Holly’s HB update #8



15 November 2016

Woohoo! I’m in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean on a plane between Sydney and Santiago. I spent some precious time with my loved one the week before I left, as we won’t see each other til after Christmas. My Penguin mum is with me in my pocket, Kay Penguin.

16 November 2016
Now I’m in Punta Arenas, Chile. I got here in just one long day from Brisbane. I’ve spent the day buying bus and ferry tickets and organising a place to store my gear while I go trekking in Torres del Paine National Park for a few days. It’s freezing cold here with a bitter westerly wind which cuts through many layers of clothing. A bit of a change from the 30 degrees Celsius and high humidity when I left home.

toninas 2
Toninas overas (Commerson’s Dolphin) are common in the Straits of Magellan

Today I received our Workbook for the Antarctica journey from the Homeward Bound team via Dropbox. It is about 200 pages long and was custom made by the Homeward Bound organisers. This huge amount of work they have put into us participants makes me feel loved, all warm and fuzzy inside, and kind of special.

Last week, I visited the Coorabell Public School which overlooks Byron Bay from Coolamon Scenic Ridge – quite a spectacular setting. I had the pleasure of speaking to around 60 students from kindy to year 6, plus teachers and a few parents, at their weekly assembly last Friday.

I showed some pics, talked about some of the wide variety of things we do as National Park Rangers, and passed some bits and pieces from my fire kit around. I spoke about being selected to participate in an exciting women in science trip to Antarctica, where we would be learning about climate change, leadership and strategy to turn scientists into leaders to help create a more sustainable future for the planet.

I talked about connections – between Byron Bay and Antarctica- such as the humpback whales which journey each year from their feeding grounds in Antarctica past Byron to breed in the warm waters of the Barrier Reef and further north, and come back to the Bay in spring, often stopping for a few days here to rest and suckle their calves on the long journey back to Antarctica. I talked about the connections between koala habitat in Byron Shire and our Homeward Bound journey, because we are seeking funding for koala tree plantings to help offset the carbon emissions of our trip. And I mentioned the physical connection between Australia and Antarctica when they were connected over 80 million years ago, when the Byron Bay area was near the South Pole before Australia began drifting north. Heady stuff for primary school!!

I invited the teachers to send me questions their students might have for us to answer on board the ship. I said I would love to come back to the school next year and show some photos of where we went and what we did and saw. I also got an invite from one of the parents to give a talk at Byron Bay High School next year, which is exciting!

Thank you for supporting me on this journey. Whether it is a financial contribution or moral support or trust and excitement for those of us about to launch into the unknown … or all of the above, I thank you for being here. I hope you will be amply rewarded with stories from the field!!


Punta Arenas is at the very bottom tip of South America on the Straits of Magellan.

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