Part 2 – What Books Should I Bring?
Right so you’re heading to the world’s coldest continent and you don’t have a clue what really happens there, then you turn to your good old friend Lonely Planet and buy the Antarctica Edition! Complete with a penguin on the front just to get you in the mood.
I actually bought 2 Antarctica Lonely Planets in the end. The first one was from the 1990s and I found it in a second hand bookshop in Hobart, Tasmania (pictured above). At the time I scoured EVERY bookshop in the whole of Tasmania, even the big ones like Dymocks and they didn’t have the latest one, this one I was able to pick up for about $5 AU Dollars (ignore the price on my photo!) in the Tasmanian Book Centre in Hobart.
Then as the trip was nearing I was so enthusiastic I had to buy the latest one as well! So I did. It can be bought in quite a few bookshops, or if you want a surprise in the post some morning, buy it here: Antarctica Lonely Planet
In fact Lonely Planet have just released a brand new one!: 5th Edition – NEW for 2012!! Wow!! Antarctica is becoming popular.
Now, I also have to recommend the Antarctica Log Book!!! You have some free time onboard the boat and this log book allows you to track what you do each day, where you go etc.! These books can be bought in Ushuaia itself – I bought mine in a shop that sells chocolates!! If you want to pre buy, then Amazon is your best bet: Antarctica Books and once you buy it be sure to keep it up to date! This will be your physical travel log of an amazing adventure!!
These books contain a few bits on the explorers, but you should read up on the likes of Shackleton, Scott and Crean long before your trip – as I already had 3 bulky books on this trip, I chose to read up on the internet on the historians and explorers rather than buy and take yet another book with me.
Tom Crean’s Book is currently very cheap as it happens: Tom Crean’s Story
If you book your trip with GAP, you’ll be pleased to learn that they have an onboard LIBRARY, dedicated to only travel books, the majority of which are Lonely Planet!!
Now onto maps – I love maps and so I bought two Antarctica maps prior to my trip. One of the entire continent, another of just the Antarctic Peninsula (the part I was going to). Of course there are plenty of maps on board and even a route planner, but I took great pleasure each night updating my log book and mapping my journey in pen on my own personal map. You can buy maps in Ushuaia, but I bought this one in Australia before my trip. If English is your main language, I’d recommend buying one in advance just in case you can’t find one in Ushuaia. Souvenirs are available on board the boat, but no maps for some reason (though that may differ with each company/trip). A decent online map is here: Antarctica Posters and there’s a few more on that link (UK based by the way – for the US and Canada, possibly try this site?: Antarctica Maps
An extra notebook also comes in handy as you are invited to attend many lectures on board the boat. The staff at GAP provided a host of excellent lectures on board in the Forward Lounge of the MS Expedition. I only missed one of the lectures, another (by Frank S. Todd) I fell asleep in! However these are fascinating stories of explorers, history and wildlife from the magic of Antarctica.
And yes you can never do enough reading on Antarctica, but as a keen traveller I always like to have some idea in advance of what to expect from the place I’m heading, especially on a trip like Antarctica!! (Although I must also say I am also a very spontaneous traveller at times!).
Enjoy your trip to the world’s coldest continent and let me know if you need any tips!!