Saturday, November 3, 2007

How to Reach Antarctica?





Traditionally, Indian Scientific Expeditions to Antarctica have been sailing by ship from Goa to reach Antarctica in 3-4 weeks time via Mauritius stopping there for 2-3 days. During its journey it would cross equator and have all the thrills and excitement of a ship cruise. There would be plethora of marine life to see including whales, dolphins, seals etc. The most thrilling, exciting and perhaps anxiety filled time would come when ship enters latitude of 40 degrees south till 55 degrees when it would go rocking and pitching. The ship takes 4-5 days to cross this ‘villainous and roaring forties’, and is very difficult time due to certain risks and severe sea sickness. It is the area of mixing of waters of Indian Ocean and Antarctica. After crossing this, the ship would enter cold water and then the frozen sea with icebergs, ice-sheath, fast ice, packed ice etc.
Lately, the Indian Expeditions have been doing the entire journey partly by air and ship. The team would fly to Johannesburg in South Africa, and then from Cape Town take the ship, saving approx two weeks of journey time. Recently, however, part of the team has been completing the entire journey by air, reaching Antarctica on the third day after starting from Mumbai. I have been included in the batch which would fly all the way to Antarctica. Our team of 14 members would take South African Airlines flight from Mumbai to Johannesburg in the early hours of 12th November, and would take the connecting flight to Cape Town reaching there by afternoon. The distance between Cape Town and Antarctic airbase for our flight would be 4200 KM that we would cover in 6 hours with Russian cargo airplane, Ilyushin 76 which has been designed for taking off from and landing into rough surface. The runway would be of frozen blue ice. The Indian station, Maitri, is 9 KM from the landing site. We would cover this distance by helicopter or snowmobile.

A lot of info on logistics can be gleaned from http://www.alci.info/home.html
The excitement is palpable, it is building up!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

How exciting !! All the very best uncle. I will check this blog regularly to get a sense of your experiences.
- Rashmi

Sidney said...

Thanks so much for including me on your email. I'm looking forward to reading more. Safe travels!
Sidney

Roopa said...

I am lucky to hear about you. It feels great to be aware of possibilities in life when we thought of going up somewhere as impossible. Kudos to your guts.!
Roopa esther, abu dhabi

Rohit said...

Hello sir. Even i am an adventureous person. I trek and go to places on bike. and now i want to go to places which are much more challenging. Is there any way i can join the expedition?

Himalayan Adventurer said...

Rohit, to join the expedition of National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research of Minsitry of Earth Sciences, you must be working in the thrust research area identified by NCAOR. Kindly see its website: www.ncaor.gov.in
Logistic staff also join the expedition if they are working in military or paramilitary engineering services. Best wishes,

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Abhishek Dubey said...

Can we also go (a civilian)? Or only authorized people only.....

Abhishek Dubey said...

Can we also go (a civilian)? Or only authorized people only.....

Anonymous said...

Pls write more on Antarctica.
your article is motivating for
NEW Travelers to this part of
The World.