Principia Travelers Reach “The Globe’s Remotest Bound”


Editor’s note: PLL traveler Richard Crandell (C’82) contributed his “Travel log” entries to this story. Photos courtesy of Albatros Expeditions.

WITH THE DEBUT OF ITS ANTARCTICA trip in January, Principia Lifelong Learning (PLL) has officially ventured to all seven continents. On January 15, after a solid 24 hours of travel, PLL travelers embarked on a week-long cruise through the icy waters at the southernmost tip of the globe. The group of nearly 50 Principia alumni and friends answered the call of the wild—sometimes literally—and enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime trip that was nothing short of pure adventure. Trekking ice-covered plains, kayaking with whales, exploring abandoned whaling sites, and sleeping on the frozen peninsula under a dusky sky were “just another day at the office” for these intrepid adventurers.

When the group wasn’t exploring the peninsula or waving a friendly (and distant) hello to the wildlife, they were engaged in the second “L” of PLL—learning. Onboard expedition guides and scientists offered stimulating lectures on wildlife, geography, the environment, and historical accounts of the first Antarctic explorers. Our scholars engaged even more deeply with nature via happywhale.com. Using photos of whale flukes, which are as unique to each whale as fingerprints are to humans, the website tracks and alerts people to the whales’ migration patterns. Some of our travelers uploaded their own photos and are now alerted every time “their whale” is spotted by others around the globe.

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Travelers were careful to fix any holes they made in the penguin highway, lest a penguin fall into the hole and get trapped.
Travel log January 20: Some people went kayaking in the snowy, foggy conditions, while the rest of us walked on the Antarctic Peninsula at Portal Point.
Travel log January 21: At Whalers’ Bay, we walked on the volcanic-cinder beach past the ruins of a British surveying station and a Norwegian whaling station.
Travel log January 17: Zodiac boats ferried us to the sandy shore of Barrientos Island, where we were entertained by Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins and their chicks.
Making friends and making memories. Adventurers discover some native wildlife
Anyone for a swim? Travelers partook in a polar dive in the frigid Antarctic waters. The experience was literally breathtaking.