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The southern realms: Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica, and Tierra del Fuego

Wed, 2014-02-19

Please join the Los Alamos Mountaineers for an evening with Bill Priedhorsky and Melissa Bartlett as they share their unique perspectives, as mountaineer and artist, of Antarctica, the 7th continent.

Antarctica is bare and without color, but the seas that fringe it are full of life. Penguins, seabirds, whales and seals abound, making up in number for the small number of species. For many years, the Antarctic was the domain of explorers and scientists, but in recent years a tourist trade has burgeoned. This year, about 40,000 passengers will visit, mostly in cruise ships.

Melissa and Bill were two of them. They visited this most remote part of the world in November, 2013, on the good ship Sea Spirit. At sea for 21 days, they visited the windswept Falkland islands, more British than England itself; the Antarctic oasis of South Georgia, home to various seals and unique bird species, not to mention penguins in the hundreds of thousands; the steaming sands of the South Shetland islands; and Antarctica itself, where penguins sit on icefloes just like a New Yorker cartoon.

They share their highlights of the trip, which includ the camaraderie of the 75 passengers, drawn from the breadth of the English-speaking world and beyond; Bill’s escape from a savage fur seal; penguin colonies of 150,000 breeding pairs and the smell that went with them; baby elephant seals, as cute as the parents were homely; icy peaks on South Georgia that might have inspired Dr. Suess; and the icebergs and sea ice of Antarctic waters.


After the voyage came to an end, in Ushuaia, Argentina, they spent another week exploring the environs of that southernmost city in the world. Theirs was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that should be considered for everyone’s bucket list.


Bill Priedhorsky has been a Mountaineer since 1979, leading dozens of adventures, especially to the Utah/Arizona canyon country, but this sea-borne adventure was a first for him.


Melissa Bartlett is an artist specializing in pets, wildlife, and landscapes, and an associate member of the Pastel Society of America. She can often be found sketching and painting while husband Bill flyfishes or climbs the nearby challenging peak.

Trip Location: 
United States
54° 46' 2.2584" S, 68° 19' 16.68" W

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