Dylan Polacek, i2P Youth Ambassador

Our expedition is only two weeks away and I am doing everything I can to prepare. The suspense and excitement is building and I cannot wait to leave. However, these past weeks have been filled with work and planning, as well as some obstacles.

I have received emails from Students on Ice describing what needs to be done and what we need to pack. They have provided a list of reading materials meant to prepare ourselves academically for Antarctica. The papers and books are long, but they are extremely helpful and interesting. It is an amazing feeling to learn of this extreme continent and know that I will soon be seeing it for myself. Aside from the reading, I am also preparing for the work I will be doing with the I2P team. This will mainly involve blogging, journaling, photographing and videotaping. I have begun preparing a notebook for reading notes, journaling and other uses while on the ship.

Aside from the work, I have also been preparing my clothing. I live in Florida, where the climate is hot and humid year round. Therefore, packing for a trip to Antarctica is somewhat difficult. Fortunately, I have a friend who is letting me borrow many of the things I need. I also went to a ski shop to get a parka and waterproof boots. I need about three layers of clothing for when we get to Antarctica, as well as hats, gloves and wool socks.

Recently, the ship chartered for the expedition, the M/V Ushuaia, ran aground on the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Fortunately, the passengers were evacuated safely. However, the damage done to the hull of the ship is potentially enough to cancel the trip. After all the excitement that I have had these past weeks from preparing for the expedition, nothing could have upset me more. I thought about the situation after reading numerous articles, and I finally took a different approach. This obstacle actually showed me how fortunate I am to have been chosen, and how thankful I should be. The delicate line between going to Antarctica and having the trip called off created an experience that will put an impact on this expedition. Now, the ship has been able to move on its own and a repair is scheduled. If all goes well, M/V Ushuaia will be ready to set sail once again.

Dylan Polacek
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