Helicoptering to Snow Hill Island

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Image: A view of Kapitan Khlebnikov in the Weddell Sea from a helicopter, Antarctica. iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held.

When we woke up on Day 5, I went up to the bridge to capture a shot of where we were on the computer map.  The ship had made it to a mere 6 miles from the colony!

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Image: A computer map of our location in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held.

All of the passengers were divided up into 6 groups and I was one of the earlier groups to head out to the island that day.  Since we were so close to the island, the ride was only 5-10 minutes, depending on which helicopter I rode in.  

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Image: The Russian helicopter that transported passengers to Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held.

As we took off, I attempted to capture various shots of the scenery and ship in the surrounding sea ice.  It was quite a sight. I was too nervous to use my DSLR camera since this was my first helicopter ride and I wasn’t sure how steady it would be, so I used my iPhone to capture all of the images in this blog post.

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Image: A view of Kapitan Khlebnikov in the Weddell Sea from a helicopter, Antarctica. iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held.

We flew over miles of sea ice in the Weddell Sea and I saw large icebergs protruding from the flat ice.  Occasionally I saw a large solitary seal, but I was unable to identify the species.   As we got closer to the iceberg shown below, I realized that we were close to our landing location marked by a flag.

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Image: An iceberg surrounded by sea ice in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held from a helicopter.

Upon landing on the sea ice, we were directed to the bright yellow tent for further instructions.  The tent was about a mile away from the Emperor penguin colony and served several purposes.  It was a refuge against the cold temperatures but also contained food and water since no food was allowed at the colony to preserve the wilderness.  

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Image: The base tent on sea ice near Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held from a helicopter.

After walking carefully to the tent, I turned around to see the helicopter take off to fly back to the ship to pick up the next round of passengers.  With two helicopters flying at the same time, all passengers made it to the island in about 2 hours (by 8:30am).  

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Image: Our helicopter taking off from sea ice in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held.

I was fascinated by the helicopters landing on the sea ice next to Snow Hill Island and took a short video of that scene.

After learning that we were allowed to stay 9.5 hours at the colony with the penguins, I began the trek across the sea ice following the flags and footsteps of those before me.  The Emperor penguins were awaiting…

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Image: The makeshift path to the Emperor penguin colony on sea ice in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held.

Author: Dr. Amy Novotny

Dr. Amy Novotny founded the PABR® Institute with the mission to provide pain, stress and anxiety relief to those who seek a naturalistic form of treatment when other treatment methods have fallen short. Her unique approach comes from her experience treating in a variety of settings and with a wide range of patient populations over the past 12 years. Her background in orthopedics, sports, geriatrics, balance disorders, nerve injuries, and most recently, chronic pain; and influences from coursework at the Postural Restoration Institute gave her the foundation to develop this treatment method to address a wide variety of painful and restrictive conditions. Her methods have helped countless people reduce and eliminate pain, stress, anxiety, orthopedic surgeries, sleep issues and the need for medications. She co-authored two Amazon #1 Best-Selling books Don’t Quit: Stories of Persistence, Courage and Faith and Success Habits of Super Achievers, which share her journey on how and why she developed the PABR® Method. Her ability to speak French and Spanish has allowed her to communicate with and help various clients from all around the world, including France, Mexico, Central America and South America. She has a variety of interests including running 40+ marathons, running 10 ultra marathons (including two 100 milers), completing an Ironman triathlon, photographing wildlife and landscapes all over the world that has led to several of her images being chosen as Photos of the Day, most notably National Geographic Your Shot World Top Photo of the Day. Visit her photography portfolio here!

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