So, how do you plan for your very own real Antarctica expedition? Fortunately, Thomas here at Indy in the Classroom found me a list. Let me highlight a few items:
800 lbs of meat and vegetable rations in tins to go with
1,600 lbs of finest york hams and
1,110 lbs of bacon middles not to be confused with
1,150 lbs of bacon rations 4 lb tins or 320 lbs of the same in 2 lb tins
That's quite a lot of meat. Maybe you would want 1,260 lbs of sardines too? (Shackleton did.) That doesn't include 5,228 lbs of meat bought in New Zealand on the way to Antarctica from England. You need a lot of meat (and other food stuffs) to feed dozens of men for 1-2 years. There was certainly no CostCo on Antarctica to refuel. Although in a way there was - on Elephant Island, the men ate Elephant Seals to survive. This worked until winter when the seals were smart enough to migrate away. Sealing and whaling are a whole other chapter about Antarctica I will cover later in the adventure.
They had to bring everything - ketchup and biscuits, teas and whisky, Pemmican (a meat mixture) and fish balls and roast reindeer. And don't forget plates, utensils and cups.
Beyond food, they brought ponies and a car; neither worked out too well. The nine dogs fared a bit better but in the end the men pushed their 30 sledges pretty much by hand.
9 cameras and various scientific instruments were brought along. And thousands of glass plates which were the film of the day. Plus, they developed the plates on site, so all of the development equipment came too. (Compare that to my 1 camera and its memory card, iPhone and MacBook Pro.)
For clothing, wool proved the best in terms of warmth. Where I am lined with synthetic Goretex, everything that Shackleton's party wore consisted of knitted or sewn materials. Cardigan sweaters were layered sometimes two or three at a time to create warmth. Gloves and mittens were crude but did the job - don't ever think about losing one though or you would find your fingers frost bitten within minutes in the winter. With this clothing had to come sewing equipment to repair rips and other mishaps.
In reality, back 100 years ago, you brought your own small research station with you.
And after New Zealand, if you didn't have it on the ship, then it wasn't going to materialize unless something was taken apart and rebuilt. This actually did happen as the Endurance collapsed. Segments were used to build platforms and other items to help haul the equipment to safety. Of course, it was a good thing Shackleton packed a bunch of tools to facilitate on site carpentry.
My final packing days before the trip were pretty standard. I had to make a run to the boating store for a dry bag. But I pretty much had or bought at REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) what I needed. Duffel bags were filled and ready to go the day before our flight to Miami. Shackleton planned for a few years to set up his voyage, and that was after he had been before. He took months to acquire and prepare all of his material.
So, as long as we didn't forget anything, we would be fine.
"Where's my purse?" echoed through my ears.
Plump, plop, plump, plop. Right. Left. Right. Left. I'm still running back to gate D2.
I can tell the plane is almost empty (good thing it was a big 767 or it would be closed already) from the trickle of people emerging. I slip past the last of the wheel chair bound passengers and a few flight attendants who are seemingly uninterested in why I am re-boarding the plane. (Actually, I found their apathy a bit alarming.)
And there under the seat is my wife's purse. Quick check - passport, connecting flight ticket, wallet, iPhone. Yep, all there untouched. Sigh of relief from me, and a big one from Rebecca when I get back to where I had left her with our other carry on baggage. Phew.
I doubt Shackleton ever would have let that happen on his journey!
In the next chapter, I will report in from Buenos Aires and talk about our briefing from the tour director. As always, give us feedback here or firstname.lastname@example.org. Real-time updates are on twitter and my blog RunLairdRun.com. Thanks for reading!