Thursday, December 24, 2009


Follow senior students Aleksandra Makowska and Simit Christian as they journey to Argentina to prepare for their voyage to the Antarctic. Aleksandra and Simit were selected to represent Staten Island along with scholarship students selected from the other boroughs as well as students from other countries. Accompanying them will be scientists from the Students on Ice Expedition they explore and learn about this region of the world,learn how environmental change is adversely affecting it, and gain a new respect for our precious environment. We are most grateful to Senator Charles Schumer,, a long time supporter of public education, for recognizing how the College of Staten Island High School for International Studies mission aligns with the mission of Students on Ice and for selecting students from our school to take part in this incredible, once in a lifetime learning experience as they represent Staten Island.

Simit and Aleksandra will be departing on December 26th and will be sharing their experiences with us via this blog and the Students on Ice tracking site! The entire CSIHSIS community wishes them an exciting voyage and cannot wait to share in their learning as they experience the Antarctic.


Aimee Horowitz said...


Eighty plungers. That's what today's trip up to Laguna Esmeralda vaguely sounded like. After an early morning wakeup at 7:00 and breakfast a half-hour later, we all boarded a bus which took us into the city and past. A half-hour later we were all looking up at a small cabin seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We got rain boots and a packaged lunch, and then we were off!

The plunger noises began quickly, when the first people got sucked into mud. I was one of them. Mud is deceiving; you can never be sure where it is only ankle deep and where it can engulf your entire leg. It may look like stable moss or even a rock, but nooo. Mud. The first part of our 5-hour trip was a bog, where the primary obstacle was that dear, old mud. Dirty, wet, and cold as it was, this section was certainly entertaining. Then came the uphill battle... literally. I can't tell you the altitude of the mountain we were climbing or the slope at which we took it on, but goodness, it was tough. he mud didn't stop when the forests began, and now branches were also in the way. But nothing was even close to the slope of that mountain. Though I was freezing in the cabin, I was HOT on the way up to the laguna. With a plentiful stumbles, we made it to Laguna Esmeralda. I'm sure the views on the way up were stunning, and it's a pity I was too focused on my feet and surrounding mud. However, when we had a chance to relax.... stunning. We climbed so far yet we were in a valley, surrounded by ice-capped mountains and still amazingly dense forests. And, in front of us, was a light turquoise lagoon. Everything was so clean and, therefore, intimidating as we were all covered in disgusting mud. The... surprise!! One person ran into the water. hen another. hen some more. In total, maybe ten people went into the water. Was I tempted to join them? Honestly, just slightly. I mean, it is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience but I was just so cold and tired already that I didn't even want to waste the effort of changing and wading in there. Perhaps I'll regret it when I get back. Maybe I already do.

We ate our packed lunch of two sandwiches, an apple, a cookie, and a granola bar (Chewy! Reminds me of home) as people slowly arrived. Random thought: Caramel seems to be really popular here as every dessert has it and even pre-packaged cookies are filled with it, delicious.

Anyway, after a brief lecture of the formation of the lagoon, we began the descent. I was walking with a few people in the front yet not close enough to the leaders to see them at all times. Surprise, surprise, we went the wrong way. It's difficult to get lost, so we turned a few times and made it back on trail. It was hilarious when we looked behind us and found that the remainder of the groups all followed our severely elongated and unnecessarily time-consuming path. I did the dumbest thing when I decided to take a shortcut through a stream instead of walking through muddy paths. I was not aware of the depth of the stream which reached my knee. My boots reached only my mid-thigh. oops. So my boots were wet. I'll see the effects of that tomorrow: sick or not? Oh, and it was also snowing at this time. Going down was easier energy-consuming-wise, yet seemed so much more dangerous. One slip and you could slide a few feet. But we made it, all in one piece (I think).

We're at the hotel now, tired and probably dirty but definitely satisfied with what we did this morning. We have piles of muddy clothing ready for the non-existent laundry, which we all MIGHT get to hand-washing soon. So, what did we do today in summary? We hiked about 7 miles to Lagoon Esmeralda... and survived! Bye guys.

- Aleksandra Makowska, Participant

Aimee Horowitz said...


I just wanted to inform you that I am having a wonderful time here in Argentina, I hiked today to a glacial mountain, and at the hotel we are staying at is marvelous. I am also connecting with nature and enjoying the serenity. Sadly, becuase this is a vital part of the expedition, so we are not allowed internet access so we can tuly take a break from the technologic world and materialism. But the good this is that we will be posting updates and pictures on the website:, its gonna have plenty of pictures and journal entries from us. So, tommorow we will be hiking for a few hours to aother mountain in Ushuaia, Argentina, which is surprisingly one of the most natural cities that I have seen, the houses and people seem to be one with thier sorroundings. Anyways, I will be leaving for Antarctica, I have met some great students and staff and I m sure I will enjoy the trip. I miss NY, not really, but I will be back soon.
Peace and Carrots,


Aimee Horowitz said...

I'm typing this with a few people looking over my shoulder waiting for me to finish (and even trying to convince us to give up my spot but I'm NOT doing that). That's probably because today was a big day, and everyone needs to write about it. I suppose typing is easier than writing for our personal journals. Age of technology, right?

Today, we listened to a lecture about whales and the infamous Drake Passage, attended artistic workshops, enjoyed lunch in town (with amazing fish!), and wandered around Ushuaia for a few hours. Those were all interesting. But they are all overshadowed by the MAIN event of today- leaving land and confining myself to a ship for the next many days. Seeing the crew lift the ramp from the ship and store it away was the most terrifying sight so far. Yet, it's the event that has begun this whole spectacular (well, supposedly :)) expedition. The ship is amazing, no exaggeration. There are two beds for two people in my cabin, a pretty decent bathroom with a drain right in the middle, two paintings, two closets, a sink by my bed, and a portal-type window with a great view into the world outside. I was expecting much less, like a blanket on a metal shelf and a toilet for ten people. The food is amazing as well; the appetizer was a platter of cheeses and tomatoes with an olive-garlic sauce. I know all of these things are of little importance, but I'm pretty sure everyone else will be writing about the beautiful landscape and the oh-so-wonderful penguins, so I'll do something different. At least, I hope it's different.

As for everyone's greatest fear- seasickness, it will start today at night. Right now, I can feel every movement of the ship, but it's not exceedingly uncomfortable. Tonight, however, we will enter the infamous Drake Passage known also as the Drake Shake. We were told to Drake-proof our cabin by hiding everything in drawers and preparing the "barf bags". Ehh, we'll see. Geoff did say not to worry- it will ONLY last for two days. I hope that was sarcasm. :)

Anyway, curfew is in precisely two minutes so I think I'm off. Let's see how sleep feels on a wobbly ship. Oh, and HI to everybody back home. And CZEZC BABUSHKA I PHILIPEK!

- Aleksandra Makowska, Participant

ElroyTLanphear said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.