What also weighs on me is the unknown of the UN-experienced.
Antarctica is the 5th largest continent in terms of land mass.
It is 14, 250,000 square kilometers…(or 5,500,00 square miles)
And it ranks as the 1st continent with the lowest population. Meaning no permanent residents. And only 4,000 summer residents. And 1,000 winter residents.
One apartment building in Manhattan has more people then all of ANTARCTICA does.
All that said, this trip is about preparation, no perspiration and ultimately about duration.
A key question for me is the weather…how wet is the air is critical.
And as we are close to the ocean, moisture is an issue.
Wind is the next unknown. Wind changes everything.
Especially wet wind.
The next item is weather.
Specifically ultra cold weather.
Like -20 or -50.
This type of cold makes it dramatically more difficult to manage gear, take photos and video, deal with clothing system and simply stay warm and alive…with no frostbite.
As I have had frostbite once before…I know the pain associated with this topic.
So keeping extremities warm is KEY.
This means head, neck, nose, toes and fingertips.
Almost all body parts.
However it is these extremities that freeze first. And sometimes without knowing.
First my head.
I have a light and tight skull cap. Then a thicker skull cap. This is then covered by a fox covered hat with ear flaps. Eventually my down jacket hood will then cover me up.
Now my face.
Here I will have my glasses. And my goggles. And a balaclava. My face should be completely covered.
Onto my hands.
I have silk liners. Then slightly thicker liners. Which go into a glove and mitten system. Which then go into an Alti Mitt designed for this type of weather.
And of course I will have hand warmers…
For my feet.
I have socks. And sock liners. Plus mega Baffin boots.
And of course toe warmers. Let’s hope they work.
For my body I have two base layer wool shirts.
Then a fleece jacket.
Then a light weight down jacket.
Add a wind breakers shell.
Plus a storm system jacket.
All covered up by a massive synthetic overcoat.
For my legs.
I have two liners.
One trail hiking pants.
Then ultra massive synthetic overall pants.
Just 4 layers.
That’s 27. Yes 27 items to plan for. Put on. Lee track of.
And even then frostbite or worse can happen.
That list does not even include my camera gear…gopro gear…sat phone or Inreach.
So while it is all logical and organized…it is mind boggling at some core and basic level.
And yet…this is what it takes to try and experience and capture special moments with emperor penguins.