Melchior Islands and Black Jungle Cake

January 14, 2019

Today was another full day.

The morning started with a Visibility Session – “Rising Strong & What to Do When Things Go Wrong.”  This was great session!


But, owning out stories isn’t always easy and a times letting someone else do the writing might feel like the better option.


The challenge, therefore is to leave nothing on the table.  To be the woman in the arena, one has to own her triumphs and grow from her failures.  After all, are they really failures?  The only failure is in ceding authorship of the story, of letting someone else write the ending.

This is where emotional first aid becomes relevant.  When “we err and come up short again and again”, we become defensive and we try to offload our hurt.  Or, we may find ourselves emotionally hooked, acting purely on feelings and not rational thought.  Identifying this state becomes critical; this is definitely not the time to talk, text, tweet, or email anyone – seriously, anyone.  Rather it is the time to stop and breath, to walk away and take a break.  It is also important to identify and name the emotions.  Naming them, seeing them for what they truly represent, gives the woman in the arena authority over the emotions that threaten her success.

In our minds, we create the SFD, the Shitty First Draft.  It is our version of events as told by our emotions.  “Clearly I can’t get straight answers because I’m an ineffective leader.  Others definitely would have more success.  My team thinks I’m incompetent.  I should just resign.”  The SFD is typically not true and based on a limited number of actual data points.  It is therefore important capture the SFD and interrogate its validity.  Left unchecked, the SFD takes on a life of its own and undermines the ability to dare greatly.

To deconstruct the SFD, there needs to be clarity on the situation, the other people and its author.  This allows for reflection.  What did I learn?  How can I act on key learnings?  How could I write a different ending?  How can I integrate these key learnings and leverage them as I work on new struggles?  Rewritten, “I can’t get clear answers because of turmoil beyond my control.  No one is getting straight answers.  I am not incompetent.  Resigning allows someone else to write the ending.”  All of this comes with a hefty dose of self awareness, self compassion and a willingness to ask for help.


Following the Visibility Session, we finished up our science themes  Our group presented on Sustainability.  We looked at various recycling practices around the world.  In some countries nearly everything is recycled, with multiple (way more than 2) different bins for separating recycling from food waste and compost.  In other countries recycling is nearly non-existent.  And then there are countries like the U.S. which fall somewhere in between.  As is the case in the U.S., in many places recycling practices vary by municipalities and are not governed at the national level.  Some countries burn trash to generate energy.  There is a big effort to do this in Sweden.  In the U.S., there are some energy recovery sites.  These tend to be clustered toward the east coast where there is less available real estate for landfills.

We also briefly discussed  plastics and places in the world where plastic has been banned or have a ban pending.  (The HB2 Sustainability team focused their work on plastics.)  I was quite dismayed to learn that while California has banned single use plastic bags, there are 10 states in the U.S. that have laws on the books banning the ban of plastic bags.  Missouri (where I live) is one of them.  That is to say, if my local community organized and decided to ban plastics bags, we would be breaking state law.

Each member of our team took pictures of the trash she generated from the time she left her house to the time she arrived in Ushuaia.  One team member actually collected these items and brought them with her.  It was more than enough to fill a standard restaurant sized tray; we struggled to keep items from falling on the floor as we piled them on the tray.  Recognizing that recycling is good, our takeaway message focused on refusing and reducing as the most effective sustainability practices.  At the end of our presentation, we opened discussion to the larger group and brainstormed additional solutions.  I believe Carol Aziz summed it up best.  Paraphrasing, “Stop buying shit you don’t need.”


In the afternoon we Zodiac cruised around the Melchior Islands.  At one time there had been an active Argentinian base, however it is no longer maintained.


Zodiac leaving the Ushuaia

The day was overcast giving the scenery it’s own beautiful mood.  We spotted seals, chinstrap penguins, cormorants, and gulls.

We were close to open water, so there was chop to the water we hadn’t seen in more protected locations.

Despite the gray day, the ice still managed to display its blue and turquoise hues.




Of course Flat Glen and Glenda got in on the action.


Apparently glacial ice is perfect for cocktails.  Here’s a prime specimen being hauled in.


Since we didn’t make a landing, we went out in the zodiacs in 2 groups.  I was in the first group, so when I got back to the ship, I was all dressed for being outside.  I took advantage of the quiet and solitude and sat up on the bow of the ship.  I might still be sitting there if there hadn’t been more to the day.

Hat compliments of my nephew, Tim.



Everyday the menu was posted outside the restaurant for both lunch and dinner.  Actually, I should take a moment to comment on the food and the fabulous staff.  Every morning there was a breakfast buffet with standard breakfast foods – eggs, cereal, yogurt, fruit, etc.  Lunch consisted of soup or salad and a hot entree.  Dinner included dessert.  The staff in the restaurant was great!  They were extraordinarily accommodating for vegetarian preferences, food allergies, and gluten sensitivity.  They could serve food on calm seas or big waves and always had a smile.  I was also amazed at how quickly they learned all of our names.

I have no recollection of the dinner entree on this day, but desert as posted on the menu was “Black Jungle Cake”.  Clearly something got lost in translation.

Black Forest Cake, complete with a chocolate penguin.


Tonight we also had our 4th session with Christiana.  This was a structured question and answer session.  A few key messages made it into my notebook.  It is okay to be vulnerable – “Harvest the power of your passion.”  Don’t confuse your public persona with who you are, “Positions will come and go, but we are our own selves.”  “Find someone to point out your pitfalls.”  This person may not align with your views.  I don’t remember if she said this or I simply wrote it, “Team of Rivals”.  But the clear winner for the night was (even if spelled incorrectly)…UNtE+33%T4KeJc575I3XtQ

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