Lake Ellsworth drilling waits for another day

Credit to The Guardian for the great graphic (

News from the Lake Ellsworth team in Antarctica that drilling down to the subglacial lake will have to wait for another year.

It must be a huge disappointment to the team, but as an observer currently in the relative warmth of London, it the project remains a massive inspiration. Projects like this show that geographical exploration is alive and well and focused on understanding and learning about our planet.

There are many polar expeditions nowadays – fastest, least supported, etc. – but this expedition was more than these. It showed the determination, initiative and daring of a team of people to try something on the edge of human ability, not for the sake of it, but to find out more about our planet. All power to them and I am sure that they will succeed in the end.

To put this mission in perspective, the first expedition to attempt to summit Mount Everest was in 1922, and the first successful expedition to reach the summit and come back down again was in 1953. I hope we will not have to wait another 31 years, but the very fact that there are people who put everything on the line to explore our planet is fantastic.

To the team at Lake Ellsworth, a massive ‘thank you’ for providing an example to the rest of us.

Class Skype – a great way to speak at schools

It was wonderful to take part in a Skype call with Middleham Primary last week to talk about life in the polar regions. The wonderful Catherine Monaghan is doing wonderful things with her Year 3 & 4 class to bring learning alive for the pupils, amongst other things they are building an igloo in the classroom using old milk bottles, which looks amazing… the kind of teacher I wish I’d had.

Using Skype to talk to a school is something that I have done when on expedition, but never when I have been in the UK. Normally, I have gone into schools to talk directly to classes. It was a great way to interact with young people, without having to take a long time out of the ‘office’. Talking to schools is one of the highlights of my job, but the travel time to and from schools limits the amount of schools that I can visit. So, if there are more schools out there who would like to have someone who has been on expedition speak via Skype to their class, then I would be delighted to look at how we can make better use of this technology when the team is back in the UK.

Catherine put up a wonderful video of the class reflecting on what they had learnt and to my surprise I have also become a scientist!

I like to think that I am getting better at polar and ocean science, thanks to the wonderful support of Helen and Ceri, who have held my hand through being a novice a year or so ago. I even have a ‘beaker’ (polar slang for a scientist) award to prove it.

A great use of technology and thank you to Catherine (Mrs M) and Class 2 at Middleham for a great Skype chat and also to Al Humphreys for helping to put it all together.

Google Earth Expedition Gallery #3 – Antarctic Education Videos

The third entry in Digital Explorer’s Google Earth gallery features educational videos made during the E-Base Goes Live Expedition. More educational resources about Antarctica can be found at 2041′s Education Site.

ge link icon Download the Google Earth tour – Antarctic Education Videos

You will need Google Earth to view the tour. If you don’t have Google Earth, you can download it for free:

download google earth

Contact Digital Explorer, if you would like to make a Google Earth tour for your expedition or fieldwork.

Google Earth Expedition Gallery #2 – E-Base Video Story

This is the second entry in a series of expedition based Google Earth tours from Digital Explorer. We will be publishing a new tour everyday for the next couple of weeks. The E-Base video story Google Earth tour allows you to follow the E-Base Goes Live Expedition day-by-day with geo-located videos, as the team work to put up wind turbines in Antarctica.

ge link icon Download the Google Earth tour – E-Base Video Story

You will need Google Earth to view the tour. If you don’t have Google Earth, you can download it for free:

download google earth

Contact Digital Explorer, if you would like to make a Google Earth tour for your expedition or fieldwork.

Google Earth Expedition Gallery #1 – Living in Antarctica

This is the first tour in the Google Earth Expedition Gallery from Digital Explorer. Follow the team from Digital Explorer, npower and 2041, as they find about life in Antarctica during their time on King George Island on the E-Base Goes Live Expedition in March 2009.

ge link icon Download the Google Earth tour – Living in Antarctica

You will need Google Earth to view the tour. If you don’t have Google Earth, you can download it for free:

download google earth

Contact Digital Explorer, if you would like to make a Google Earth tour for your expedition or fieldwork.

Skype from Antarctica

skype_logo.pngOn Tuesday, I was with a small group of Year 10 geography pupils sitting in our new multimedia room. We were clustered round a laptop waiting for a video call using skype. The call was coming in from Antarctica from Robert Swan, who is currently living at the 2041 E-Base relying solely on renewable energy for the first time in Antarctic history.

The call came through and there we were having a live video chat with Robert about the issue of climate change and what we can all do about it. Wow! Now that’s what I cal education for the 21st Century.

The use of skype from remote locations presents numerous possibilities for engaging young people in environmental and social issues. The software is free. The calls are over the internet, so you just pay for the use of the internet during that time (a bit more expensive somewhere like Antarctica where you are reliant on satellite networks such as BGAN).

If anyone could tell me how I could take part in a live conversation taking place using something like skype, and show it on a website simultaneously, I would be eternally grateful!

Live from Antarctica


For two weeks, renowned polar explorer, Robert Swan will be relying solely on renewable energy as part of the E-Base Goes Live project. The team are now in place posting daily video and images. Next week they will be conducting a series of live video chats with pupils globally.

As part of the website designed and built by the Digital Explorer team, I have put up a project suitable for 11-18 year olds on the site.


Very proud of the team


Really proud of the team – John, Ciara and Marjan for making sure the IAE expedition blog for 2041 looks so amazing, has great functionality and went live so soon after the 2041 main site.

I just love this site, but then that’s me. It’s exciting to see how far WordPress as a platform can be taken (this is the inner geek in me).

2041 site goes live

2041 homepage

The main site for 2041 went live on Friday. For those of you who don’t know 2041, it’s an organisation set up by Robert Swan – the first person to walk to both poles – to preserve Antarctica.

The 2041 team have some amazing projects lined up this year, all coming soon. First off, the E-Base on King George Island off the Antarctic peninsula goes live at the beginning of March, broadcasting live on renewable energy. If they can live off solar and wind, etc. in Antarctica, it’s a message to us all to give it a go at home.

Then in mid-March the E-Base Goes Live team will be joined by a team from global corporations learning about leadership and sustainability on the Inspire Antarctic Expedition.

And if that’s not enough, the 2041 yacht on the Voyage for Cleaner Energy, will be engaging audiences along the West Coast of the US from the beginning of April.

Finally, a big big thank you to the teams at Digital Explorer and 2041 for working so hard to make this happen.

Antarctica no longer white blob on Google Earth

Great for all those heading south. Your progress can now be followed on Google Earth with newly updated satellite imagery. The imagery stops at about 82.5 degrees South as there is no satellite imagery available this close to the pole.

Find out more about the update at the Google LatLong blog.

There is a call for as much user generated content (images, video, etc.) as possible to be added to this newly enhanced area. So, get going and if you need any help then let us know.

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