Collette Furey is a local Galway Teacher who embarked on an Epic Adventure to Antarctica and has been featured in The Irish Time and Forbes magazine. Since her return, she has been giving school talks, sharing her adventures and inspiring future travellers!

Collette joined us on a Zoom on Monday 22nd March , we had Beavers & Cubs present and all were very excited about the stories to come !

She wanted to go the Antarctica ( Down at the very bottom – in the South) . The story of Tom Crean resonated with her. She took a break from teaching and wanted to find out how to get to Antarctica.

Tom Crean’s adventure inspired Collette.

She found a ship and a Captain who allowed Guests onboard for a tour that visited Antartica. The ship was called “The Europa” and was built in 1911 ! Has had many updates and upgrades since then.

3 masts – Square Rigger. 32 Sails.

Collette fell in love with the Ship and being at Sea and got a job on the ship.

Collette has mostly visited “Graham Land” and hasnt been to the South Pole yet. She has been to South Georgia Island , where Tom Crean was rescued from ! Lots of Wildlife on Antarctica ! Can go close but need to stay 5 metres away. Animals Rule !!

Weddell Seals

Very noisy – about 500,000 penguins – Very Smelly too !

Penguin Selfies

If Animals come to you , its ok.

It takes a long time for “Albatross” to build their nests , look like Chimneys. They can stay flying for over 3 months without landing ! Always come back and find their own nest!

Have to quite far South to find the Adelie Penguins

You need to stop and wait until the Penguin traffic jam goes by. ( note the Penguin highway behind them ! )

Came very close..

When Dolphins arrive – the captain will call and let everyone know.

This is the Captains Dog 😊 Sirrius lives on the ship. Lives there and has his own Harness. Doesn’t like when its very windy. He isn’t allowed to go to Antartica with the Captain , as they don’t want animals come from other Countries in case of spread of anything unwanted to the resident animals.

Winter in Ireland , Summer in Antartica – Sunny but cold.

Collette spent Christmas Day of 2019 in Antarctica. She used a Satellite Phone to call her Parents at home in Ireland! Christmas Dinner a bit different 😊 Had a BBQ

Need to clip yourself onto the side of the boat.

Very exciting but also need to do the boring stuff – Peeling Spuds !Could be one month at sea , so you need to do all the different jobs – like hanging out the Washing!

Sailing around the Equator

Who lives on the ship?

The Galley is dangerous , when not at sea – everything is clear and everything is tied down ( notice pots held in ) . If you call it a kitchen , the captain might throw you overboard 😉

  • Captain – The Boss ( Male and Female ! )
  • Chief Mate – Like a Vice Principal , helps the Captain out
  • Engineer – Make sure all stays working
  • Cook – we need to eat so he/she keeps us fed!
  • Bosun – In charge of the sails.
  • Deckhands – Do a bit of everything , sails , cleaning , painting
  • Doctor – If you are in Antarctica – far away from help !
  • Guide – When in Antarctica – Bring people to other places to show them around
  • Guests – Take approx. 30 per trip . Do a little bit of work , but a holiday for them.

4 – 6 people per Cabin.

Deck to Mast is approx. 30 M so need your harness !

Work is hard but well worth it !

Taken at approx. 2AM in the morning. Gets bright at about 0400 and stays bright until approx. 0200 – nearly bright for the full day ( During the Summer ) . In the winter – would only be bright for a few hours per day. Ship can break though ice like above.

Before they set sail , they do a big shopping . Need to be able to feed approx. 55 people per day with breakfast , lunch and dinner. ( And snacks )  A massive job ! Big Trucks will deliver will bring to the shop , placed in crates. They have big freezers on the ship and a big area on the ship to store food  “The Supermarket”. The longest Collette was at sea was 3 weeks without land !

Collette talked to the Beavers & Cubs about getting involved on the high seas and she works with the Galway Hooker Sailing Club when she is in Galway and says that its very safe and lots of fun !

Thank you so much to Collette for her amazing story and for inspiring us all to find out more about Antarctica and her intrepid adventures !