Hoping for Antarctic Good Luck Against the Ravens

Okay. I said I was going to have more Antarctic photo and information, in a week. That was a month ago. My excuse–the Holidays, and a little thing called the playoffs.  I am sitting in the Steelers press box cafeteria, watching one of the most incredible receivers in the NFL- Larry Fitzgerald -put the Arizona Cardinals up by 11 points. Not that a 37 year old Kurt Warner didn’t contribute with an arm that is still amazing, especially at this point in the season!


But I digress, which is what I always do.  I am using this picture, with me holding the Towel with Elise Larsen, whom I wrote about in the previous Antarctic blog a month ago. She was the Oceanites researcher on board the National Geographic Explorer with us, doing research for the non-profit education and scientific organization, Oceanites. Lindblad and National Geographic have been working with Oceanites in measuring the impact of forces like climate change and tourism on the Antarctic Peninsula.  By the way, this photo is of an Adelie penguin, a species I mentioned before, and Jaqi Conomikes, my traveling buddy, took it. Her photography is so outstanding, I am just going to do a blog in a couple of days ( no empty promises this time) with some of her great stuff. _n3p7555

Anyway, during the holidays, Elise and her fiance, Jerry (who is from Pittsburgh) came into town and I joined them and their parents, Ron and Lida Larsen, and Jerry and Pat Hungerman, for dinner. Read the preceding blog for more on that connection, but suffice it to say, the Steelers were a big topic of conversation. It was before the San Diego playoff game, and Jerry, her fiance, was going.  Elise was preparing for a return to Antarctica, on another Lindblad voyage, for more Oceanites research. Only, this time, she is also going to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, where she will also see King penguins, one of the largest species of penguins.

_n3p6515This is one of Jaqi’s photos of the King penguin we saw on our first landing of  our  trip.  We went nuts, because he was all by his lonesome with a bunch of gentoos.  Kings are not supposed to be on the Peninsula.  I turned to our expedition leader, Matt Drennan, and asked, “What the heck is he doing here?” One naturalist with us had sighted a King penguin last year, and speculated it was the same one. The amazing thing is to get from South Georgia Island (which is considered sub-Antarctic), he would have had to swim 850 miles. 

Now, back to the Steelers. The reason I put in another Towel photo, is Elise is actually here, at Heinz Field. She came with her fiance, and this is only her second Steeler game(an AFC Championship one at that. I told her how lucky she is). The first was the regular season San Diego game, and it was just before her first trip to Antarctica. The Steelers won. She reasons that, since she is leaving for The White Continent again, in just two days, that it is a good omen for this AFC Championship. I heartily agree. Hence, the post. The players may say they are not superstitious, but I believe in good luck omens, and for me, having her here, in the stadium again, is definitely one.

sally-wiggins2And this is another one. The other Oceanites researcher, John Carlson (he took this photo of me), had assured me, a couple of weeks ago, that the Steelers were going all the way. I was a bit worried, but he had faith–and he is from Montana!!! And one more–on the ship, our first night, the Steelers beat the Pats–in Foxboro!!! Soundly!! When did that happen last?! 

Of course, the Steelers are winning because they are the best team in the NFL, with a smart, young coach, who has them peaking at just the right time. Not to mention a stellar defense, an offensive line that is coming together around a quarterback who is in his third AFC Championship game in five years. 

But writing about connections, and omens was the only way I could somehow write about Antarctica again, as I had promised, while I am waiting for the game to begin. GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!


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