Our final day in Antarctica but our team was not perturbed, ready to take it in as much as possible we made way towards our favourite landing spot, Neko Harbour. Once again woken by an announcement from Jumper, but this time much earlier than usual, it was still dark outside. He said the view was like an oil painting, a great day in Antarctica, a sunrise not to miss. Slowly but surely almost everyone made it out on deck and it was certainly worth it. The colours where like nothing anyone had seen before, the sky was ablaze with orange and pink light, perfectly reflected in the still waters of the bay, the illusion only broken by the occasional piece of ice floating into view, somehow maintaining it’s blue hues amongst all this red light.
Because we needed time later to subject our team to the daunting polar plunge, we only had the morning to enjoy Neko, the team was again split between zodiac cruising and being on shore. Everyone got the chance to hike up to meditation rock where we handed out postcards for people to write to their future selves, reminding them of what they learnt in Antarctica.
Before we set sail back into the Drake, it was time for the Polar Plunge, for those crazy enough, they could jump off of the gangways into the freezing Antarctic waters, many did and with such style!
Once everyone had recovered from the plunge we had a leaving ceremony, thanking Antarctica, the Ship’s captain and crew and of course Robert Swan and the 2041 Foundation, now we head back into the Drake Passage and can reflect on this incredible experience.
“My name is Isabel Grey. I am 11 years old and born in Charleston SC. I have cared about the environment and it’s creatures deeply since I was young. At age 7 I became vegetarian and at 9 I became a vegan all because of my respect towards animals. My polar journey started as I watched Robert Swan give his speech at an outdoor shop called Halfmoon Outfitter. I was so inspired that at the end, I talked to him and developed the idea of going on the expedition. He invited me to go and few days later I was playing violin on King Street. I hope to raise awareness about what we are going wrong and ways that we can help make change.
What a special day we all had at Neko Harbor. The sunrise was spectacular; you begin to appreciate these moments because the Antarctic weather has a mind of its own. A long walk up to meditation point where team members wrote “postcards from the edge” to themselves that will be mailed to them in six months, which will serve as a great reminder to all the Team to make sure ACTION is happening around them.
You could here the ice carving around the bay, much like thunder.
Tradition has it that the final day on the continent, means Polar Plunge time. With a great deal of excitement and with the help of Taylor Swift in the background to muster that extra bit of courage, team members one by one jumped off the ship into the icy water. Some people managed to talk to their GoPros, but for most the reactions was total shock. It is not every day that you go for a swim in Antarctica.
A formal naval thank you, over seen by Jumper was performed on the bow by the whole team, and we all saluted the captain of the Ocean Endeavor.
We set sail for Ushuaia, with the swell and winds picking up for a rocky night.”
Isabel Grey, 11, USA
A key part of our expeditions is the experiential learning and focussing on bringing people that can share their story and inspire even more people, because of this we love to have teachers come and join IAE, we asked one of the many with this year for their ideas on how their time in Antarctica will shape what they teach in their own classrooms.
“Inspired. Driven. Passionate.
These three words sum up just a fraction of how I am now and how I will be in the near future. In order to be real and to have relevance to those who have not experienced the Antarctic as I have, I will take back this message with passion and be inspiring to others.
I need to engage young people in the ongoing battle to change the balance of sustainability, to help them understand that they are the pivotal generation. The generation that has full understanding of the problem, and the ability to contain it with the technological advances that are coming through. Older generations had neither the knowledge or power, and in future generations the damage will be too great to remedy.
To do this I will speak to schools and colleges in my locality and make it relevant to them, and leave them with a challenge. It is important to have a ‘hook’ for the children to hang on to, and to complete, so that I can come back to look at how they have achieved.
We must endeavour to make this part of their current language, not a novelty, or a fad that will come and go. It must be developed as part of the lexicon of the next generation and become embedded in their thought processes as a norm in their lives.
Presentations, assemblies and the like will be important but not as crucial as building a structure for schools to follow through with, to make policy and to continue this drive to change the culture of schools, ensuring that the whole sustainability subject is built into the curriculum and becomes part of everyday life.” - Tobin
The day ended with Robert revealing his plans for the future of the 2041 Foundation with the South Pole Energy Challenge, things are gearing up!