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If you own a globe, as I do, you'll know that Antarctica gets skewered in such a way that is it difficult to view the entire continent. My globe spins to allow for me to move the globe so I can see the poles. Many globes are fixed at the poles which means you can never get a good look at either. I suppose the designers assume that because the population centers are not at the pole that they don't need to bother!

I saw this image on a site sponsored by the British Antarctic Survey. I'll be in Antarctica soon, so I appreciate seeing the entire continent without a spear sticking through it.

The triangle part on the top left is the Antarctic peninsula. It is the closest to land outside Antarctica. Most people who visit Antarctica will go to the peninsula by embarking on a ship from Ushuaia, Argentina. My first trip there was exactly that. Our ship dipped just below the Antarctic circle, which is not far down on the peninsula. It allowed us to see LOTS of penguins and visit a few "scientific" bases--Poland, Ukraine, Chile, Britain. I put that in quotes because most of these stations are simply to stake a claim and not to do much science.

The British station is now just a tourist stop. They sell souvenirs. They also monitor penguins, but that is a "front story." The real work is done at Rothera Research Station. The Chileans were not even in their base when we visited, so we used it for sledding. They simply want to say "Hey, we are Chile. If you draw the boundary lines down from our country then this is our slice." So it's political. The Polish station was quite friendly and I got the impression there might be some real science going on there. The Ukrainian station featured home brewed vodka and had plenty of photos of scantily clad women, not to mention the various bras having in the bar. Were they doing science? Hmmm.

The peninsula is where 99.9% of all tourist ships go. Although I had a lot of fun visiting these "scientific" stations, I look forward to going beyond to places where there is only ice, snow, and cold. The route we are taking will follow the coast to the Ross ice shelf and then on to the subAntarctic islands of New Zealand. I hope to see Mt. Erebus when we are in the Ross Sea area. Although McMurdo is there, we won't be able to visit because unlike most stations in the peninsula, a lot of science goes on at McMurdo.

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