Homeward Bound participant Fern Hames provides a window into the paradise that was day 10 of the voyage

Today we literally went to Paradise – well, Paradise Bay, which is completely aptly named. A stunning, snowy, mountainous landscape, reflected in the deep blue sea of the Gerlache Strait. We are in the pack ice; a loose mosaic of ice slabs and chunks which the ship slices through, pushing the ice aside in a grinding, booming, resolute steadiness. We are transfixed; we hang over the edge of the deck rails watching it, and looking out for Crabeater seals basking on the ice. We explore the landscape in the zodiacs; in awe at convoluted icebergs, an ice wall 60 metres high, and the gorgeous evening light on Anvers Island.

Earlier in the day, we’d spent a good amount of time exploring how to increase our visibility as leaders, led by Julia May. Lots of insights here, and some good, thoughtful exercises to explore visions, and what we would like to be ‘known for’. Justine Shaw also delivered a wonderful presentation on Antarctic Terrestrial Biodiversity; the limitations to life here, the physiological stressors, and some descriptions of the species which are tough enough to live here; the two vascular plants, the mosses, lichens, rotifers, nematodes, mites, tardigrades… Mary-Anne Lea added to this with some background on Physical Processes and ecosystem linkages in the poles; ranging around Fronts and Habitats, and some astonishing facts about the capabilities of Elephant seals, in particular.

“We are more microbial than we are human.” Nicole Webster

We continued our Symposium@Sea presentations from participants on their areas of expertise; such a diversity of stories about krill, plant productivity, talking with policy makers, urbanised oceans, getting things wrong, the kraken, climate change adaption planning, ‘mainstreaming’ Mother Nature, microbes (“we are more microbial than human”), food safety in a changing world, threatened species management, and a very, very funny presentation about measurements. Thanks to everyone who presented.

“Antarctica’s ice free land is only 0.3% of the area, but is home to 99% of the

biodiversity.” Justine Shaw

So a great day; some leadership learning, some science sharing, and some exploring absolutely stunning places in these Antarctic lands. And then there was the dancing….

Read more about Fern Hames on our Participants page.

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