Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December 19th. Take to the skies

The Author, starting to relax at the beginning of his journey

Wow. I am sitting on the tarmac about to take off and I can hardly believe that I am here. This moment is a culmination of 3 years of hopes, false starts and more planning and paperwork than I am pretty sure I have ever had to do for anything.

Santiago, Chile in the early morning
And now here I am. About to embark on the most remote, harsh and isolated trip of my career/ life. You know what? I couldn't be more excited or ready.

I suppose I should take a few steps back and provide a little backstory into all of this, seeing as this is my first post and quite frankly some of you have no clue what I'm talking about, let alone what my name is.

They call me Ted Blanco. Not my birth name, but damn close. I am a filmmaker (ok, video maker) and for the last few years I have been working with a great team of people at Climate Central. (The non-profit climate news organization, not the people who service your HVAC)

Every so often, I get to break from the day to day projects to go someplace interesting to tell a story using my particular set of skills and toys. Last year it was California, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia. This year was California and the exotic Jersey shore.

Then about 7 months ago, something started to take shape dear reader. For you see, when I was  brought on at Climate Central, there was talk of an epic journey to the Southern Ocean around Antarctica to document science that was taking place in an effort to understand what was happening beneath the surface of the southern ocean. That initial discussion was during my interview 3 years ago. What started as one hell of a sales pitch slowly morphed into a phantom project that felt like it was never going to materialize. Occasionally dates would be discussed only to have some insurmountable hurdle push the project to the back burner.

Right. So back to 7 months ago. "The trip is on!" I'm told, prefaced with, "I'm totally serious this time...". And as per usual, I say I'll believe it when the flights are booked. But something WAS different this time, and quickly it became apparent that yes, I would be spending a month on a boat destined for Antarctica.

I will save the details of what goes into preparing for a trip like this to a future post. For now, I would like to mention how I have the most amazing wife ever. Breaking the news to a loved one of a 5 week long business trip is never easy. Now throw in 2 kids under 5.  Now explain that your boat leaves Christmas Eve.

Now tell me how that works out for you.

For me? Nothing but support from the moment I said, "The trips on! Can I go?" Even as the details emerged from launch date to duration, my wife has been my biggest supporter. Which if you were around my house for the last couple of weeks, you would know I needed all the help and support I could get. Thanks Aja!

Nothing but the best in 1st class!
Not your ordinary airplane food...
So here I am in the air and this is really about to happen, no take backs allowed. The gear is packed and all arrangements made. It's time to relax.

See you all next time  from El fin del mundo, Punta Arenas, Chile.


Mountains on the way to Punta Arenas

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