January 3rd Friday: The Tail of the Southern Continent – Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula

For more than four decades, each month CWB has presented a speaker of wit and experience to talk about his or her special knowledge. It is also an opportunity for CWB members to meet one another and the staff. The program runs from 7pm to 9pm, with opportunities to ask questions. January’s 3rd Friday presentation will be held on January 19.

When Bill Gartz, President of The Center for Wooden Boats’ Board of Trustees, and a friend made plans to celebrate their joint birthday, they wanted a new adventure. And what an adventure they got: Antarctica! As a mountain climber, kayaker, sailor, diver, and armchair student of the southern continent, Antarctica called to Bill for its sheer purity and alien-ness “as close to space as I’ll ever get”.

Bill’s presentation will take the 3rd Friday audience from Seattle to Fin del Mundo, the “end of the earth” at the southern tip of South America, where they’ll embark on a converted Russian research ship. They’ll sail down the Beagle Channel of Darwin fame before crossing the Furious Fifties/Screaming Sixties latitude and the notorious Drake Passage – which sometimes is only “Drake’s Lake” to the Antarctic Circle.

More adventure: Meet Shackleton’s grand-daughter and scientists describing the variety of ice, icebergs, winds, wildlife, and the differences between the Arctic and Antarctic. After crossing the Antarctic Circle, explore abandoned British, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Argentinian bases from the great age of exploration. Cruise though islands, icebergs and the Lemaire Channel to watch glaciers calve and the luminesce of sky, water and ice.

Get up close to the wildlife of the southern-ocean: humpback whales, ferocious leopard seals, pelagic sea birds, and an assortment of waddling penguins seen nowhere else. Explore kayaking and swimming (yes, swimming!) in the coldest water on earth. And before heading back to Camp Horn across the Drake Passage, visit Deception Island and an abandoned old whaling base now reverted to a natural habitat.

In his personal and professional life as an architect, Bill Gartz has traveled to all seven continents and more than 70 countries. So as a contrast, he will conclude his presentation with the similarities between Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands, half a world away on the Equator.

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