In the words of Jerry Schoendorf, our South Territory Account Manager, it was a “Mission Accomplished” trip to Antarctica. From February 2nd-13th, Jerry visited Antarctica, adventuring to the seventh and final continent left on his list. It has been Jerry’s long-term goal since a child to visit all 7 continents and he has achieved his goal!
Check out the details below to learn more about Jerry’s trip to Antarctica, some of his past travels, and where he is off to next!
- Where in Antarctica did you go and what was your favorite place?
I went to the South Shetland Islands, Gerlache Strait, Weddell Sea, and all around the Antarctica Peninsula. My favorite destination was the Weddell Sea. I was fortunate enough to have a captain and crew (all Russian and Ukrainian) both skilled and willing to make the trip. This area is known to have numerous giant tubular icebergs which make the area tricky to maneuver, so many captains won’t go. Some of the icebergs are ten stories high and multiple city blocks wide!
- What were some of the activities you did while you were there?
I toured inlets and bays that haven’t been touched by man in zodiac rafts. We visited centuries old whaling outposts that were littered with giant whale skeletons preserved by the cold climate. We also hiked among thousands of penguins with their newborn chicks and went whale watching. The Humpback Whales were so incredible and definitely the coolest animal I saw on my trip.
- Since you were traveling alone, did you meet any interesting people?
I met a lot of people from the United States and Canada who share my same passion for traveling and a desire to see the world. I also met a professional nature photographer from Russia, a Marine Biologist from Australia, and an eight-year-old child prodigy classical pianist from China who were traveling with me.
- What is the Antarctic culture like?
There is no culture in Antarctica because the only people allowed to stay overnight on the continent are scientists and researchers. They stay at the various research stations located across the continent. There are no permanent residents and no other structures of any kind. The Antarctic treaty (signed by 53 countries as of 2016) protects Antarctica from any development and perseveres the continent for scientific research. They only allow 100 visitors to be on land at any given time and there are strict procedures and protocols in place to protect the land:
- All clothing worn must be rinsed and disinfected
- All pockets must be emptied and vacuumed out to prevent the introduction of foreign organisms
- No food or drink can be brought on land
- Visitors are not allowed to “answer the call of nature” on land
- Outside of your recent adventure, what has been your favorite place to travel?
It’s hard to choose just one place. I like the unique traditions and rituals of Bali, Indonesia – the blend of Hindu and Buddhist cultural elements are fascinating to me. In Japan, I appreciate the order, integration of advanced technology, and respect for nature and elders. In Italy, the attitude, zest for life, and food was remarkable and the severity, tenacity, and sacredness of Tibet was unparalleled.
- Where to next?
I plan to travel to parts of Central Europe that I haven’t been including Southern Germany, Western Austria, and Luxembourg.
Stay tuned to find out more about Jerry’s adventures!