May 15: Kayaking Antarctica

Let’s kayak around Antarctica!

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • Why do you think people might feel excited about kayaking in Antarctica? Can you think of what some of the particular risks of kayaking here might be? How do you think the three men in this article prepared for the risks they were facing?
  • The story opens with a hair-raising description of the men trying to land their kayaks in between breaking waves. Does their trip sound exciting or crazy to you? How do you think they camped once they managed to get ashore on landing spots? What would be some of the logistical challenges around camping in a trip like this? What environmental hazards might kayakers create for the landscape or animals?
  • The men flew to Ushuaia, a city in Argentina, then went on board a boat to Antarctica. Ushuaia is the world’s most southernmost city. Do you know where Argentina is? How else do you think people might get to Antarctica?
  • In the first ten minutes after setting off on their trip, the kayakers had encountered orca, heaps of penguins, a four-storey high falling ice cliff and slushy ice around their kayaks. The writer describes this as “sensory overload.” What do you think they must have been thinking and feeling?
  • The men mention camping near Adelie and chinstrap penguins, Weddell, elephant and fur seals, skua gulls, sheath bills and snow petrels. They also saw orca and leopard seals. Which Antarctic animals would you be the most keen to see in the wild?

Task—Make a moving picture

Re-create an Antarctic scene like this one of a leopard seal patrolling an ice-berg full of penguins.

  1. Search the internet for “penguins on iceberg” to get some ideas about how to lay out your picture.
  2. Draw an iceberg with penguins on it. Leave plenty of room in the foreground for your moving leopard seal.
  3. Cut a slit going across the foreground of the picture. This will allow the seal to “pop up” and slide from one side of the picture to the other.
  4. Draw the head and shoulders of a leopard seal. (Use the internet to look at some pictures to help you.)
  5. Cut this out and tape it onto an ice-block stick. Poke it up through the slit and tell a story with the leopard seal and the penguins.

Send us a picture of your moving picture!