John MacIndoe, MD, an endocrinologist at Hudson Hospital Specialty Clinics, promised his wife the trip of a lifetime to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. That trip took them to the South Pole and back. About 98 percent of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages at least one mile in thickness. Antarctica’s stunning enormity of ice shelves and mountain ranges has about 90 percent of the world’s ice and about 70 percent of the world’s fresh water.
“It was on our bucket list,” says Dr. MacIndoe. With spectacular views, breathtaking geography, and heart-warming sea life – it was a journey to remember.
The trip was made possible through Lindblad Expeditions & National Geographic, where 150 travelers from the U.S. and United Kingdom set sail on a state-of-the art ice breaker Norwegian cruise ship in mid-December. Lindblad is famous for being the first person to bring tourists to the arctic and Antarctica. It’s summer in the Antarctic now as temperatures range from 20 – 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Antarctica is surrounded by the Southern Sea. In fact, it’s the highest, coldest, driest and windiest place in the world. Travelling through Argentina to the southernmost town in the world – Ushuaia, the tour began for Dr. MacIndoe and his wife. Where three oceans come together, it was smooth sailing along the Drake Passage for the 150 passengers and crew to their final destination. The calm sea was a welcome sight for the crew who has seen rougher waters on this journey with katabatic winds reaching 150 mph. The trek took about 1.5 days each way to make the journey with about 7 days touring the continent.
“Every day was a new experience, from extraordinary glaciers, blue ice, to many sea-bearing creatures like hump-back whales, seals, sea lions, penguins, and a variety of bird species,” MacIndoe says. Many of the travelers were physicians, professors, and naturalists, sharing information and expertise along the way. The ship docked in sea ice for tours, and Zodiac boats offered tours of various areas on land. The days were also filled with presentations about climate change, sea animal life, and geological facts about the ocean, glaciers and land in this far away region. “I was most impressed with the beauty and enormity of the area, quiet solitude and unpredictability of nature,” MacIndoe says.
The expedition also provided a healthy experience. Heart-healthy food was served, and daily exercise offerings like yoga were available. A 10-hour continuing medical education course was offered for physicians with topics like wilderness medicine, reviewing best practices and preparation for trips, what medical kits should contain, and how to deal with frostbite and hypothermia. They even covered managing stress, and understanding stress responses in individuals, based on personality types. “It was indeed a trip of a lifetime,” says MacIndoe.
Hudson Hospital & Clinic is a non-profit health care provider located just off Interstate I-94 in Hudson, WI. The campus is designed with the latest technology and amenities to support whole health and healing for patients and their families - including a nationally acclaimed healing arts program. Twenty-five private hospital rooms feature private bath, garden views, guest accommodations and room service for patients and guests. Services include a regionally popular Birth Center, Rehabilitation Center, Imaging Center, cancer care, heart care, neurology, orthopedics and more. Hudson Hospital & Clinic is a member of the HealthPartners family of care.