gmhTODAY 08 gmhToday May June 2016 - Page 92

“Despite the 30-degree water, I was never cold. It could have been my adrenaline that kept me warm, but I think it was the drysuit! After 25 years of diving I’ve learned how to conserve air to maximize my time underwater and enjoy each dive. It’s no fun having to come up early, because it’s cold sitting in the zodiac waiting for the rest of the group.” “We had to pay close attention to our equipment, especially our regulators, which are a diver’s lifeline. At 28-30 degree temperatures the equipment is on the edge of its ideal functioning range. We always carried an extra set in case one froze.” “With each dive, we had to suit up, climb from the ship into zodiac boats, put on our tanks, and then back-roll off the 92 zodiacs into the water below. After each dive we had to disassemble our gear and stow it back on the ship until the next dive. It was a lot of work because the gear had to be stowed on three different levels. After all, we were on an icebreaker, not a dive boat.” “After our dive, we went ashore for some sightseeing. From the Falklands, we travelled to South Georgia Island. During our dive there we explored the ocean floor, pushing aside the Ribbon Kelp to find all kinds of marine life hidden under- neath. The South Georgia landscape was outrageously beautiful and there were hundreds of thousands of king penguins. We spent hours observing them as they climbed up, slid down and dove off the ice and hitched rides on the icebergs.” GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2016 Remembering Ernest Shackleton Making the trip in 2016 held a special signifi cance for Laura because it marked the 100th anniversary of the end of Ernest Shackleton’s third expedition to Antarctica (1914-1916). That expedition could easily have ended in tragedy when Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, became trapped in ice and had to be abandoned before it sank. Stranded for nearly two years, drift- ing on ice fl ows with only a few lifeboats and dwindling provisions, he and his crew survived. Historic accounts show that it was largely due to Shackleton’s courageous lead- ership that not a single man’s life was lost.