Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

If you've really got to go ....

For the sake of the wildlife that lives there and to give future visitors an equally beautiful place to look at, there are firm rules in place to prevent waste being left behind.  When it is necessary, the expedition team take emergency supplies, but generally speaking no food is taken ashore.

And no human waste is allowed to be left behind.  There is no peeing behind a bush - or lump of ice - here; you have to wait until you get back on ship.

 That is OK most of the time, as shore landings are generally a morning or afternoon, and there are zodiacs that can take you back early if you are desperately crossing your legs.  But sometimes it is trickier.  Our next landing was a flight to an island, then a forty five minute walk each way across the sea ice to the penguin colony, so we were going to be ashore for quite a while, and as we were using the helicopters, there was always a possibility that we could get stuck there for a while.

So when we were briefed on the trip we were told that just in case anyone got caught short, they would be taking a portable toilet ashore.  The task of explaining how it works fell to Sarah, an English woman on the expedition team.  She did an excellent job of this, and in a typically British way, made us laugh too.

Mind you, whilst we may have found it amusing to think about, none of us especially relished the idea of actually using this toilet, which was basically a bit like a rubbish bin.  It was a seat with a space where you put your plastic bag. You go in the plastic bag, add some powder to the bag to 'set' and neutralise whatever you have done, tie it up securely and pop it in a box.  And at the end of the day, everything gets taken back on to the ship.  Effective, yes, but not especially inviting, and the expedition team aren't exactly fighting for the job of carrying back the box!

And then of course there was the fact that it was set up behind an iceberg, so it was definitely going to be a chilly experience.  Thankfully we didn't have to make use of it, but I guess if you've got to go then ....

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