Monday, 9 April 2012

Packing up

Last days carry very often a melancholic tune, and this one doesn't want to make a difference, either: The skies are grey and devoid of any silhouettes, the few cargo ships that we see are not precisely a sight for sore eyes. So down with the blinds and listen to the lectures one more time. But wait, instead of looking at this day and thinking about leaving - why not look ahead and make plans for the future...?
"A year on FRAM" is the title of a photographic and video collage portraying the adventures of our brave ship throughout the year. There are many thrilling destinations, Greenland, Svalbard, and - of course - Antarctica. So esteemed follower of the Blog, have a look at these appetizers and contemplate the great wide world together with us!
Very often we get asked which one of these exciting regions we'd prefer. Impossible to answer to that, they all have unique features. Look at Greenland for example where you find undoubtedly the greatest variety, manly dominated by the fact that it is the home of the Inuit people who have lived there for about 8000 years by now, coming in from the North! They are the real ice people, and their way of adapting to the violent nature has created traditions that are still valid and important for survival and daily life, from the extremely sophisticated way of clothing to their music, their coexistence with the dogs, and their hunting skills with the Kayak. Here you find the harmony between landscape, ice and people. That's Greenland for you.
if you like it rougher, if you want to increase the chance of seeing polar bear by a huge factor, Svalbard would be the place to go, the archipelago that spans the unbelievable latitudes from 74 to 80 degrees North. There's no indigenous people here, a mere 2000 souls live in this wilderness, most of them in Longyearbyen. No ports, no piers, only us and a nature that is swarming with animals. Long and exhausting hikes await those who want, always guarded by our armed guides. Seeing a live polar bear on the same speck of land you are just walking on leaves an impression so intense that you will carry it with you for the rest of your life.
How to beat that...? Well, you can try, on the most remote continent there is - Antarctica. Twice the size of Europe, it is covered to 97 percent with ice, up to four and a half kilometers thick. Only to get there you have to cross more than 1000 km of wildest ocean, but then you are part of a privileged minority on this planet, having seen the largest wilderness there is. Antarctica dwarfs everything by it's sheer size, it has the potential to change you. If you let the continent do it, you'll be coming back as a different person. In a good way, you get a very healthy understanding of scale and vulnerability that we tend to have forgotten in our civilized world.
FRAM goes to all these destinations every year, and we are constantly working on new ideas to enlarge our portfolio, be it in Europe or in the far ends of this world. So, the inspiration of possible voyages in the futures makes up for the thought that this is the final day of this trip. The Captain's quotation of Mark Twain during his farewell speech sums it up nicely: in 20 years from now we will be more disappointed by the things we didn't do than by the things we did do...
We wish you all a safe trip home. It would be great to see you again here on our FRAM, somewhere on this planet. See you then!