Antarctic Diary: March 11th – Ushuaia & Drake’s Passage

Position at 0700 on 11th March
Latitude: 56°18’6” S
Longitude: 068°24’8” W
Course: 130°
Speed: 15 kts
Barometer: 1002hpa
Air temp: 4° C
Sea temp: 1° C
Wind Speed: NW 6
Penguin count: 0
Whale count: 0

Hello everyone, and welcome to Upschool’s daily journal as we travel through Antarctica to create free inspiring educational programs for children around the world! It’s Day One and we’re already on board and on our way so let me get you up to speed. It’s time to meet the team!

As of last year in July 2022 when we went to the Arctic, this year I’ll be assisting with editing the written materials involved in the production of the educational videos, as well as writing this daily journal of our adventures in Antarctica! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Tanya Natalie. I own and operate a second-hand bookshop in Hornsby, NSW, Australia and I am also a professional editor, working with local and international writers on their manuscripts, be it fiction, fantasy, biography … or any form of writing, really!

Tanya Natalie

This year, our trip to Antarctica includes a team of FIVE! Apart from myself, we have Graeme Myburgh from Sydney, NSW, Australia – who you might remember also joined us on the Arctic trip last year. Two newbies joining us are Jordan Brun from Ogden, Utah, USA and Matt Iuliano from Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Finally, bringing together the team, we’ve got Upschool’s very own, very inspiring, Gavin McCormack from Sydney, NSW, Australia.

The Frosty Five!

Graeme is back on board with us as our photographer, capturing the vast, pristine beauty of the environment, and integrating his images into the lessons to inspire the children into action. Graeme and Jordan will be working together, using the photos to draw out artistic opportunities and inspiring children to create their own art from references around them. He is most excited “to photograph the plethora of Antarctic penguins that thrive in this icy region, especially the gigantic King Penguin”.

Jordan is our illustrator and visual arts curriculum coordinator, on board to create cross-curricula learning opportunities for the children, blending Visual Arts lessons with core curriculum to help reinforce and encourage academic growth. He’s on loan from the amazing people at Young Art, who promote visual arts education to underserved communities throughout the world, including, most recently, Costa Rica, Afghanistan and Nepal. He sees Antarctica as “an opportunity of a lifetime to be inspired by the wide vistas of this most unique continent”.

Matt is our videographer and he has been in the industry for over ten years, working in everything from documentary, to studio tv, to music videos. Matt will be working closely with Gavin and all of our guest speakers, producing and directing the cinematography to bring the wonders of the Antarctic into the classroom. To Matt, “Antarctica is a filmmaker’s dream, where every shot captures the raw beauty of nature’s unfiltered magnificence. It’s a place where the camera lens brings to life the majesty of icebergs, penguins and whales, and the awe-inspiring vastness of a world untouched by civilisation”.

Gavin, from Upschool, rounds out our team and brings 20+ years of educational training to the effort. He is the ambassador to Montessori Education in Australia, holding conferences around the world on purposeful education. In his spare time, if there is any, he writes children’s books, builds schools in Nepal and India, and occasionally runs a charity marathon or two. Antarctica, to Gavin, is “a place that reminds us of our responsibility to cherish and preserve this fragile planet we call home”.

So, that’s us! The Frosty Five!

I’m writing to you from Ushuaia, Argentina, where we are about to head off on this grand Antarctic adventure involving penguins, whales, leopard seals, elephant seals, and the albatross. If all goes to plan, we’ll be seeing at least one of each – please!

We’re so excited to be here, on behalf of, and to be creating educational programs for children all around the world to access for free – sponsored by the amazing Aurora Expeditions team! Through this Antarctic opportunity, we are hoping to be able to produce four purposeful educational programs;

  1. The Solar System and Beyond. This is an education journey from Earth to deep space.
  2. The Power of One. Through this program, we learn life’s greatest lessons from the natural world of Antarctica.
  3. Young Art USA. In this cross-curriculum program, we use nature as the backdrop for creativity and artistic expression.
  4. Animal Stories. This program involves seeing life through the eyes of the Antarctic animals.

At the moment, we’re on board the ship Greg Mortimer and soon, we’ll be heading towards the Drake Passage. For now, though, it’s time to go meet the crew and do a few essential emergency, health & training drills.

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Love from the Frosty Five!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt