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2024 Antarctica Research Expedition!!!

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2024 Antarctica Research Expedition!!!

About Me:
First of all, thank you for taking the time to read this! For those of you who know me, and those of you who don't, my name is Ashley Bugge. I'm an author, public speaker, master scuba diver, teacher, military widow and a mother of three young children. I lost my husband in a tragic diving accident in May 2018 while I was six months pregnant and we were living in Hawaii for his work with the US Navy. Since experiencing a loss like this, I have vowed to make every single day count, as well as teach my children that we only get one chance at this life, and it's up to us to make it what we want it to be. I have found the greatest joy, empowerment, confidence, and zest for life has come from working through adversity and showing yourself what you're capable of accomplishing. All of this has led me to get to experience one of my favorite titles yet: POLAR EXPLORER!! You can learn more about my journey here:

About the expedition
I am SO EXCITED to announce I have officially been selected to join a team of incredibly talented divers, researchers, filmmakers, explorers, and polar scientists from around the globe to partake in a February 2024 research expedition to ANTARCTICA! I have been awarded a place on the science team onboard the M/V Ortelius and will be focusing on conducting baseline surveys and collecting samples of jellyfish and other planktonic species in the water column. In addition, my team will be doing plankton tows to get samples of phyto and zoo plankton, and assist with sample processing. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with one of the world's leading jellyfish researchers to help understand the movement and tracking of this vital species as well as study under a team of accomplished scientists and polar researchers.

We are a team of self-funded volunteers and I would really appreciate any help to make this expedition happen! $1, $5, $50 - anything you're able to contribute can help make this dream come true!

(Leading a fish identification survey during a local dive in the Puget Sound)

About the 2024 Antarctica Challenger Expedition
We are a team of divers, explorers, scientists, and students, converging at the bottom of the earth to participate in ground-breaking research in one of the most data-scarce regions on the planet. We each have a motivating factor, study, question, or curiosity which brings us to this place, where we will live, dine, study, explore, sleep, and travel together in one of the most under-studied, under-explored, and under-documented places on earth!

Along with the many cases of luggage and gear required to participate in an expedition like this, we will converge in Ushuaia, Argentina in February 2024 and spend a day or two getting acclimated before heading to our research vessel/home for the next few weeks; the M/V Ortelius. From here we will step onboard, don our sea-sickness patches, and make our way toward the path of the polar explorers; the infamous Drake Passage. After passing the Antarctic Convergence, Antarctica’s natural boundary formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas, we will arrive in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone where we will (if we're lucky) witness an abundance of albatross and bird life. While underway we will have access to numerous lectures and workshops by those who have traveled these seas before and have dedicated their life to better understanding this incredibly unique part of the world.

Some of the sites we may have research opportunities include
Deception Island – Actually a subducted crater, this island opens into the sea and creates a natural harbor for the ship. An abandoned whaling station, and multiple bird species – cape petrels, kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns – can be seen here.
Neko Harbour – An epic landscape of mammoth glaciers and endless wind-carved snow, Neko Harbour offers
opportunities for a Zodiac landing that afford the closest views of the surrounding alpine peaks. We might also be able to set foot on the continent here.
Pléneau & Petermann Islands – If the ice allows it, we may sail through the Lemaire Channel in search of Adélie
penguins and blue-eyed shags. There’s also a good chance to encounter humpback and minke whales as well as leopard seals.
Crystal Sound – This takes us south along the Argentine Islands to the ice-packed body of water, and from here across the Polar Circle in the morning.
Fish Islands – Further north you encounter one of the southernmost Adélie penguin and blue-eyed shag colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula.
Melchior Islands – These islands offer a beautiful landscape rich with icebergs. Leopard seals, crabeater seals, and whales are found here, and there are excellent opportunities for kayaking and diving.

(Photo of me in Arctic Norway on recent expedition to study Orca whales)

This Antarctica expedition is incredibly important to me for a number of reasons
First and foremost, while this is not my first polar expedition, this is my first time being invited to participate in research in Antarctica. My love and admiration for the ocean are a driving force, and helping provide valuable research to protect and preserve this vital resource is something I'm beyond honored to be a part of. I want to provide data my children will use as they grow up studying our world's oceans so they can continue to ask questions and find answers to help their own children someday. I have spent five years mourning the loss of my husband while simultaneously pushing myself to not let his death be in vain and I am raising my children to understand that you work hard for what you want, and you ask for help when you need it. I have worked hard to put myself in a position where I'm being offered the opportunity to be a part of this team, but now I have to ask for help me get me there.

Anticipated costs of the 2024 Antarctica Challenger Expedition
Unfortunately, raising funds for polar expedition is the biggest hurdle that explorers face and volunteerism is a cornerstone of our expedition. It takes the generosity of community members, supporters and donors to send a team of divers and researchers on an expedition like this.

Here is a breakdown of my anticipated expedition costs:

Live Aboard shared cabin aboard research vessel: $11600 USD.

Roundtrip airfare from my hometown to Ushuaia, Argentina $2000 - $2400 USD.

Three nights hotel & meals in Ushuaia during transit to research vessel $600 USD.

Drysuit and gear service $500 USD.

Miscellaneous to include taxi transfers, baggage fees, travel insurance, diving insurance, additional cold water diving training, etc $600 USD.

Additional expedition gear rated to Antarctica air and water temperatures: $400 USD.

Feel free to watch this short clip below to learn a little more about me!



  • Nancy Kleefisch
    • $50 
    • 6 mos
  • Lisa Strand
    • $500 
    • 6 mos
  • Brunella Irma Costagliola
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
  • Monica Loy
    • $20 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $1,000 
    • 11 mos


Ashley Bugge
Vancouver, WA

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