Birch bark texture.

Ahtna Kanas Summer 2017

Chitina to Antarctica – Jamie adds Bottom of World to her Global Travels

Antarctica is frequently called the most desolate place on Earth. Cold and stark, it is a landscape that in many ways is frozen in time. For Jamie Ginn, Ahtna shareholder-owner and seasoned world traveler, visiting the bottom of the world was the opportunity to complete a personal quest.

Outdoor photo of Jamie Ginn in front of whale skeleton

Jamie always liked to tell people she had been to all seven continents, except Antarctica, that is until she noticed an ad about traveling to the bottom of the world and decided she would cross Antarctica off her list before her 30th birthday.

Undeterred by the distance or logistics – and without reservations – she set out alone in late January for the southern tip of South America, the staging point for Antarctic travel. “I really didn’t have any plans when I got here. I literally just showed up,” she said.

After taking a 60-hour bus ride from Santiago, Chile, to southern Argentina, which included sleeping on the bus and in bus stations, Jamie then had to wait several days to find out if she could even get aboard a tour ship. Her patience and persistence were rewarded when a cancellation opened a spot and she was soon sailing to the bottom of the world.

More than a century after the first explorers stepped foot on Antarctica, the continent remains almost untouched by humans. When Jamie arrived, she learned it is that quality that makes Antarctica special. “It was nice to see a part of the world so protected and untouched. Animals flourish with no people around.”

She watched humpback whales surfacing just feet from the inflatable boat she was riding in and there were penguins by the thousands. There are strict rules to protect and preserve the unspoiled ecosystem and visitors are always escorted while on ground and absolutely nothing can be left behind.

Looking back on her adventure, Jamie learned that while different in many ways, Antarctica and southern Argentina reminded her of Alaska. Visiting all seven continents has only inspired Jamie to keep traveling and now she is still trying to decide where to go next. Possibly Japan or Egypt or maybe even Bulgaria.

Jamie is originally from Chitina, where her mom, Mary Finnesand, and her grandparents, Ed and Lori Dummler, still live, as does her aunt, Arleen Lenard. Jamie graduated from Kenny Lake School in 2005.