Antarctica: A Touch of Heaven Part 2

Writer and dedicated wOw community member Joan Larsen brings us to her “other home:” Antarctica

In the Ross Sea portion of Antarctica, the American McMurdo base has been clothed in darkness and ice for the six months of winter. Most of my trips here were onboard the Russian vessel Kapitan Klebniknov, able to break through 10 feet of ice in a single forward thrust. And so we were first in the spring to break open a lead that would allow supply ships to access the base itself. Spotting sea lions and penguins basking on the ice is common — but the above sighting of a closely-knit group of killer whales “sky-hopping” — or taking in enough air for up to one hour of swimming — was breathtaking. Our ship had given them enough open water to all come up for a breather at once, giving the passengers aboard a once-in-a-lifetime picture of these beautiful creatures. None of us will ever forget that magic moment.

Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime exploring the most remote places on earth — but she has been drawn to the the polar regions of our world again and again. She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”

10 comments so far.

  1. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    You really should be publishing all these incredible journeys in “coffee table” books – I read an article the other day about how we are just now able to “explore the depths” of the oceans. I actually thought of you. Writing about your latest journey.  In a submarine.  20,000 feet below the surface. We forget how inspiring nature truly is.  You have a wonderful way of reminding us!  

    • avatar Joan Larsen says:

      Baby Snooks . . . a pleasure to find you before “the end” here . . . and I believe I know who you are also.  . but we will keep that a secret.  So happy you loved the world that has attracted me since I was a child.  What you may not know is that while I haven’t written the coffee table books, my photo is in many by famous photographers and writers as we are all after the same thing:  the paradises on earth. 

      And actually, I had hoped I could chance my life on the Cameron trip to the Mariana Trench . . . but also, before Steve Fossett’s death, I was in touch with him, hoping he was going to make an exception to the rule and take me with him on that hot air balloon trip around the world.  I know my enthusiasm alone would have us flying high!!!  So I think you have me pegged pretty well.

      I’ll not stop writing — you can bet on it — so you are sure to see me elsewhere  . . . and I am guessing that you will find other niches for your fascinating “insides” into a world few know.

      Joan

  2. avatar Lila says:

    Great photo, Joan.

  3. avatar JCF4612 says:

    Terrific photograph!

  4. avatar mary burdt says:

    Nature provides us with such beauty…you provide us with the pictures! Thank you, Joan

    • avatar Joan Larsen says:

      I am really pleased beyond reason to delight all the wonderful gals on site with a glimpse of my life and my world on the ice . . . which has brought me such pleasure over almost 25 years of exploring this fabulous ice world.  It makes the heart lift to the blue sky — even in moments of real life that we all go through – and the memories — well, the memories just reside within me, making me smile.  And what could be better than that. 

      Love you all.

  5. avatar Chris Glass` says:

    This is really special. I agree with Baby Snooks that the accounts of your travels should be published. Some of us would love to do these things but are constrained by family care issues that keep us tethered to home. I love reading about the accounts of interesting people who are not afraid to go out and live life. Travel and biographies are my favorite books giving me hope for when I can have a life of my own again.

    • avatar Joan Larsen says:

      Hi Chris . . . no matter if it for an overnight or a much longer journey, it is so important for our physical and mental well being.  As all of us do at times in life, we are carrying large loads – that I call boulders – from situations of long standing that we have to take care of at home.  I have been there and I know the feeling well.  But in that time I read, put dollars away, and read a lot – planning what I will do when I can.  From my own life experiences, I always say to do the hardest thing you want to do first.  London can wait.  But if your dreams are of out of the way places that need some agility to do well, plan them first.  You can see London in a wheelchair for gosh sake!

      When you have ideas in mind, contact me as this has been my life when not at home, and I have learned how to do this very well, not missing a bet.  We need to have dreams — and even later, we want to have them in place and know how to make them happen.  Often, through ideas, I have done unusual things with no cost but getting there. 

      I do hope that you see a ray of light ahead for the look of an iceberg or a penguin who thinks I am his mother has done more for me in life than jewels.  Memories are like that.

      Joan

      • avatar Chris Glass` says:

        Hi Joan,
        I appreciate your advice. I’ve been to Europe several times and taken several cruises but my real interest is being where the tourists aren’t. I like unspoiled places and I am not picky about accommodations as I used to hike in my younger years. During that time I met lovely people who were surprised that an American would appreciate their country as much as they did.

        I don’t need a five star hotel to be happy even though I’d never turn down the chance to stay at one. I want to get out so I can see what my family refers to as the edge of the world – places that will never have a direct highway in and out. Places where silence does not have to be filled and no entertainment is expected because the local vistas are enough.

        I know that these caregiver years will end at some point and I hope that when the time does come I will be able to get out to experience a different sort of travel. My bucket list reflects that.

      • avatar Joan Larsen says:

        Chris,  I think we would like each other very well.  I have had much experience in the times you are having — and then, hopefully, there will be time for YOU.  I think that filling your heart with the clean, untouched natural world then will be re-vitalizing.  .  . and you will come home filled with something indefinable that will remain.  So keep your priorities on track.  Just so you know, I use Quark as their “lecturers” are superb, showing us discoveries, taking us to off beat places to see them — thus, making it special.  If you want to ever, you can find me on Fathomaway and we can again connect.  I understand the heartbreak and exhaustion and so much more of your life now — I lost some very good years but i know what I was doing was important and needed (though I had to tell myself that a lot) — but someday, that sun will peek through and then it will be up to you to MOVE onto the special places the world has given us.  Joan