Archive for the ‘Potpourri’ Category

From ZZ Top to Brad Pitt

March 18th, 2010 at 8:55 am (AST) by Jake Richter

My experiment with untamed hair growth as part of our Antarctic experience was interesting. I decided in mid-December that my haircut at the time would be the last I would have until I returned from cold climes. Likewise, I stopped trimming my beard at the same time.

The rationale was that more hair on my head and face would keep me warmer. That part was certainly true. I think my face and head were warmer during the few cold spells we encountered. What I hadn’t figured on was that having a huge mass of fur on my chin would get to be really annoying after a while, but for no tangible reason – it just was annoying.

While in Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, I decided I needed a barbershop to get rid of the facial growth, and bumped into Andrew Evans, fellow blogger and passenger, who was looking for exactly the same thing. His beard was bugging him too.

Andrew and I showing off our manly face fuzz in Stanley

Andrew and I showing off our manly face fuzz in Stanley

Andrew and I were unsuccessful in our barbershop quest – all we could find was a beauty parlor in a supermarket and just seemed like the wrong place for a beard-cut, so the beards stayed until the end of our trip.

At the end of our journey, nearly a week after the above photo, I looked like this – almost a member of ZZ Top:

This is Jake after two and a half months of no haircuts or beard trims (at the airport in Ushuaia)

This is Jake after two and a half months of no haircuts or beard trims (at the airport in Ushuaia)

As soon as we got to Miami, I bought a cheap beard trimmer and whacked that beard right down to size, and a week later, after we got back home to Bonaire, our friend Barbel came over and gave all the Richters nice, short, haircuts. I took care of my own beard trimming, though.

A freshly shorn Jake back home on Bonaire

A freshly shorn Jake back home on Bonaire

So maybe not quite the Brad Pitt look, but at least life is now back to normal (more or less). And I feel well groomed once again.

Andrew ended up getting his trim too – check the photos in his Tweet.


Chilean Earthquake Impact

February 27th, 2010 at 9:37 am (AST) by Jake Richter

We’ve received some e-mails from our readers asking whether we are impacted at all by the massive earthquake (8.8 on the Richter Scale – no relation) that hit Chile early this morning and caused loss of life and lots of damage in Santiago, Valparaiso, and other places we recently visited. The earthquake also generated a sizable tsunami – large enough to cause tsunami warnings from Antarctica to Australia.

We’re able to report that we are east of the Falklands at the present, which also puts us east of Argentina and the other side of South America from Chile, so the earthquake and tsunami are not affecting our ship in any way.

Whether the earthquake and tsunami will impact our travels at the end of next week remains to be seen, however, as we were to return to Santiago next Thursday, and then go on to Easter Island on Friday (and Easter Island is due west of the Chilean coast).

More importantly, our hearts and hopes are with those in Chile affected by this horrible natural disaster. We especially hope that all the new friends and acquaintances we made in Chile a couple of weeks ago are okay.


What is the Antarctic?

February 18th, 2010 at 2:29 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

One thing that confused us, and undoubtedly many others, was what exactly entailed “being in Antarctica”.

Fortunately, governmental decree and agreement has helped define that for us in the form of the Antarctic Treaty, which was put in force in 1961 by a coalition of countries.

It defines Antarctica as being all lands and ice shelves south of 60° South Latitude, which includes places as far north as the South Orkney Islands, where we’ll be tomorrow; Elephant Island, where we were today; and of course, the Antarctic Peninsula, where we were the three days prior.

The Antarctic circle, which is at 66° 33′ 39”, defines the region below (south of) which the sun will not set on the day of the winter solstice in December (summer in Antarctica), and will not rise on the day of the summer solstice in June (winter in Antarctica).

And finally, there’s the Subantarctic. This is the area north of 60° south latitude, north some degrees to include nearby islands, such as South Georgia Island (where we will be on Saturday for a week or so). There is no hard and fast definition of where the sub-Antarctic ends, with islands as far north as the Falkland Islands (where we will be in about 10 days) being included in the Subantarctic (or sub-Antarctic if you prefer).

Hope that clears it up! It certainly did for us.


Taking a Polar Plunge in Antarctic Waters

February 17th, 2010 at 9:51 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Our only landing today was inside the caldera of a dormant volcano. The location was a place called Deception Island, which last erupted in 1970. The caldera is actually open to the ocean, and thus filled with frigid water. There’s a rumor that heat from the volcanic substrate heats the water and earth there, but no evidence of that was found today.

After a morning exploration of a derelict whaling station which is now a historical landmark, a dozen or so hardy souls (yours truly definitely not among them), braved a polar plunge into waters right around freezing temperature.

Brave (and insane) fellow passengers plunge into frigid waters in Deception Island

Brave (and insane) fellow passengers plunge into frigid waters in Deception Island

I have compiled 14 photos into a short 30 second slide show video with suitable music. The guy leaping into the water during the middle of the slide show is our fellow blogger Andrew Evans (@bus2antarctica on Twitter). The slide show is below:

Update – February 18, 2010: I have been informed by Abby, one of the participants in the plunge, that the bearded fellow is actually Justin, another passenger on the ship who looks a lot like Andrew (@bus2antarctica). Sorry about the confusion!


We’re Getting Almost Famous!

February 17th, 2010 at 3:16 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

So maybe not really famous, but Lindblad Expeditions, the folks who operate the National Geographic Explorer from which we’re presently enjoying our three week exploration of Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic, just posted a news item on their site about The Traveling Richters.

You can see their post here.

And our fellow blogger/traveler, Andrew Evans, also just tweeted about us on Twitter.


How to Get Traveling Richters Updates

February 4th, 2010 at 5:36 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Some of you may be aware that you can sign up on this site to get e-mail notification of new posts (scroll down  and look for the “Subscribe by E-Mail” box on the right hand side of the main page, for example).

Those of you with a bit more blog experience may be using a blog reader or aggregator that uses our RSS feeds and provides them to you automatically.

Just now, I installed yet another way for you to monitor for new posts, thanks to a new plug-in I found for our WordPress blog software. The plug-in is called “Tweet This“, and what it does is send a “tweet” to Twitter every time I make a new post either here in The Traveling Richters blog or over on my Foodie Moment blog (where there are a couple of new posts today).

If you didn’t understand the above paragraph – no worries. The important thing is that as of this post you can then follow us on Twitter at to see short notices about new posts in our blogs.

More tomorrow from Aruba, hopefully. Note that we will not be sending out e-mails about our travels during our trip – all Traveling Richters trip information from the Antarctic will appear exclusively here.