When I was in elementary school, we learned that the opposite point on the globe from the Twin Cities was in the southern Indian Ocean, far from any land. I thought to myself: it would be interesting to go to the opposite point on Earth [ed: the scientific term is antipode], but given that it’s in the middle of a vast ocean with nothing of note nearby, I’ll never see that spot.
Yet, now I am going there, the antipode of the Twin Cities, passing it on the way from Heard Island to Australia. This is as far away from home as it is possible to be without going to space. I have reached the end of the Earth, literally.
You can see that end of the Earth in the image above, taken by astronauts on the space shuttle while they were over (roughly) the antipode of the Twin Cities, at roughly the time I was thinking it would be interesting to go there.
Named after rockhopper penguins, which are naturally inquisitive, the title plays on the author’s affinity to hop about on rocky outcrops admiring the geology.
This draw to neat rocks has extended so far that I am going on the Heard Island Expedition to (you guessed it!) Heard Island in November and December of 2015 March and April, 2016. While there I will do some science—perhaps assisting with a population survey of rockhopper penguins and other birds—as well as lots of ham radio as VK0EK.
On this blog I intend to cover a review of the scientific knowledge so far acquired on or about Heard Island, what I hope to accomplish while I’m there, and what some of the challenges are associated with this expedition. I am also on Twitter as @i_rockhopper.
Update 5/13/2015: Expedition has been rescheduled for March/April, 2016. More info here (my blog) and here (official).