ABOARD THE MV USHUAIA, Antarctica – The 80 prominent women in science, engineering and medicine of the 2019 Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica have gone three days with their ship unable to make landfall due to the ice formations, and have been filling the hours with sessions on leadership, zumba, yoga and even knitting.
On the 11th day of the expedition, and following an unsuccessful try at visiting the United States’ Palmer Station, were two failed attempts to reach Vernadsky, the Ukrainian research station in the Antarctic.
“What caused the problem were small chunks of ice from the glaciers that are very difficult to see and a danger to the ship. Besides, the coast of the Ukrainian station was surrounded by old ice, which is extremely compact, very hard and makes a landing impossible,” Sergio Osiroff, skipper of the Ushuaia, told EFE.
The expedition set off from the Argentine city of Ushuaia as part of Homeward Bound, an initiative supported by Spanish infrastructure and renewable energy firm Acciona to boost the visibility of women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) as leaders on matters of global import.
Two days ago, when the landing at Palmer was prevented by ice, station chief Bob Farrell and nine members of the staff went out to the ship to talk about the numerous research projects underway there.
After the landings were called off, the passengers have spent entire days training in leadership, improving teamwork and boosting women’s visibility, as well as doing presentations on the way each of them has a positive influence on the world.
Li Wang, Binbin Wang, Anisha Humphreys, Tara Shine, Sarah Johns, Stephanie Langerock and Carolina Garcia are some who took part in the sessions.
Binbin Wang moved the others deeply when she spoke about the impact of feminine leadership on the opening of China, while Langerock, senior international relations officer at the Belgian Federal Public Service for Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, spoke amid tears of the struggle, often frustrating, for the protection of whales.
Other activities on the program were yoga, aerobics and improvisational theater, the latter with the goal of strengthening the capacity for listening that is so necessary in a good leader.