December 29-30, 2016
There were lots of folks to say goodbye to yesterday morning as we left the ship for the last time. I couldn’t be more thankful to National Geographic, Lindblad Expeditions, and the staff and crew of the National Geographic Explorer for this incredible experience. Deserving of special thanks for their invaluable help throughout the trip are Sue Perin (Expedition Leader), Maartje Ruijgt (Assistant Expedition Leader), Ian Strachan (Naturalist, Photographer), Doug Gualtieri (Naturalist), Dr. Conor Ryan (Naturalist), Dierdre Mitchell (Naturalist), Jennifer Kingsley (Naturalist), Pete Puleston (Naturalist), Captain Oliver Kruess, Chief Officer Aaron Wood, Peter Mitchell (Undersea Specialist), Alyssa Adler (Undersea Specialist), Peter Webster (Undersea Specialist), Steve Morello (Naturalist, Photographer), Ken Garrett (Photographer), Dexter Sear (Videographer), and Mike Libecki (Climber, 2013 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year). The vast knowledge of these individuals helped make this trip profoundly educational for me.
After disembarking from the Explorer, I took the morning to walk along the Ushuaia waterfront. It was a great time for reflection, but I also ended up seeing two new species of gull – Dolphin Gull and Brown-hooded Gull – as well as Rock Shag and Crested Duck.
Before I knew it, though, we were loading onto a bus for the airport, and in a seemingly short 24 hours, I was back in the U.S.A. I had traveled from Ushuaia (42°F), to Buenos Aires (90°F), to Austin, Texas (50°F). These changes in climate allowed me to literally feel the distance that I was traveling.
Back in Austin now, it is my goal to bring my experiences over the past twelve days to my students through classroom activities on biodiversity, biogeography, and species interactions. I will be developing these activities over the next couple of months, and I plan to continue to post here as I do.
In the words of T.S. Eliot:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
Grosvenor Teacher Fellow
National Geographic Society