Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Day 7 - Sleep deprivation!

The first day we got on, Adrian Cross (Jumper) told us that we are going to be on a very tight schedule...that we should be ready to snap awake and run to the deck at any given point! We thought he was being dramatic...
He wasn't...

Our expedition is a mix of adventure and education...and with the programme being a short 10 days we have to cram EVERYTHING in that small time frame.  
Our days depend on what the amazing team at 2041 have conspired against us, but it always starts off with ‘Jumper’ on the PA telling us to wake up way too early and get ready way too fast to get on zodiacs or get on deck! We typically have 15-20 mins to wake up, get dressed and packed and off to teams to our meeting points...it feels like were in the military.

We trek, we prepare our plans...eat, and go to workshops under sleep deprivation!

Sleep deprivation is an interesting thing.  We talk to our team members, they ask us something and we reply...Then they ask again! :p

It’s hilarious when we all get together, we are all spaced out and exhausted...but still loving it!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Day 6 - crazy 24 hours!

We have had a very packed two days; more safety procedures to safeguard the team for the next two days. 
The safety procedures aimed at insuring natural readiness in case of a falling member as well as learning about hypothermia and hypothermia as well as basic first aids.
The theory was put into practice when the team did falling exercises and showed their rope and splinting work, and then we marched!

The trek was exciting with the occasional snowball fight but the team being roped together, there wasn't much room to get away!
Then there was the camping survival night!

The team dug their wind shelters in the snow and were left for the night to see the Aurora and the stars!
The next day was the return to the sea spirit and directly into workshops while they got to meditation point...
Tomorrow we will be spending a day on the continent preparing for the big march through the crevasse fields, we will also do the infamous polar plunge in sub zero waters!
Bader & Ameer :)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Day 5 - Antarctica, here we are!

Today, six months after being selected for the 2041 Antarctic Youth Ambassador Programme, we have landed in Antarctica. Bader Al Lawati and Ameer Abdulhussain, the youngest Omani to reach Antarctica, landed in Mikkleson harbour on the Antarctic Peninsula.

The journey took us from Muscat to Brazil then to the city of Ushuaia in Argentina. In Argentina we climbed to the top of a glacier and trekked through the national forest with the other participants to prepare ourselves for the journey ahead.

On the 3rd of March, the ‘Sea Spirit’ left Ushuaia heading south to the Antarctic Peninsula. The journey took two days and took us through the roughest waterway in the world; ‘The Drake Passage’.

After two and a half days at sea (5th March), the Antarctic icebergs showed themselves shortly followed by land. Excited, the were on the second Zodiac heading to the historic Nickleson harbor to learn about the area and rest for a few hours before  listening to scientists and environmental specialists to develop their campaigns for when we come back to the Sultanate.

Tomorrow (the 6th) the ‘Sea Spirit’ will cross the Lemaire Channel and the Freezing Omanis will spend the night on the ice.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Day 4 - Getting into the 'Spirit'

Were heading on to the charter, it looks insanely large!! And it’s all kicking in...the real journey is starting and it’s really getting exciting. But at the same time our safety brief kinda made things real...the first thing your head Jumper (the safety officer of the expedition) says: “everything in Antarctica is out to kill you” then he went on to talking about the drake and about how 80% of us will get seasick...makes it a bit more nerving but exciting!

We got on to the ‘Sea Spirit’ and everything went exciting from then on!

We left land and said goodbye to land...we were waved goodbye by a Russian scientific vessel, they even blew their horns for us!

Now were hitting the drake, things are shaking and moving...Some things fell off the shelves...the shelves opening up by themselves!

We sat on the deck chair...Ameer took a video asking me (Bader) to describe what I was feeling in one word...if he gave me a page I still wouldn't have been able to... I've never seen the moon that big, or the stars so bright... I've never seen anything like this. No description will do it justice and no words I have in my vocabulary can tell you what this looks and feels like!

It’s also getting cold now, with heaters in the ship many of us are in half jackets and we have a day and a half till we hit Antarctica.

Tomorrow...we reach Antarctica, further than any of us would have been from home.

Also, we have a surprise for the Environment Society of Oman ;)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Day 3 - Mt. Martial Glacier...and the snow?

Today we put our rope skills and our teamwork to practice...and what a day it was!

Getting up in the morning and seeing the team all there ready and excited just does something to you...the team spirit is something amazing, it gives you a different kind of energy!

The ride to the glacier was stunning, seeing the beagle channel behind us and snow ridden mountains up ahead is surreal, and then you get to the trek...this expedition has been a constant state of ‘it can’t get better, oh...it's better’ and today hasn't been any different.

One of our favourite pass time activities is trekking, and it works when the team clicks and leadership is given and taken all around and that’s what this whole day was meant to be...to prepare us to show leadership skills, develop the ability to step down and to help and assist each other through a challenging trek...being tied to 6 other people and walking in one pace is more challenging that it sounds!

You need patience and compromise, you need to constantly keep an eye on your team and help who you can...after all, you aren't trekking solo; you all are trekking as one.

Then we got to the top, the glacier was stunning and the view was amazing, but then we got our first contact with what we came to change...it’s not cold as it used to be, we packed for colder temperatures. The snow is not as thick anymore, and it’s become shy and dropped back into the background.

Those who were hoping to have their first snowball fight got disappointed...but more seriously, these glaciers are what the people in Ushuaia use for water.

It’s one thing hearing/reading about an issue (as you are right now), it’s a totally different thing when you see it right in front of you.

You get much more motivated to do something...and being tied to a great passionate bunch of individuals just gives you more fuel!!

If a group of people from 28 different backgrounds can work together this well, a country so unified such as Oman could be the forefront of environmentalism

Bader & Ameer.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Day 2 - Eagle Eye & Safety Sweeper

This was a big day for the Freezing Omanis with an early start.

We had our first day of the program after the induction and the initial team building trek to the most southern point of the world. Today however the team got to attend great lectures by Robert Swan and Gareth Wood who are two of the three men who walked the South Pole in 1985.

There were many theories about developing environmental initiatives and community involvement, and then a final rope and safety exercise where the pair practiced tying their knots blindfolded to get ready for tomorrows big test manoeuvring crevasses to reach the Martial Glacier. Some photos to share with you:

We were given important positions within our team, Ameer was designated the Eagle eye (keeping track of all the team and coordinating), while Bader was designated as the safety sweeper (maintaining speed and keeping safety checks/first aid).

The trek will help the teams get into formation before they leave to Antarctica and make sure all gear and equipment is ready while they are in Antarctica.

Tomorrow the Sea Spirit will take us amongst 74 others from 28 different countries to the great white continent through the infamous Drake Passage, dubbed as “the roller-coaster without seatbelts”.

From the time the Sea Spirit leaves, the team will be tracked through GPS which can be followed by the blog: http://expedition.2041.com/2013/

Ameer and Bader

Video - our arrival in Ushuaia!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Day 1 - From Muscat to the 'End of the world'

We left to Argentina on the 26th, the flight path was to Dubai-Brazil, Argentina (Buenos Aires).

Total travel time was about 34 hours, exhausting!!!

After our flight to BA we slept in shifts so that we could take care of the bags and keep track of time.

Today we met some of the 30 that are going to be joining us. We got along very well while going through forests and mountains to reach our first stop.

The trek took 5 hours and we enjoyed the nature of the Argentinian Ushuaia national forest. It is just stunning!

We got to ‘the end of the world’ point which is the southernmost point in the world.

Tomorrow we will do a mountain safety session and after tomorrow we trek a mountain.

Here some photos...love you all J.

Bader and Ameer