There's a reason why they call it Adventure Travel. Things often don't go as planned. And while we are used to quickly shifting from plan A to plan B to plan C, our South Pole Last Degree Expedition / Vinson Combo made it all the way to plan "N" as in "Not This Year." Here's a recap:
You may recall that our team's departure for Antarctica was delayed due to the charter plane's flight crew testing positive for COVID. While a new flight crew was assembled our team was left with more than a week of waiting, during which time Omicron seemed to explode all over Chile; even making its way to Antarctica. Our team fell into the messy soup of "close contacts," "undetermined results," and some "positive" tests. It was determined that by the time quarantines were officially over there was not enough time left in the season to run the expedition this year.
This has been a major disappointment for everyone - and it's not over yet. We still have team members who are wrapping up quarantine and traveling home. Yet despite the frustrations associated with COVID and the roller coaster of emotions involved with the delays and unexpected turns of events, it has not been all bad. There were some awesome experiences both in Punta Arenas and Torres del Paine (see previous blog posts) and there were many good times simply hanging out with this special group of people.
As we take the first steps looking ahead from this adventure to the next, we're planning to come back. Same place, same time, next year. We're confident that by then the contagious Omicron variant will have burned COVID into a shell of its former self and that we can pick up once again, with this team, and head off to Antarctica for a remarkable South Pole expedition. We like to think that arriving at 90º S after this year's experience will only make it all feel that much sweeter.
On that note we will officially end this expedition's blog. A very special thanks to our rock solid team who, despite many setbacks, (and for some, still not being back home), handled this misadventure like the seasoned and adaptable expedition pros that they all are. We are so proud to have each of you on our team :)