Humpback Whales

Some amazing footage from Anthony and Gena’s antarctic adventure, including a calving glacier and humpback whales up real close.  This was shot on December 23 in Neko Harbour (where the wedding ceremony took place) by Jim Napoli, the official “Video Chronicler” for the expedition.  (Note that Anthony and Gena are on their way home this morning so I should soon have links to more personal photos and videos of their trip.)

H1N1 Vaccinations

Dear Griffin,
Ernie and I went to St. Peter today to run some errands.  When we visited Pam (more photos to follow), she suggested that we get our shots to protect us from the flu.  I didn’t know that Sesame Street characters were “at risk”, but the public health staff assured us that it was the right thing to do.  I told Ernie to go first.  He was very brave.

Love,
Bert

Anthony and Gena are married!

We just got the happy news:

On Wednesday, December 23 2009, Anthony Roy and Gena Lee were joined in marriage. The ceremony took place at 11:15am on a hill overlooking Neko Harbour on the continent of Antarctica. The ceremony was attended by the ship’s captain, the hotel manager, another crew member, and curious passengers who were passing by. It was followed by champagne, after which the couple “took their first plunge” by sliding down a snow slope holding hands.

This is all we know at the moment, though Anthony says they have a cool video of the event that they will share when they return.  In the meantime, I poked around on the web to find out anything I could about Neko Harbour.  According to wikipedia:

Neko Harbour is an inlet on the Antarctic Peninsula on Andvord Bay, situated on the west coast of Graham Land. Neko Harbour was discovered by Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache in the early 20th century. It was named for a Norwegian whaling boat, the Neko, which operated in the area between 1911 and 1924.

So where exactly is it?  After a bit more poking around, I located it on some on-line maps.  The first map below shows the Antarctic Peninsula.  Andvord Bay (with Neko Harbour) isn’t marked, but I’ve added red arrows to show approximately where it lies — on the coast behind Anvers Island.  The second map is from another source and shows Andvord Bay in detail.

Antarctic Peninsula (the red arrows show the approximate location of Andvord Bay)
Detailed map of Andvord Bay, showing Neko Harbour.

I did a google images search for Neko Harbour just to get a visual sense of the place.  It is a common stop on Antarctic cruises, so there were a fair amount to choose from.  Here’s a selection of my favorites:

Wow.  A magnificent place for a wedding. We all can’t wait to celebrate with the happy couple when they return!

Antarctica

Emperor Penguins

No, we’re not in Antarctica. But my brother and his fiancée are! On December 18 Anthony and Gena boarded the National Geographic Explorer in Ushuaia, Argentina. They headed across Drake passage to the South Shetland Islands off the Antarctic Peninsula. At some point during the voyage they will be married by the captain of the ship! Our only way of keeping tabs on them is to read the public expedition reports posted on the company website.  [Update: they were married on December 23!  See the post, “Anthony and Gena are Married!“]

If you’d like to see the expedition reports, click on the following dates.  (The pdf archives are permanent copies in case the live versions are ever removed.)  I’ll add more as they become available.

Daily Expedition Reports
December 19 (pdf archive)
December 20 (pdf archive)
December 21 (pdf archive)
December 22 (pdf archive)
December 23 (pdf archive)
December 24 (pdf archive)
December 25 (pdf archive)
December 26 (pdf archive)
December 27 (pdf archive)
December 28 (pdf archive)

Or, just enjoy the pictures that the expedition photographers have posted:

Letter from Bert and Ernie!

What a surprise! This morning Griffin received an email from Bert and Ernie! They’re staying with Jeff and Pam in Minnesota and have decided, apparently, to keep Griffin up-to-date on their lives. Here’s the message as it originally appeared:

BertErnie01

Griffin,
We hope that you are having a great morning!  Will you have some yogurt and cheese and squash for breakfast?

I think that we will have some cereal.  We will help Jeff and Pam clear the driveway tonight.  We are expecting lots of snow.  We wish that you could come sledding with us.  Bert got a new stocking cap, and he was happy to show it to you!

Love,
Bert and Ernie

Thanksgiving 2009

Our big Thanksgiving gathering took place in Santa Cruz again this year.  The consensus is that Santa Cruz is the best of the various destinations that we’ve been to.  It’s close.  It’s beautiful.  Rental houses are plentiful and relatively affordable.  And there is no shortage of fun.  (Plus, nutritionists always recommend riding roller coasters after a 10,000 calorie meal.)  Thanks to Nancy for the massive job of organizing the event!  Some favorite pictures are below.  Click on them to see larger versions or click here to see the full album.  (You may notice a slight parental bias in picture subjects…)

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Groovy Griffin
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Anthony and Gena on the Hurricane
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Maddie feeds Griffin
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Fiancée and Fiancé