This month we sat down with Andre Belem, our resident educational coordinator, at Antarctica21, who is celebrating his 10th year working with us. Read his experiences and advice on traveling to Antarctica below.
To you, why is it important to visit Antarctica?
Andre – Antarctica is unique. It is responsible for keeping our planet at the right temperature, so not only protecting the environment is important, but also supporting opportunities for scientific study. We need to understand more about how Antarctica’s climate works to regulate temperatures on Earth. Visiting Antarctica is more than experiencing nature in a raw state, it’s about knowing what keeps us alive as human beings. For us as guides, it’s a communion between two roles: defenders and educators of the environment. We want to convert our guests and partners into Antarctica ambassadors.
Photo by Jonathan Zaccaria
When and how did you start working with Antarctica21?
Andre – My first visit to Antarctica was in 1994, and I read everything I could on the White Continent. One of the books that I first got my hands on was Antarctica: An Introductory Guide, by Diana Galimberti. A few years later, in 2008, I was walking the streets of Punta Arenas, Chile, where Antarctica21 is based and found a Fly & Cruise advertisement. I wanted to expand my opportunities to explore Antarctica, so I reached out with my CV and, surprisingly, it was Diana, our current Executive Vice President of Operations and Product, who wrote back. She was interested in meeting me and gave me my first opportunity working here. That was 10 years ago. Since then, I have worked as a guide, zodiac driver, lecturer and currently, I am the educational outreach programmer for our air-cruises.
Andre Belem 10 years ago
What is your main advice to travelers to the 7th continent?
Andre – Breathe. Feel. Observe. Take your time connecting with Antarctica. Of course, the right equipment is important, but take advantage of your time on land, cruising in the zodiacs and getting to know our international team of experts. Each person, on our multi-cultural team, has their own interesting experiences to share with you. But, honestly, take every second to absorb the energy of this place. It is a matter of “becoming” a part of Antarctica. This is the true spirit of the Antarctic explorer.
Photo by Christophe Lepetit
About Andre Belem: Educational Coordinator for Antarctica21
Born on the coast of São Paulo and now living in Rio de Janeiro, Andre is an oceanographer with a Ph.D. in polar oceanography from the Alfred-Wegener Institute in Germany. One of the most renowned polar research facilities in the world. Today, Andre leads scientific research on operational oceanography and climate change at Fluminense Federal University in Brazil and also works as a guide and educational coordinator for Antarctica21.