Saturday, December 3, 2011

Getting Published & Re-living Antarctica: Articles in The Island

As another Christmas draws closer I realise that it is almost a year since I travelled to Antarctica and fulfilled a life long goal of travelling to all seven continents.  Last month I got to relive this experience when I was given two tickets for a free 3 course lunch at the Antarctic Experience, put on by National Geographic and a number of sponsors.

It was a cold, wet day even though it was the middle of Spring but I was determined to wake up early and make the trip to Darling Harbour.  We were a little tired as we had been at Steve’s nieces 17th birthday the night before.  Yet we were undeterred by the cold conditions, which seemed strangely fitting as we were celebrating all things Antarctica.  We watched videos and heard lectures about the history, wildlife and adventure challenges in one of the remotest and least travelled places on earth.  During lunch we were truly fortunate to listen to lectures from Don and Margie McIntyre – the couple who spent a year living in Antarctica; Ian Brown, who was a member of the first Australian party to walk to the South Pole, in 1997 and David Johnson, who was the founder of the Mawson’s Hut Foundation.  We found it incredibly inspiring to be in the presence of explorers and adventures such as them and listened in awe as they gave us an inkling into what it must be like to have experienced such things.  Don and Margie McIntyre’s had an incredible year-long stay, alone at Commonwealth Bay, in tiny Gadget Hut, which measured 2.4 x 3.6m.  During the winter, they would stay trapped inside for days with the longest period being 20 days.  They talked about going to sleep in bedding that was damp in freezing cold conditions and how they got through this ordeal!  I certainly didn’t envy them this adventure and would never wish to experience this myself!

A week after our Antarctica experience, I hear that the article I sent to Sri Lanka on Antarctica has been published. Here it is:

A visit to Antarctica

November 25, 2011, 7:52 pm

JPEGS  2010 12 28 Paulet Island-29

The snow is lightly falling as I fly in to Ushuaia at the tip of the South American continent in Argentina. I am in one of the remotest places on earth and yet it is quite a bustling little city, full of people either completing a Patagonian adventure or beginning an Antarctic adventure.There is a palpable sense of excitement in the lobby as we hear our ship has just come in to shore. I am chatting to Angela, a fellow passenger on the expedition ship that will take us to the Antarctic continent. In a few days I will accomplish my dream of travelling to all seven continents before I turn fifty and spend both Christmas and New Year in Antarctica. Life does not get more exciting than this.

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Sculptures by the Sea

We took advantage of a break from the rain and enjoyed a sunny November day at one of the most popular exhibitions held in Sydney - Sculptures By the Sea.  More than one hundred exhibits are installed along one of the most panoramic coastal walks in this city between Tamarama and Bondi Beach.  We drive to Coogee and start the walk there because finding parking close to this exhibition will be challenging. 

It is a beautiful day.  We admire the views and enjoy the warmth of the sun, which we haven’t seen much of this spring. 

There are as many people enjoying a swim or lying along the many beaches we pass, as there are people on the path enjoying the exhibition.  This is a great celebration of the outdoor life that Sydneysiders love so much.  It must be pretty challenging for the artists as the exhibits must withstand being outdoors drenched by frequent rain, roasted by the sun and weather beaten by the rough coastal winds that blow along these parts.

One of the favourites with the visitors appear to be the red boy series, presented by one of China’s leading contemporary sculptors – Chen Wenling.  I read that he grew up making toys out of clay because his family were too poor to buy him toys.  Yet, he counts himself lucky as is parents encouraged his autistics abilities and he went on to study at some of China’s leading universities!  A reminder to all of us that artistic talent must be nurtured, encouraged and given opportunities to flourish!

IMG_5874-5Red is an auspicious and symbolic colour in China and Chen has chosen this to depict the nostalgia of our childhood and to question the meaning of our adult life.

Another crowd favourite appears to be the giant tap where people line up to take their turn, posing as if they were having a shower.  The exhibit is titled, “Who left the tap running?” and is positioned over the ocean which is meant to be a giant sink!  The artists explains that it is a humorous way to generate discussion about climate change and rising sea levels and his exhibit has already won him a $10K Sydney Water and Environmental prize!


As we stop to admire the sculptures we wonder if the natural beauty of our surroundings are competing for attention with the man-made sculptures we have come to see.  The sculptures of course have been designed for an exact spot in this outdoor gallery but the permanent occupants of this space such as the weathered windswept rock seen below is just as beautiful as the red boy or the Easter Island replicas.  IMG_5898-12


I would certainly recommend you spend a day by this fabulous cliff edge walk and enjoy the show that sculptors from around the world have put on for you!  Here are a few more photos from this entertaining day out!

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook