Grab a blanket! Mark Terry, the award-winning documentary filmmaker who brought us The Antarctic Challenge: A Global Warning, has another film in the hopper: The Polar Explorer. The Official COP16 Film! (COP16 is the 16th edition of Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) . View the trailer…
Mark was kind enough to take time out of his tremendously busy schedule to answer some questions about his crew’s October 2010 expedition across The Northwest Passage to the most remote and mysterious parts of our planet: the Polar Regions.
What was the most surprising discovery?
Perhaps the “seabed donuts”, found at a depth of about 1,500 feet, these are huge rings measuring 200 meters across by 30 meters high (600 feet by 100 feet).
What was most disappointing?
The lack of sea ice. Our rugged Coast Guard icebreaker seemed like overkill in these barely frozen Arctic seas.
Any frightening moments?
When we were hunted by polar bears. We were approaching a ridge to plant an ice motion beacon when a “watcher” on the ship said on the loudspeaker “STOP! Do not go any further! Polar bears on the other side of the ridge! Return to the ship IMMEDIATELY!” We bid a hasty and heart-pounding retreat, but the ship blew its foghorn chasing the bears away. We returned to plant the beacons – nervously.
How about the funniest?
The sheer giddiness of the scientists who were celebrating their unexpected HUGE haul of marine life at a midnight collection. Like pirates celebrating the recovery of a treasure chest full of gold and diamonds, the scientists were raising worms, squids and starfish in the air with their bare hands laughing with delight over their biological bounty.
Not for us, but perhaps for the scientists when our sound guy, Steve McNamee, made a major scientific discovery while casually looking out the window of the bridge. He spotted a collection of round ice balls that the scientists, the ice specialist and the crew of the ship had never seen before.
What inspired you to explore such cold regions?
A vacation in Alaska when I first came face-to-face with the size, beauty and majesty of an iceberg. The unique eco-system seemed other-worldly and fragile and I became a hungry student of the polar regions and why they are so unique and how they impact on us even though, by and large, we ignore them and know very little about them.
Photo: Mark Terry
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