Oceans 57, RTW: Almost to Antarctica

Hate to go all map-crazy on you, but another one is in order here. Reason is, as I said before, I worked in Australia as a TV news producer and newspaper copy editor, and am embarrassed to admit I knew nothing about that island off its coast, Tasmania. Not to say you’re as ignorant as I was, but just want to make sure we’re all on the same map — even if that map ain’t the greatest.

Tasmania (the purple island Australian state) is off the coast of the red state (for purposes of this map; it’s not a Red State as we know it) of Victoria. It’s about an hour’s flight from Melbourne. That wasn’t part of my round-the-world ticket with AirTreks. It was a flight on Qantas’ discount airline, Jetstar.  Cheap and on time. What a concept.

Tasmania is so far south, it’s as close as you can get to Antarctica from Australia — roughly the distance between the East Coast and the Rockies. That’s why Hobart, the capital, is the jumping-off point. And why the wildlife off Tasmania, in the very South Pacific, isn’t all that much different.

The French ship, the Institut Polaire, back from Antarctica, is holed up in Hobart’s harbor for the winter.

As you might expect with a name like that, the ship does a lot of research. (I was nicely pressing for an impromptu tour, but was just as nicely told there wasn’t much to see on board.)

Australia has its own presence in Antarctica.

And a museum that explains, in chilling detail, what it’s like.

Now that’s cold.

But nothing like what those who went there experienced.

March of the Penguins — from exhibit photo.

Up next: Little Red Riding Hood, as close to Antarctica as she may ever get.

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