Antarctic Expedition - John Haddon

By Norma Green

Last February/March John had the enviable opportunity of accompanying Robert Swan on his international Inspire Arctic Expedition (IAE5).

Antarctica is threatened but protected by a Treaty until 2041. Robert's long term vision is to inspire today's youth to take an active interest in the environment. The IAE teams are helping by creating an Education Base (built this year) with connection to the Internet and with live transmissions from the base in Belinghaussen.

The IAE5 members came from 26 countries and many represented large corporations. They all met and got to know each other in Ushuaia, then boarded the MV Ushuaia for Belinghaussen in the South Shetland Islands.

After several days in Belinghaussen and witnessing the first live broadcast, the team left to explore the Antarctic Peninsular, landing frequently and experiencing the Antarctic's truly amazing scenery. Unlike tourists, the team had the great privilege of landing in several places each day and spending many hours absorbing the true atmosphere, watching wildlife, icebergs, glaciers and growlers. In fact they were passing when an ice cliff collapsed.

Landings were made in small Zodiacs, ensuring footwear was cleaned and disinfected before and after the landing. The team, in small groups, were also fortunate enough to be able to spend a night ashore in tents, a unique privilege since only a few hundred visitors have ever done so. No food could be cooked and all rubbish and human waste had to be taken back to the ship. The sunsets were superb and lasted some 3 hours!

The slide show accompanying John's talk was fascinating, showing stunning scenery. The message is that without doubt the Antarctic needs protecting from global warming and here we can all do our little bits to minimise environmental impact.

Our thanks to John for a memorable evening.

If anyone would like a summary with photographs of John's expedition, please contact Jane Fairclough on 01606 891131.