Cold Antarctica, a Tourism Hot Spot: Background information when reading Where'd You Go, Bernadette

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Where'd You Go, Bernadette

A Novel

by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2012, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2013, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Cold Antarctica, a Tourism Hot Spot

Print Review

Where'd You Go Bernadette has much talk about Antarctica, the coldest, windiest, driest desert continent on earth. Located around the South Pole, Antarctica covers an area of 5.1 million square miles (larger than the US, as well as the continents of Europe or Australia) and has a thick ice cap that has built over millions of years.

Size comparison between the US and AntarcticaThose who can afford the price tag of around $10,000 can go on a cruise to the continent navigating through the Drake Passage. The Drake Passage is a body of water, which connects the southern tip of South America and the Shetland islands of Antarctica. Passage through this body of water is a must but tourists need to pack a lot of Dramamine because it can be an extremely choppy ride – it's not called the "Drake Shake" for nothing. The departure point for cruises is usually from Argentina or Chile and cruises ply in the months of November through March (summer in the Antarctic.) Wildlife includes whales, seals and, of course, scores of penguins (contrary to popular misconception, polar bears are not found in Antarctica). Since there are no cities and hotels on the continent, visitors are bound to the ships for the most part, taking brief excursions on rafts or sea kayaks to swim in hot springs or even mail a letter from the post office at Port Lockroy. Those interested in visiting the actual South Pole will be disappointed because it's inaccessible to tourists – the cruises from North America mostly visit the Antarctic Peninsula on the northwest part of the continent. The most popular tourist spots on the peninsula include Deception Island, Pendulum Cove (famous for hot springs one can swim in), the volcanic Paulet island and Port Lockroy, which houses a staffed museum and gift shop. Penguins

The Antarctic Peninsula is also home to the Palmer Station, a U.S.-research base. Around 40 people live at the base during the summer months conducting research on marine biology, geology, environmental science and other sciences. The Palmer Station is funded by the United States Antarctic Program, which was created to support the goals of the Antarctic Treaty. The National Science Foundation funds the program.

Click on the video below to see the choppiness of the waters through the Drake Passage:



Article by Poornima Apte

This article is from the April 3, 2013 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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