For the last 5 days I have been in New Zealand getting ready for the expedition. Christchurch is earthquake prone and the most recent devastating one in the town was Feb 22, 2011. Christchurch Cathedral suffered extreme damage as did much of the central business district and suburbs. And many lives were lost. Even after all this time there is still a lot of quake damage visible and re-building continues.
They are also suffering from a drought which was evident by the out of control wildfires I could see from my hotel window as well as the plane I took to Invercargill. Global warming reveals itself in many ways.
I took a trip outside of town to see what the country side has to offer. The drive is through very windy and hilly roads with steep gullies on the side. I was very disappointed that there weren’t more places to pull over to capture the extraordinary scenery, but even I wont risk death by bus for a beauty shot! The mountains are quite beautiful even though the land is quite parched.
I went to the seaside village of Akarao, which is Maori for Long Harbour. It has a very surprising (to me) French influence as apparently it was, after the Maori of course, a French Settlement in 1840. The views along the bay were stunning.
Many people have been sending me messages about the CBS NEWS reports from Antarctica. I did communicate quite heavily with them back in November and December. They told me that they felt there was no real story and asked for more information. I sent them (ok, not so smart) all the information on what I intended and why. The head of Evening News went quiet and wouldn’t return my phone calls and 60 Minutes said there was no hook. Imagine my surprise when I see a tweet the other day describing what they were doing “going to the most remote part of the world to report live” on the situation of climate change in Antarctica. Word for word…
But the truth is they are not at one of the most remote places in Earth..every year 10’s of thousands of people can easily get to the peninsula where they are shooting from and the story they are doing has been told many times over, by me included.
Where I am going is a different story. I AM going to one of the most remote places on Earth. The Amundsen Sea to film up close the great melt that is taking place there. 7 land based Glaciers in an unstoppable melt down that will ultimately raise seas levels by 10 meters/32 feet. The seas are rough and the temperatures are incredibly cold so I am not sure how my equipment, or I for that matter, will stand up.
I have been having satellite video phone issues so I am not sure that I can send photos/video from where I will be, but as often as I can I will send reports on what is happening. My trusted producers working on this are Lori Knight and Patty Hartwell, who will be updating my Facebook pages, twitter feeds and my website jferderrankinphotography.com
I also need to thank Jane Ellis and the team at Earth Sea Sky New Zealand. They have been so very kind and generous to sponsor my clothing on this trip! Including an ECW Antarctica Parka, hats, base layers, etc! They even altered them as I was talking so that the fit is perfect for a vertically challenged one such as myself! The team is incredible and their ethos is sustainability. The clothes are built to last. An amazing example is this parka which is from the 1957-58 Sir Edmund Hillary Expedition to the South Pole that Roger Ellis, the founder of the company and Jane's father in-law designed and manufactured! It looks brand new!
Today I board the M/V Ortelius. I must be honest and say that I am getting a bit nervous. 32 days in the Southern Ocean with no way off if you decide you don’t like it…Will my equipment work in the cold temperatures?…will the seas be too rough to go out and shoot?...Will I be able to capture the majesty and the magnitude of what is happening out there?
Watch this space…