run


sign for chilean base

sign for chilean base


view from route

view from route


walking the course

walking the course

Posted by ErinDriver 16:41 Archived in Antarctica Comments (1)

Finally hitting land

8 March 2012

sunny 10 °F

Landscape 1

Landscape 1


We finally wake up to see something out the window! The sunrise everyone was hoping for didn’t really happen due to fog.
jumping penguins

jumping penguins


The first sighting was made early watching the little penguins porpoise through the water. The little things were delightful to watch and VERY fast.
Russian Base at Maxwell Bay

Russian Base at Maxwell Bay


Huts on Maxwell Bay

Huts on Maxwell Bay


The base camp here is the Russian Base In Maxwell Bay. The race organizers were dropped off to plot and plan the course. We would return later to pick them up again.
Life Preserver

Life Preserver


Idiots Abroad

Idiots Abroad


A few people just couldn't wait for the marathon so went running around the boat - 10 times around equal one mile.
A few Sei Whales showed a fin or two within our viewing area.
Excursion wear

Excursion wear


After lunch the first excursion occurred to Robert s Point. A quick zodiac ride from the boat took us to land where Gentoo and chinstrap penguins awaited with fur seals. The penguins are at the end of the season so the adults are molting.
chinstrap penguin

chinstrap penguin


climbing the rocks

climbing the rocks


I overdressed for this trip not realizing we were going to just about scale a mountain on crumbling rocks. The view was definitely not the one I thought I would have in Antarctica.
Coming from a swim

Coming from a swim


Curious seals

Curious seals


Fur Seals

Fur Seals


Lanscapee 2

Lanscapee 2


molting chinstrap penguins

molting chinstrap penguins


on a walk

on a walk


penguin carcass

penguin carcass


penguin ridge

penguin ridge


Roberts Point

Roberts Point


Tired seal

Tired seal


us with penguin colony

us with penguin colony


View from front of ship

View from front of ship


view from top of Roberts point

view from top of Roberts point


Who goes there

Who goes there

Posted by ErinDriver 17:18 Archived in Antarctica Comments (2)

Into Antarctica

7 March 2012

overcast 40 °F

Antarctic waters

Antarctic waters


Today the ship passed the 60 degree line which put is in to Antarctica – still not a thing to see but open water. More briefings on how to get in the zodiacs, what we can do on the trip and a kayak briefing. The water is much calmer here so most people abandoned their anti-nausea medication and were not so drowsy.
A vacuum party was held to clean dirt, seeds, rocks, etc out of any shoes, jackets or backpacks that we wanted to take on to land. More frozen planet movie after dinner.

Posted by ErinDriver 17:00 Archived in Antarctica Comments (0)

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