Frankly Speaking ....
- Robert M. Franklin
- A JOURNEY TO ANTARCTICA
Humbled and excited to fulfill this dream to trod all seven continents during the sixth decade of my trodding the earth. Grateful to God, family and friends for support. This pilgrimage also satisfies intellectual and spiritual curiosities. Why are the polar regions so forbidding on a planet blessed/enabled/created by a loving deity? How does weather here impact global weather (cleansing atmosphere of CO2)? How are the few forms of life that thrive here doing? And, if, as Richard Rodriguez claims, the God of western monotheism meets humans in the desert, the mountain and the cave, is God speaking here also? I am trying to embrace the windiest, darkest, coldest place on earth (record temp. -136 degrees). And, I wanted to pay tribute to the pioneers that trekked, explored and mapped this place 100 years ago (Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton). Is something more hiding here awaiting discovery? I hope you will come and experience the mystical, geometric, irrational beauty and embrace of this continent , so claimed in 1840. — in Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica
This evening, set sail from the southern tip of Argentina for Antarctica. I have longed to visit the coldest, driest, windiest place on earth, another great setting for theological reflection. Whisper a prayer as we enter Drakes Passage in a few hours, one of the fiercest places on the planet. We have been warned. Poseidon, be kind. — at Ushuaïa, Tierra del Fuego - Fin del Mundo .Click here to see photos
First sighting of the Antarctic continent. Good to walk on land. Chinstrap Penguins eating and nursing eggs. (Near the nest beds, smells intensely like 5 day old fish.) Click here to see photos.
- December 15
Click here to see photos
- December 16
I just completed climbing Mt. Neko in Antarctica in honor of Toni Mosley. I wanted those who love her to be aware that she inspired this former president to do something unprecedented inspired by her unflagging life force. Click here to see photos
Why am I not wearing a hat or have an open jacket? After climbing mountain, body temp feels like 95 degrees in ATL. They urge us to cool down (as penguins do) by opening the garments for 3 minutes. Or, lay down and chill like the seal you see here.
The temperature fluctuates wildly. http://www.timeanddate.com/weather/antarctica/south-pole
BTW, as I write this, our small ship just crashed into an iceberg. No need to worry, we are creeping not speeding (like Titanic) but I'm going up to check. We are moving slowly through an ice field. More later. Click here to see photos
December 18Finally arrived at our research destination, the National Antarctic Scientific Center. These courageous souls led by Andrei here are focusing on meteorology, upper atmospheric physics, geomagnetism, ozone, seismology, glaciology, ecology, biology and physiology research. Their findings suggest gradual warming is occurring. Expressed my appreciation for their commitment to balancing science and religion with this tiny "church" attached to the labs. Unfortunately, my limited Russian language skills were, shall we say, 'unwelcome' by these proud Ukrainians who don't appreciate Russian domination at home. How do they spend an entire year in this harsh environ? Faith helps. Opened the door for Emory, Chautauqua and SpelHouse affiliations and visits. — at Antartica Research Outpost. Click here to see photos