Melinda’s happy feat

Sal­ter Point res­i­dent Melinda Fitzger­ald was stunned by the scenery and an­i­mals she dis­cov­ered dur­ing an ad­ven­ture to Antarc­tica.

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Aaron Cor­lett

FROM the bright blue skies to the re­flec­tions of the wa­ter, Melinda Fitzger­ald could hardly be­lieve the land­scapes and scenery of Antarc­tica.

The Sal­ter Point res­i­dent – an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at UWA – took part in Homeward Bound, which in­cluded a trip to one of the most sur­real places on Earth for 21 days in De­cem­ber.

“We ar­rived at Ushuaia, Ar­gentina, on De­cem­ber 2 and then trav­elled to Antarc­tica be­fore ar­riv­ing back in South Amer­ica on De­cem­ber 21 and mak­ing it back to Aus­tralia on De­cem­ber 24,” she said.

“We spent half of each day talk­ing about lead­er­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tion in our per­sonal and pro­fes­sional lives on the ship and then the other half we landed on Antarc­tica and ex­plored.

“We went on zo­diac cruises and saw pen­guins, seals, whales and the in­cred­i­ble colours.

“I felt in­cred­i­bly for­tu­nate. Ev­ery day was dif­fer­ent from the last and the weather was quite kind to us; at the cold­est it was -3C and it got up to 5C.

“I felt so priv­i­leged to see the glaciers, make friend­ships with peo­ple from around the world and have snow­ball fights.”

Mrs Fitzger­ald said meet­ing peo­ple from dif­fer­ent coun­tries and learn­ing about their science was amaz­ing.

“Go­ing into it you knew the stereo­types about peo­ple from cer­tain coun­tries but we were en­cour­aged to in­ter­act and we found out we have a lot in com­mon,” she said.

“Per­son­ally, I feel strongly that women find dif­fi­cul­ties in ris­ing through the ranks in science and so at UWA I be­gan to de­velop pro­grams to ad­dress this.”

Melinda Fitzger­ald meets chin­strap pen­guins at Baily Head on De­cep­tion Is­land in the South Shet­land Is­lands archipelago.

Pic­tures: Melinda Fitzger­ald

Ice, ice, baby: UWA pro­fes­sor Melinda Fitzger­ald had the ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time when she vis­ited Antarc­tica.

Glaciers were among the amaz­ing sights that Mrs Fitzger­ald saw on her trip.

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