Poseidon's Blog

Citizens Science Project – Passengers Measuring Data at the North Pole – Part One

Posted by Lauren Farmer on Oct 16, 2017 11:31:24 AM

Guest blog post by Poseidon expedition team members Lauren Farmer and Alex Cowen

Part One – Measuring and Observing Sea Ice in the High Latitudes

This past July, Poseidon’s North Pole expedition team once again carried out an ambitious citizen science program with our guests aboard the nuclear-powered icebreaker, 50 let Pobedy ( 50 Years of Victory).
 
Since 2015, the two of us, along with marine biologist Annette Bombosch, have been working with the International Arctic Research Center and the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth to collect valuable sea ice data, which is readily available to the research community through a program 
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Topics: North Pole, Icebreaker, Citizens Science Project

How IAATO protects the magnificence of Antarctica

Posted by Scott Wasserman on Aug 31, 2017 2:56:44 PM

Tourism to the seventh continent has expanded in popularity over the years, but the perception that there is little regulation of the industry has persisted. When larger cruise ships started to arrive and, specifically, after the sinking of the GAP Explorer in November 2007 (thankfully, everyone was safely evacuated) some commentators feared catastrophic accidents and the potential for environmental damage. 

Antarctica is governed by an international treaty that came into force in 1961 and which is now signed by more than 50 nations. While the treaty is very good at ensuring the continent is maintained as a natural reserve, and has the intention of preserving the last unspoiled continent in the world, the treaty system works on a consensus basis. Decision making can be an arduous process.

Enter the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, more commonly known as IAATO.

What is IAATO?

In 1991, seven independent travel companies operating in Antarctica took it upon themselves to create an organization to promote best practices in the field and self-regulate. IAATO recognized the potential environmental impacts that a growing tourism industry could have in Antarctica. The main purpose of IAATO is to insure safe, responsible, environmentally sensitive tourism in the fragile ecosystem of Antarctica.

Four ways IAATO fills the treaty’s gap

  • IAATO supports the day-to-day field management for tour operators in Antarctica through communication and coordinated systems by acting as a conduit for information. This enables operators, which are competitors in all other respects, to work together and deal quickly with many issues that arise.
  • IAATO supports its members in developing and reviewing best practice strategies, guidelines and operating procedures that support the organization's mission statement. IAATO also works with its operators to build programs and mechanisms to ensure that Antarctic tourism is responsible and sustainable well into the future.
  • IAATO works with the treaty parties, as well as other government forums to provide data and information on Antarctic tourism activities, as well as contributing to discussions on the management and regulation of Antarctic tourism. 
  • IAATO and its members support and contribute to research and conservation work in Antarctica, including participating in various research studies, providing logistical support, and through the organization working with various groups by contributing to studies and bodies of research related to traveling to the seventh continent. 

One example of IAATO’s conservation work are visitor guidelines – in many languages – focused on protecting Antarctic wildlife. These guidelines include:

  • Do not use aircraft, vessels, small boats, or other means of transport in any ways that disturb wildlife-either at sea or on land. 
  • Be alert to the presence of wildlife and monitor its reaction to you. Take special care around animals that are breeding or molting. Be aware of the periphery of a rookery and remain outside of it. Never harass wildlife. It is illegal and can be dangerous. 
  • Do not feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, or approach them in ways that cause them to change their behavior. Do not damage plants. Avoid stepping, walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes. 
  • There are many more guidelines for visitors to the Antarctic that can be found on the IAATO website. Following these guidelines will help ensure a safe and enjoyable Antarctic experience for all visitors, resident scientists and, most importantly, promote the well-being of Antarctica’s wildlife. There is also an informative Q&A section on the IAATO website that is valuable reading for anyone thinking about a journey to the White Continent.

Become an "Ambassador for Antarctica" and a steward of the global ecosystem…

"Experiencing Antarctica first hand is a privilege for anyone who visits, whether a tourist, scientific researcher, travel industry professional, ship crew member or national program employee. Having no native population, Antarctica needs ambassadors who will champion this unique environment in a global context."

Poseidon Expeditions has been an active member of IAATO since 2011. Several of the company's managers and field staff are active members on various IAATO committees.  

If you have any thoughts about IAATO or questions about the organization, please do so in the comments box below!

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Topics: antarctic, climate change

James Balog's evolving view on climate change

Posted by Scott Wasserman on Aug 28, 2017 4:50:15 PM
Imagine using dozens of time-lapse cameras placed in 16 glacial locations around the world, such as in Alaska, Greenland and the Antarctic. All to see if the landscape was changing and if climate change was living up to its reputation as the cause of this.   
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Topics: Arctic, antarctic, climate change

Fine dining on a Polar Expedition? Absolutely!

Posted by Scott Wasserman on Jul 17, 2017 11:33:03 AM
Photo Credit: Judy Wells

 You never know what’s going to happen on a polar expedition cruise. Things can change-day by-day due to weather, sea ice, or other unexpected challenges. However, if you have a good expedition team and staff, you’ll rarely be disappointed. 

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Topics: expedition, Greenland

Older Baby Boomers – Coming to a polar expedition near you!

Posted by Scott Wasserman on Jul 5, 2017 3:10:00 PM
“Carter and I saw the world together, which is amazing when you think that only three months ago we were complete strangers. I hope that it doesn't sound selfish of me, but the last months of his life were the best months of mine. He saved my life, and he knew it before I did. “
 
Edward Cole - The Bucket List
 
I’ll admit, I’ve never seen the movie The Bucket List. Let’s just say it’s on my bucket list.
 
A few weeks ago, I returned from the trip of my life. A polar expedition to Western Greenland in the Arctic circle. Typically, my idea of a vacation is a warm climate, lovely turquoise water, and packing as little clothes as possible. This was quite the opposite of the norm.  
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Topics: Arctic, expedition, Greenland, baby boomer

One never knows what’s going to happen on a Polar Expedition.

Posted by Scott Wasserman on Jun 14, 2017 2:50:03 PM
expedition |ˌekspəˈdiSH(ə)n|
noun
A journey or voyage undertaken by a group of people with a particular purpose, especially that of exploration or scientific research.
 
That’s the best part about an expedition. The unknown.
 
Now keep in mind, today’s polar expeditions are nothing like the expeditions of yore. We’d never compare ourselves to Sir Walter Herbert, who from 1968 to 1969, led the British Trans-Arctic Expedition, a 3,800-mile surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean, from Alaska to Spitsbergen, which some historians had billed as ‘the last great journey on Earth’. ( I did listen intently Kari!)
 
No. Today’s Polar expeditions, for most of us anyway, start on a comfortable ship.
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Topics: Arctic, expedition, Greenland

Behind the scenes on a polar expedition ship

Posted by Scott Wasserman on Jun 2, 2017 2:39:08 PM

Although I don’t normally write blogs in the first-person narrative, traveling aboard the Sea Spirit on an Arctic cruise for the first time has become a personal adventure that I wanted to share.

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Topics: Arctic, Insider, expedition, Greenland

4 Western Greenland attractions you must see

Posted by Scott Wasserman on May 9, 2017 1:45:09 PM

The birthplace of icebergs... 

An ice sheet covers 80 percent of Greenland's land mass.  
One would think there wouldn't be much else to see, but if you plan wisely, there are tremendous West Greenland offers a world of arctic adventures and a once in a lifetime journey.

Life under the water’s surface

Greenland prides itself on having only free and wild creatures of the sea in its waters and they’re free to swim wherever the oceans take them. Some of the mighty creat
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Topics: Arctic, expedition, Greenland

The Inuit of Greenland - Just don't call them Eskimos!

Posted by Scott Wasserman on May 9, 2017 1:03:10 PM

Inuit comprise the majority of Greenland

Of Greenland's estimated total population of 58,000, 88% are Inuit. The balance of the population is mostly Danish. Although these indigenous people are collectively known as Inuit, most of these
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Topics: Arctic, Greenland

The Falkland Islands - Myth vs Reality

Posted by Scott Wasserman on May 5, 2017 3:21:44 PM

Surf’s up! Hard to believe, but that's the reaction from a thankfully small (and ill-informed) group of people when the the Falkland Islands are mentioned – "some tropical island" in the South Atlantic. But this beautiful group of islands isn't about beach culture, unless you're referring to penguins. There's plenty else to talk about, and we could go back to 1690 when English Captain John Strong made the first recorded visit… but that’s an article for another time.

 

 

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Topics: antarctic, expedition, falkland islands