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5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN<br />

2020<br />

Albatros<br />

Magazine<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9<br />

A Visual Journey<br />

South Shetlands &<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> <strong>Peninsula</strong>: The<br />

Journey of a Lifetime<br />


Albatros Magazine: A Visual Journey<br />

Editor-in-Chief:<br />

Layout & Design:<br />

Contributing Writers:<br />

Traynor,<br />

Dalsgaard,<br />

Martin Schuster<br />

Gaby Pilson<br />

Heidi Ahvenainen, Thomas Bauer, Sara Hoffritz, Sandra Ophorst, Steve<br />

Steve Egan, David Macdonald, Gregers Gjersøe, Gaby Pilson, Amanda<br />

Martin Schuster<br />

Front Cover Image:<br />

Back Cover Image:<br />

Photography Contributors:<br />

Weddell seal © Gaby Pilson<br />

Chinstrap Penguin © Renato Granieri<br />

Renato Granieri<br />

Yuri Choufour<br />

Werner Kruse<br />

Gaby Pilson<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9


The <strong>Voyage</strong><br />

Meet the Team<br />

Day 1: Southward Bound<br />

The Seven Sisters of Szczecin<br />

An Unlikely <strong>Antarctic</strong> Explorer<br />

Day 2: Rolling Our Way South<br />

Penguins! Fun Facts for the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

Adventurer<br />

Day 3: Approaching the Ice<br />

Ice is Nice – Glacier Fun Facts<br />

Whales: Friendly Giants of the Sea<br />

Day 4: Chasing Icebergs, Finding Penguins<br />

The Geological Structure of the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

<strong>Peninsula</strong><br />

Day 5: The White Continent<br />

When and How the Earth Got Cold<br />

Day 6: South, Way South<br />

Day 7: Deception Island<br />

A Brief History of the Zodiac<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a: A Continent for Science<br />

Day 8: Northward Bound<br />

Fire in the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

Day 9: Towards the Horn<br />

King of the Southern Winds<br />

Day 10: Home Again<br />

By the Numbers<br />

A Final Note<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

6<br />

7<br />

8<br />

9<br />

10<br />

11<br />

13<br />

14<br />

15<br />

16<br />

17<br />

19<br />

20<br />

21<br />

23<br />

24<br />

25<br />

26<br />

27<br />

29<br />

30<br />


The <strong>Voyage</strong><br />

The following map illustrates the approximate route taken by M/V Ocean Atlantic during our voyage<br />

to <strong>Antarctic</strong>a. You can find more information about our day to day activities, landings, and<br />

excursions on the following pages. We hope that this magazine serves as a reminder of all of the<br />

wonderful memories you made while experiencing the <strong>Antarctic</strong> with us at Albatros Expeditions.<br />

3<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Meet the Team<br />

4<br />

Phil Hunter<br />

Assistant Expedition<br />

Leader<br />

Jamie Watts<br />

Expedition Leader<br />

Marieke Egan<br />

Assistant Expedition<br />

Leader<br />

Shelli Ogilvy<br />

Zodiac Master<br />

Thomas Morgensen<br />

Kayak Guide<br />

Steve Egan<br />

Kayak Master<br />

Thomas Bauer<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Nadine Smith<br />

Shop Manager<br />

Slava Nikitin<br />

Kayak Master<br />

Guillaume de Remacle<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Renato Granieri<br />

Photographer<br />

Steve Traynor<br />

First Aid Team Leader<br />

Marc Hebert<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Amanda Dalsgaard<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Martin Shuster<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Sara Hoffritz<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Heidi Ahvenainen<br />

Equipment Master<br />

Chloe Zhang<br />

Shop Assistant<br />

Deng Weixi<br />

Translator & Guide<br />

Sandra Ophorst<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Jes (Yeti) Graugaard<br />

Ornithologist & Guide<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

5<br />

Southward Bound<br />

5 January 2019 - Embarkation Day<br />

Written by Martin Schuster<br />

This afternoon most of us were excited to embark<br />

the Ocean Atlantic in anticipation of our trip to the<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> <strong>Peninsula</strong>. At 14:00 the first bus arrived<br />

and the team on board welcomed us with bright<br />

smiles, a cocktail, and also some necessary<br />

paperwork. Afterwards everybody settled into<br />

their cabins, explored their new home for the next<br />

nine days, and enjoyed some afternoon tea.<br />

At 16:15 our Expedition Leader, Jamie Watts,<br />

invited us into the Viking Theatre for a mandatory<br />

safety briefing followed by a lifeboat drill. We all<br />

learned about SOLAS, Safety of Life at Sea, and<br />

were taken to our life boat stations simulating a<br />

general emergency. As soon as this was completed,<br />

the anchor was lifted and we set sail, leaving the<br />

Port of Ushuaia on our way to the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

<strong>Peninsula</strong>!<br />

After a small break, during which we were able to<br />

explore our new home, we were invited once again<br />

into the Viking Theatre for an introduction to the<br />

ship and its key personnel. Our hotel director,<br />

Oliver, introduced the key people in the hotel<br />

department such as our food and beverage<br />

manager, purser, and head of housekeeping. Jamie<br />

then introduced us to the entire Expedition Team<br />

and also informed us that we could expect a ‘good<br />

drake’, meaning that the weather forecast for the<br />

crossing was excellent.<br />

Jamie also explained the difference between cruise<br />

ships and expedition ships, and it was clear that we<br />

were on the right vessel. We were at the start of a<br />

proper expedition voyage.<br />

At 19:15 the formalities were over and we all headed<br />

down for dinner in the Vinland restaurant. The hotel<br />

team prepared a lovely buffet dinner and we spent the<br />

next hour or so mingling with some of our fellow<br />

travellers.<br />

After dinner, many of us went up to the outer decks to<br />

enjoy the scenic views of the Beagle Channel. The<br />

conditions were beautifully calm and the sun was<br />

slowly setting.<br />

Step by step it became quieter around the Ocean<br />

Atlantic as many retired early after the long<br />

international journey.<br />

True to Jamie’s word, the crossing began with calm<br />

seas, and we all fell into a restful sleep.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

The Seven Sisters of Szczecin<br />

David Macdonald, Lecturer (Geology) & Expedition Guide<br />

M/V Ocean Atlantic was launched in 1986 as the last-built of the ‘Shoshtakovich’ class of ice-strengthened<br />

passenger vessels, alongside six sister ships, together known as the “Seven Sisters of Szczecin.<br />

6<br />

Her original name was Konstantin Chernenko<br />

(Константин Черненко), after the President of the<br />

USSR (1984-1985). She was renamed Russ (Русс) in<br />

1989, and spent much of her life working in the Russian<br />

Far East.<br />

She was purchased by Albatros Expeditions and<br />

completely refitted in 2017. She is now a 200-<br />

passenger expedition vessel and is one of the strongest<br />

polar cruise ships afloat. Here are some fun facts about<br />

the “Seven Sisters”:<br />

• All seven ships were built by Stocnia Szczecinska<br />

shipyard in Szczecin, Poland between 1979-1986<br />

• Main engines: 4 x Skoda Sulzer 6LZ40 total power<br />

12800 kW, giving a maximum speed of 18 knots<br />

• Most of the class have one bow thruster (736 kW)<br />

and one stern thruster (426 kW); however, two<br />

ships, including ours, built in 1986, have two stern<br />

thrusters, each of 426 kW<br />

• Feature Siemens stabilisers for seaworthiness<br />

• Although built as ferries, they have a strengthened<br />

car deck for transport of tanks<br />

• Two of them had diving chambers<br />

• MV Mikhail Sholokov had hull demagnetising<br />

equipment so it could operate in minefields<br />

• All of these ships have been scrapped except ours<br />

and Konstantin Simonov – now Ocean Endeavour<br />

Our ship has had a complex history:<br />

1986-1987 In Baltic traffic, then Vladivostok to<br />

Japan & S Korea<br />

1989 renamed to Russ<br />

1997-1999 In traffic Stockholm-Riga; 2000<br />

Odessa-Haifa; 2002 back to<br />

Vladivostok transporting cars from<br />

Japan<br />

2007 Sold to Sea Ferry Shipping in Majuro<br />

and renamed 2010 to Atlantic;<br />

renovations in Italy and in traffic<br />

Stockholm-Helsinki-St. Petersburg<br />

during summer and laid up (October<br />

2010) in St Petersburg<br />

2012 Sold to ISP in Miami and renamed to<br />

Ocean Atlantic under Marshall<br />

Islands flag<br />

2013 Used as a hotel ship in the German<br />

bight wind farm project<br />

2015-2017 Laid up in Helsingborg and taken to<br />

Gdansk in Poland, where totally<br />

refitted<br />

2017 Chartered to Quark Expeditions<br />

2017-present Chartered to Albatros Expeditions.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

An Unlikely <strong>Antarctic</strong> Explorer<br />

Gregers Gjersøe – Snowshoe Master & Expedition Guide<br />

In a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand, the local<br />

cemetery is home to a rather unassuming grave.<br />

The final resting place of Henry “Chippy” McNish,<br />

one of the survivors of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s<br />

1914 Endurance Expedition, the grave is also a<br />

memorial to one of the most improbable of<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> explorers.<br />

In January of 1915, the Endurance got trapped in<br />

the <strong>Antarctic</strong> pack ice. McNish's work prevented<br />

the ship from flooding, but he couldn’t do<br />

anything to stop it from being crushed. The ship<br />

was abandoned and, much to McNish’s despair,<br />

Shackleton ordered Mrs. Chippy to be shot, as<br />

they couldn’t take her on their survival journey.<br />

7<br />

McNish himself was a carpenter onboard the<br />

Endurance, though he didn’t travel alone. During<br />

the expedition, McNish brought along a cat that<br />

followed him around like an overpossessive<br />

wife. Soon enough, the<br />

crew named the cat Mrs. Chippy,<br />

although the expedition quickly<br />

realised that Mrs. Chippy was a<br />

gentleman, not a lady.<br />

Mrs. Chippy was an unusual cat,<br />

though an avid adventurer,<br />

having climbed the Endurance’s<br />

rigging lines on several<br />

occasions. Mrs. Chippy also did<br />

some very provocative strolls<br />

across the roofs of the dogs’ kennels<br />

and even once fell into the frigid water<br />

below. Thankfully, the crew heard her cries and<br />

quickly turned the ship around so they could<br />

pluck her up from the icy cold waters and get her<br />

to safety.<br />

Also onboard the Endurance was a young man -<br />

Perce Blackborow. Perce had travelled to Buenos<br />

Aires looking for new employment, but wasn’t<br />

hired; at 18, his youth and inexperience counted<br />

against him. Somehow, he managed to sneak<br />

aboard the ship, and he hid in a clothing locker<br />

for three days. Eventually, he was discovered,<br />

and Shackleton was furious with him, but was<br />

sent to work in the galley where he became great<br />

friends with Mrs. Chippy.<br />

Now, the group had to make it back to safety. For<br />

months, the expedition drifted through icy<br />

waters until they made it to Elephant Island.<br />

Once at Elephant Island, Shackleton set out<br />

in a 22-foot-long open boat and made<br />

an 800-mile crossing through the<br />

rough waters of the South Atlantic<br />

to South Georgia. McNish was<br />

one of the five men who<br />

accompanied Shackleton,<br />

making improvements to the<br />

boat to make the voyage<br />

possible.<br />

For the next fifteen years, McNish<br />

lived a difficult life in Wellington<br />

before passing away in 1930. He never<br />

forgave Shackleton for shooting Mrs.<br />

Chippy.<br />

Nearly 30 years later, in 1959, the New Zealand<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> Society realised that McNish had been<br />

given a very poor burial in an unmarked grave.<br />

The Society raised funds for a headstone and<br />

even reunited McNish and Mrs. Chippy by adding<br />

a life-sized bronze statue of Mrs. Chippy to the<br />

grave.<br />

Now Karori Cemetery near Wellington is a<br />

pilgrimage site for <strong>Antarctic</strong> history buffs, who<br />

visit McNish’s grave and see Mrs. Chippy<br />

watching over him once again.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Rolling Our Way South<br />

6 January 2020 – Drake Passage<br />

By Heidi Ahvenainen<br />

8<br />

It was the first morning of our expedition, a time<br />

many have been waiting for. The adventure had<br />

started! Some of us were awoken by Jamie’s<br />

wake-up call at 7:45 AM, but others were already<br />

up and about, enjoying the infamous Drake<br />

Passage and trying to spot the wandering<br />

Albatross and other sea birds. The Drake treated<br />

us like an old friend on our first day and the sailing<br />

was as smooth as Jamie had promised.<br />

The day ahead was full of lectures and briefings<br />

on what we could look forward to during our<br />

expedition to <strong>Antarctic</strong>a. The first lecture was<br />

given by our resident ornithologist, Gui. He<br />

educated us on seabirds of the Drake Passage,<br />

and even the people who were not experienced<br />

with bird identification were inspired to admire<br />

the majestic seabirds of the Southern Ocean.<br />

The briefing was followed by an opportunity for<br />

all guests to bring their outer wear for inspection<br />

and cleaning by the expedition team to ensure<br />

that no seeds or foreign matter would<br />

contaminate our landing sites. All throughout the<br />

day’s activities, the Albatros team kept a lookout<br />

from the bridge in the hope of spotting marine<br />

life.<br />

Afternoon tea time brings a break to the day and<br />

a chance for even more delicious snacks. We<br />

were beginning to realize that we would not go<br />

hungry on this expedition. For those of us<br />

interested in kayaking, a preliminary briefing was<br />

held in the Viking lounge to explain how the<br />

program runs.<br />

Our second lecture of the morning was given by<br />

our resident photographer Renato. He equipped<br />

many of us with the skills necessary to capture the<br />

wildlife and scenery of <strong>Antarctic</strong>a on our cameras.<br />

After a delicious lunch, afternoon activities began<br />

with a mandatory briefing about visiting<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a, where we were all reminded of how<br />

we are expected to behave in this fragile<br />

environment and how to leave it pristine.<br />

It’s always nice to meet the most important man<br />

on the vessel, and in the evening Captain Mykola<br />

invited everyone to the Viking lounge for a<br />

cocktail and a chance to introduce himself and his<br />

senior officers. Champagne and canapés were<br />

enjoyed before a delicious dinner in the Vinland<br />

restaurant. To wrap up the evening, we finished<br />

with a screening of the Frozen Planet<br />

documentary series in the Viking lounge, with<br />

popcorn!<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Penguins! Fun Facts for the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Adventurer<br />

Gaby Pilson, Hiking Master & Expedition Guide<br />

For many of us, the chance to see penguins waddling around in the snowy vastness of <strong>Antarctic</strong>a is the reason<br />

that we came to the White Continent. These charismatic sea birds are a fan-favourite for visitors to <strong>Antarctic</strong>a,<br />

but even cuddly-looking penguins are incredibly well adapted to one of the harshest environments on Earth.<br />

1<br />

2<br />

Depending on what book you read, there are 19<br />

species of penguins. If you count all of the<br />

subspecies, there are 25 total varieties of<br />

penguins in the world, however, there are only<br />

four truly <strong>Antarctic</strong> species of penguins: the<br />

Adélie, Gentoo, Chinstrap, and Emperor. All of<br />

the other penguins in the world live south of the<br />

equator yet north of <strong>Antarctic</strong>a, with the<br />

exception of one species in the Galapagos whose<br />

range barely crosses into the northern<br />

hemisphere.<br />

The largest penguin to have ever lived was the<br />

now-extinct mega penguin, which weighed some<br />

115 kg. These days, the largest penguin is the<br />

Emperor Penguin, which tips the scales at 23 kg.<br />

Alternatively, the smaller gentoo penguin weighs<br />

just 15 kg.<br />

9<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

Although they nest, breed, and socialize on land,<br />

penguins rely on the sea for survival. As<br />

swimming and diving birds, penguins are adept<br />

at fishing and must head to the ocean for their<br />

sustenance. Indeed, the deepest diving bird in<br />

the world is the Emperor Penguin, with a<br />

record-breaking dive of 535 meters!<br />

Penguins are amazing swimmers. They spend<br />

much of their day searching for food in the<br />

ocean, particularly for their favourite meal of<br />

krill, squid, and small fish. The fastest swimming<br />

penguin is the Gentoo, which is known to reach<br />

speeds of upwards of 50 kilometres an hour<br />

while zooming through the water.<br />

Penguins are highly social birds, choosing to<br />

nest in large colonies, where they will also raise<br />

their young. Many penguin chicks, after<br />

hatching stay with their parents for a few weeks<br />

to a few months before forming large “crechés,”<br />

many hundreds of individual teenage penguins<br />

in size.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Approaching the ice<br />

7 January 2020 – Drake Passage & S. Shetland<br />

Islands<br />

Written by Thomas Bauer<br />

10<br />

Our smooth crossing continued and in the morning<br />

in cloudy and foggy conditions we discovered that<br />

during the night we had crossed 60 degrees South<br />

and that we were now officially in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a. The<br />

fog further indicated that we had reached the<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> Convergence, the biological boundary of<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a, where the cold waters from the south<br />

subside under the warmer waters from the north.<br />

During the morning Gui gave us a very<br />

comprehensive presentation on the different<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> penguins we hope to encounter during<br />

our voyage. His lecture was followed by a<br />

mandatory briefing on how to get in and out of the<br />

inflatable Zodiac boats. Without these very sturdy<br />

boats our landings in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a would not be<br />

possible.<br />

After lunch, our Kayak guides Slava and Toto<br />

conducted a briefing on our kayak operations and<br />

a significant number of guests expressed an<br />

interest to experience <strong>Antarctic</strong>a from a kayak.<br />

As we approached the South Shetland Islands in<br />

still fairly foggy conditions the bridge reported<br />

that the first iceberg had been spotted on the<br />

radar. No visual sighting had been possible so far.<br />

In the afternoon our geologist Sara gave us a very<br />

informative lecture on the geology of <strong>Antarctic</strong>a<br />

and this was later followed by a presentation by<br />

guest presenter Dr. Bo Eberling on the very<br />

current topic of climate change and greenhouse<br />

gases.<br />

After the briefing we all headed to the mudroom<br />

to be issued with a pair of rubber boots. These will<br />

keep our feet nice and dry during the wet landings<br />

we will experience during our excursions.<br />

During the evening briefing our expedition leader<br />

announced that tomorrow we may be in a position<br />

to set eyes on an iceberg knows as A 68. At 5,800<br />

square kilometres A 68 is one of the largest<br />

icebergs ever recorded.<br />

After dinner we had the opportunity to listen to a<br />

presentation by Dr. Elise Biersma on the topic of<br />

polar ecology and adaptations to extreme<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> climate.<br />

© Renato Granieri<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Ice is Nice – Glacier Fun Facts<br />

Gaby Pilson, Hiking Master & Expedition Guide<br />

Glaciers have, quite literally, shaped our world. Without glaciers, the rolling hills and wide valleys we know<br />

today would look very different, but it turns out that these icy giants have a much longer and more storied<br />

history than many of us would initially suspect. Here are some of the best fun facts about glaciers:<br />

11<br />

1<br />

Not just anything can be a glacier. In fact, there’s<br />

a size requirement that a piece of ice has to<br />

meet to become a glacier. Anything considered a<br />

glacier must be at least 0.1 km 2 (nearly 25 acres)<br />

in area to be worthy of the name. Although<br />

there’s a minimum size requirement to be<br />

considered a glacier, there’s no upper limit to<br />

glacierhood. The longest glacier on earth is the<br />

Lambert Glacier of <strong>Antarctic</strong>a, which measures<br />

out to some 434 km (270 mi) long. The world’s<br />

largest non-polar glacier is the Fedchenko<br />

Glacier of Tajikistan, which measures a<br />

respectable 77km (48mi) long.<br />

2<br />

Glaciers are formed by snowflakes. Although it’s<br />

crazy to think that a tiny snowflake can create<br />

something as large as a glacier, without snow,<br />

glaciers would never exist in the first place. To<br />

form a glacier, massive amounts of snow must<br />

accumulate and persist in a single location all<br />

year long for hundreds, if not thousands of<br />

years. During this time, the individual snowflakes<br />

found in the snowpack change in a process<br />

known as snowflake metamorphosis, where<br />

individual ice grains fuse together and get bigger<br />

and air bubbles get smaller. Once the icepack<br />

builds up enough mass to start flowing downhill,<br />

then, voila! We have a glacier.<br />

3<br />

Glaciers are found all over the world, not just in<br />

the polar regions. While the majority of glaciers<br />

and glacial ice is concentrated in high northern<br />

and southern latitudes, glaciers are found even<br />

near the equator, such as on Mount Kilimanjaro<br />

in Tanzania and in the mountains of Ecuador.<br />

That being said, about half of the world’s<br />

200,000 glaciers are found in one place: Alaska.<br />

There, glaciers cover a whopping 72,500 km 2<br />

(28,000 mi 2 ) of the US state’s total area. That’s a<br />

lot of ice.<br />

4<br />

Glaciers are basically really, really, really slow-moving rivers. To be considered a glacier, a large mass of ice<br />

must be physically moving downhill. This movement downhill is driven by gravity and is the main reason<br />

why glaciers also act as major agents of erosion. Since glaciers move downhill, they often remove and<br />

transport large boulders and chunks of rock, depositing them much further downhill then where they<br />

started.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Drake<br />

Passage<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Whales: Friendly Giants of the Sea<br />

Amanda Dalsgaard – Lecturer (Marine Biology) and Expedition Guide<br />

13<br />

When one talks about whales, we must acknowledge<br />

the vast diversity of whales on earth and the<br />

uniqueness of each species. All whales fall into an<br />

order of marine mammals known as Cetaceans. The<br />

scientists who first discovered and named this order of<br />

marine mammals, used the word cetacean or<br />

‘ceatacea’ from the Greek word ‘ketos,’ meaning<br />

monster.<br />

Long ago, when whales were first scientifically<br />

observed and recorded, people believed they were<br />

monsters, due to their incredible size compared to<br />

humans. Today, we know much more about the gentle<br />

giants that roam our planet’s seas. Thanks to a number<br />

scientific and technological advances, our knowledge<br />

of these creatures will only continue to grow.<br />

The order Cetacea is divided into two sub-orders,<br />

Odontocete and Mysticeti. Odontocete, meaning<br />

‘toothed-whale’, includes all of the whales and<br />

dolphins with teeth. Mysticeti comes from the Latin<br />

root meaning “mustache”, and includes all of the<br />

whales that have baleen plates in their mouth instead<br />

of teeth..<br />

Since whales are marine mammals, they must breath<br />

air to survive. They do so by breathing at the water’s<br />

surface through their blow holes.<br />

Interestingly enough, however, toothed whales have<br />

only one blow hole or spout, while baleen whales have<br />

two. Plus, many whales can be identified from afar<br />

using the size and shape of their spout blow as well.<br />

For example, grey whales tend to have spouts shaped<br />

like hearts, while orcas have low bushy spouts. It’s<br />

important to keep these differences in mind when<br />

trying to observe whales from a ship as this<br />

information can help identify cetaceans from far away<br />

Another distinguishing characteristic that sets these<br />

two sub-orders apart is the way that they<br />

communicate. Odontocetes use a method of<br />

communication called echolocation. This is best<br />

described as a series or clicks and precise sounds that<br />

are then reflected back to the animal and allows the<br />

whale to ‘see’ their environment through noise. It is<br />

the same communication style used by bats in<br />

terrestrial ecosystems. Mysticetes on the other hand,<br />

communicate through a variety of low-frequency<br />

songs. These songs have been described by scientists<br />

as being beautiful, mysterious and sometimes gloomy,<br />

with the males being the most active singers of the<br />

Mysticeti clan.<br />

Regardless of the kind of whale you see however, any<br />

encounter with one of these graceful marine giants,<br />

however brief, is sure to be a memorable experience<br />

for years to come.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Chasing Icebergs, Finding Penguins<br />

8 January 2020 – Weddell Sea and Paulet Island<br />

Written by Sara Hoffritz<br />

14<br />

After a night travelling through the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Sound<br />

we arrived by the Weddell Sea early in the morning.<br />

Our Expedition Leader Jamie woke us up to the<br />

announcement of the ship being surrounded by ice<br />

bergs. We all hurried out on the bow to enjoy the<br />

stunning views.<br />

We enjoyed a few hours on the island followed by a<br />

cruise around the nearby icebergs before being<br />

engulfed in a carpet of fog. Once back onboard the<br />

Ocean Atlantic our journey continued at a slower<br />

pace to compensate for reduced visibility.<br />

In the Weddell Sea the team had hoped to hunt<br />

down the largest existing iceberg, known as A-68.<br />

Iceberg A-68 broke off of the Larsen B ice shelf in<br />

2017 and has been drifting in the Weddell sea ever<br />

since. The iceberg is on its journey away from<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a to its last days in warmer water. Upon<br />

arriving at the <strong>Antarctic</strong> sound it quickly became<br />

clear that the largest moving object on the planet<br />

was already disintegrating to such a degree that ice<br />

was preventing us from getting close.<br />

As the afternoon arrived the fog had not improved,<br />

and the sheer amount of icebergs had reduced our<br />

speed such that the afternoon’s plans were changed.<br />

Instead of landing at Brown Bluff we spent the rest<br />

of the day learning about <strong>Antarctic</strong> whales and the<br />

geology of <strong>Antarctic</strong> ice. In the evening we were<br />

entertained by a historical reenactment of the heroic<br />

age of <strong>Antarctic</strong> exploration, followed by a lecture by<br />

Dr. Thomas Bauer on the human history of the<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>.<br />

With a quick change of plans we used the<br />

opportunity of being in the sound to land at the<br />

rarely visited Paulet Island. Paulet Island is a stark<br />

place, and the low hanging mist we encountered<br />

there was a bit surreal. Upon our arrival on shore<br />

we were greeting by the raucous cries of 100,000<br />

mating pairs of Adelie penguins, and their chicks!<br />

The Adelies extended as far as the eye could see,<br />

from the shore to the tops of distant ridgelines. It<br />

was a spectacular sight.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

The Geological Structure of the <strong>Antarctic</strong> <strong>Peninsula</strong><br />

David Macdonald, Lecturer (Geology) & Expedition Guide<br />

This cartoon shows what the <strong>Antarctic</strong> <strong>Peninsula</strong> looked like 100 million years ago (mya). The main points to<br />

note are:<br />

• The peninsula was a continuation of the Andes. They were connected until 35 mya<br />

• The peninsula was a volcanic arc from about 200 mya3 until about 25 mya<br />

• Volcanism ended 50 mya in the south and 20 mya off Brabant Island<br />

• Only the South Shetlands Islands have any volcanic activity now<br />

15<br />

There are three main geological domains, each formed of multiple rock units:<br />

1. The basement domain (grey and brown colours) contains sediments scraped off the ocean floor which were<br />

changed by heat and pressure (metamorphosed) in the subduction zone and during folding and<br />

deformation. These metamorphic rocks span a wide range of ages from 299-65 mya. They tend to be older<br />

on the east coast of the peninsula. These rocks are best seen in Paradise Harbour, at the shag colony near<br />

Brown Station.<br />

2. The igneous domain contains rocks crystallised from magma. This includes both plutonic rocks (where the<br />

magma crystallised slowly within the earth’s crust) and volcanic rocks (where the magma was erupted as<br />

lava and ash). Again, the rocks span a wide range of ages from about 210-25 mya, and the younger rocks<br />

tend to be in the west. These are the commonest rocks seen in the <strong>Peninsula</strong> and are well displayed in the<br />

South Shetland Islands (e.g. Half Moon Island, or Yankee Harbour) or on the peninsula (e.g. Cuverville<br />

Island). Plutonic rocks form Goudier Island at Port Lockroy.<br />

3. The sedimentary domain contains rocks eroded from the volcanic arc and deposited in sedimentary basins,<br />

either on the eastern, Weddell Sea side (in a very large structure called the Larsen Basin), or in smaller<br />

basins to the west (the largest of which is the Fossil Bluff Basin on Alexander Island). Sedimentary rocks are<br />

not seen on most peninsula cruises (unless they visit the area of James Ross Island), although there are<br />

sedimentary rocks with abundant fossils interbedded with volcanic rocks west of Hannah Point, in Walker<br />

Bay.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

The White Continent<br />

9 January 2020 – Hydrurga Rocks & Portal Point<br />

By Sandra Ophorst<br />

16<br />

This morning we reached “Hydrurga Rocks” at 64°S.<br />

They are rocky islands located in the Palmer<br />

Archipelago. It’s named after the leopard seal’s latin<br />

name, Hydrurga leptonyx. We landed at a narrow<br />

beach which is made up largely of pebbles and<br />

cobbles. At the landing site we were welcomed by<br />

Weddell seals near the beach.<br />

There was so much to see on this tiny island. A colony<br />

of around one thousand Chinstrap Penguins, which<br />

already had chicks. Brown Skuas and nesting Kelp Gulls<br />

could also be spotted. We also saw nesting Blue Eyed<br />

Shags with chicks which were almost the same size as<br />

their parents.<br />

The photographers amongst us were especially happy<br />

for the Weddell seal lying in front of a huge iceberg. A<br />

true <strong>Antarctic</strong> scene! No miracle that some started<br />

lying on the ground and turning towards seals to catch<br />

this moment with their camera. A fantastic landing<br />

with almost no wind.<br />

Portal Point lies northeast of the Reclus <strong>Peninsula</strong> and<br />

was once home to a British hut, called Cape Reclus,<br />

that was established in 1956. We were excited as this<br />

was our first chance to step foot on the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

continent itself, so far we had been exploring only<br />

Islands. The hut has been removed from the site and<br />

only the foundation remains on the site today.<br />

We had a chance to enjoy the company of Weddell<br />

seals, Brown Skuas and <strong>Antarctic</strong> terns while admiring<br />

all the shades of white and blue surrounding us. During<br />

the second part of the landing we got some visitors:<br />

Adelie penguins.<br />

During our zodiac cruise some of us were even treated<br />

with the amazing experience of watching humpback<br />

whales at play. These giants of the sea can become<br />

quite rambunctious under the right circumstances.<br />

Luckily they are always aware of their surrounds so our<br />

inflatable zodiacs were<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

When and How the Earth Got Cold<br />

David Macdonald, Leturer (Geology) & Expedition Guide<br />

The Earth’s climate has two end-member states:<br />

greenhouse and icehouse. In a greenhouse climate,<br />

there are no polar icecaps (although there may be<br />

valley glaciers in high mountain areas) – the climate of<br />

the Cretaceous Period (144-65 million years ago) is a<br />

typical greenhouse. We are currently in an icehouse<br />

climate, since there are icecaps at or near both poles.<br />

Although life on Earth goes back 3.5 billion years, the<br />

main expansion in numbers of species and hence of<br />

easily found fossils occurred 540 million years ago.<br />

During the time from then until now, greenhouse<br />

climates have dominated, with three periods of<br />

icehouse climate, lasting a total of about 100 million<br />

years. Our current icehouse period began abruptly 35<br />

million years ago, with formation of an icecap in<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a. Why did it happen then, and why did it have<br />

such an abrupt beginning?<br />

Water temperature (°C)<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> convergence<br />

October 2019<br />

8<br />

6<br />

4<br />

2<br />

0<br />

54 56 58 60 62 64<br />

Latitude (°S)<br />

17<br />

Figure 2: Temperatures in the Drake Passage from Friday 25<br />

October to Sunday 27 October 2019 as Ocean Atlantic sailed south<br />

across the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Convergence, where the sea temperature falls<br />

below 4°C.<br />

It was the severing of the link between the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

<strong>Peninsula</strong> and Tierra del Fuego that allowed deep cold<br />

water to circulate around the planet at 50-60°S and<br />

thermally isolate <strong>Antarctic</strong>a from the rest of the world.<br />

This situation continues today (Figure 1)<br />

The key area for this was the Drake Passage, which is<br />

the western end of the Scotia Sea (Figure 3). Geological<br />

and geophysical studies of the sea floor show that the<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a-South America link was severed by the<br />

growth of ocean crust, beginning 35 million years ago.<br />

Opening of this deep-water gateway cooled the planet<br />

and turned <strong>Antarctic</strong>a into the white continent.<br />

Figure 1: Thermal structure of the Southern Ocean showing the<br />

position of the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Convergence (Polar Front) at the junction<br />

of the dark blue and mid blue shading. This is the line of the 4°C<br />

isotherm, where <strong>Antarctic</strong> surface water plunges below cold<br />

temperate water.<br />

The first, and most important factor was that we had a<br />

polar continent. <strong>Antarctic</strong>a was in roughly its present<br />

position over the South Pole, so would have had<br />

strongly differentiated winters and summers. However,<br />

although the former supercontinent of Gondwana had<br />

largely broken up by then, there was still a land bridge<br />

to South America and <strong>Antarctic</strong>a was still forested,<br />

probably with a migratory fauna. Warm currents bathed<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a’s shores and, 35 million years ago, the<br />

temperature of the Southern Ocean was a relatively<br />

mild 6°C.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Figure 3: The Drake Passage and the Scotia Sea formed from 50<br />

million years ago, when there was slow extension between South<br />

America and the <strong>Antarctic</strong> <strong>Peninsula</strong> which stretched the crust and<br />

allowed surface waters to circulate through this former land<br />

bridge. The temperature of the southern Ocean fell from 12°C to<br />

6°C between 50-35 million years ago, then abruptly fell to 0°C<br />

when the deep water gateway of the scotia Sea opened, sundering<br />

the link between <strong>Antarctic</strong>a and South America and allowing<br />

continuous circulation of deep water, thermally isolating<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a.<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

© Renato Granieri<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020 Volume 2, 2, Issue 98

South, Way South<br />

10 January 2020 – Port Lockroy & Petermann Island<br />

Written by Sara Hoffritz<br />

19<br />

While the morning seemed to be very quiet in regard<br />

to sea life, the situation changed once we arrived in<br />

the beautiful entrance to the Lemaire Channel. The<br />

channel was towered by high, sharp peaks on both<br />

sides and immersed in a carpet of mist with bulky<br />

glaciers everywhere. In the water multiple groups of<br />

humpback whales were eating and resting, along<br />

with a few Minke whales and several seals.<br />

© Renato Granieri<br />

Friday was our last expedition day around the<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> <strong>Peninsula</strong> itself. We had an ambitious plan<br />

to head South, way South. One of the most scenic<br />

areas of the <strong>Antarctic</strong> peninsula is the Lemaire<br />

Channel, a narrow body of water that is 11<br />

kilometers long and flanked on both sides by<br />

magnificent mountains and glaciers. Our goal was to<br />

travel down the Lemaire, which is often impassable<br />

due to large icebergs, and to land at the remote<br />

Petermann Island.<br />

We started the day with a quick visit to the penguin<br />

post office at Port Lockroy, a historic British <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

Survey base on Goudier Island. We approached port<br />

Lockroy with mixed feelings. On one hand we were<br />

filled with the joy of being able to send postcards<br />

home and to see the Gentoo penguins and their<br />

chicks that reside on the small island. On the other<br />

hand, we also had to say goodbye to one of our<br />

expedition guides, Heidi, who was to live and work<br />

for a couple of months on this remote and isolated<br />

island.<br />

In the late afternoon we reached Petermann Island –<br />

the southernmost point on our trip. The island<br />

accommodated a small hut of an old Argentinian<br />

station, but now its main occupants were the<br />

competing Gentoo and Adelie colonies.<br />

Our afternoon zodiac cruise gave us the opportunity<br />

to get a close look at a big and picturesque leopard<br />

seal enjoying what must have been a well-deserved<br />

rest on a small ice flow. Inspired by the resting<br />

leopard seal we arrived back on the ship for a dinner<br />

and relaxing evening as we passed back through the<br />

Lemaire Channel.<br />

© Renato Granieri<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Deception Island<br />

11 January 2020– Baily Head<br />

Written by Sandra Ophorst<br />

.<br />

20<br />

During the morning we sailed to an Island called<br />

Deception Island. It’s part of the South Shetland<br />

Islands and is located at 65°S.<br />

Deception Island was named for this opening in what<br />

otherwise appears to be an island fortressed by<br />

cliffs, allowing access to her large inner harbour. This<br />

relatively safe and protected bay in her interior,<br />

along with her prime position in the rich Southern<br />

Ocean, made the island a popular location and base<br />

for sealing operations and shore based whaling.<br />

There was quite a lot of swell on the beach and a<br />

landing was not possible, so our expedition leader<br />

Jamie decided to do a Zodiac Cruise to enjoy Baily<br />

Head from the seaside. Our zodiacs were<br />

surrounded by chinstrap penguins. We also enjoyed<br />

gorgeous rock formations while we were cruising<br />

around.<br />

After our Zodiac Cruise we had the possibility to<br />

jump in the <strong>Antarctic</strong> waters for a polar plunge. Only<br />

the most brave guests decided to jump into the sea,<br />

which had a temperature of 1,7 °C. These brave<br />

souls can now be officially declared to be real<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> heroes!<br />

While we enjoyed our dinner, we slowly started<br />

sailing north towards the Drake Passage. We are all<br />

sad to leave, but our minds are full of beautiful<br />

memories we will never forget. How many people<br />

can say that they visited <strong>Antarctic</strong>a and actually<br />

walked on the 7 th Continent!?<br />

During the late evening the expedition team<br />

organised a Bingo-Evening in the Viking theatre, and<br />

afterwards we enjoyed the calm seas as we went to<br />

sleep.<br />

Baily Head is a rocky headland exposed to the<br />

Bransfield Strait on the South East coast of<br />

Deception Island. It’s a narrow valley that rises<br />

steeply inland to a semi-circular ridgeline, giving the<br />

impression of a natural amphitheatre. There is a very<br />

big colony of Chinstrap Penguins located there.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

A Brief History of the Zodiac<br />

Steve Traynor, Zodiac Master<br />

In expedition cruising, the most important tool we use is the Zodiac inflatable boat. These manoeuvrable,<br />

reliable, and robust vessels are the workhorse of the expedition cruise industry, from the north of Svalbard<br />

to the southern end of the <strong>Antarctic</strong> <strong>Peninsula</strong>. They have a long history – as you can see from the stages<br />

below, many different inventions needed to come together to create the craft we use today.<br />

1838 Charles Goodyear (USA) discovered the process for vulcanising rubber (a US patent was granted<br />

in 1844) – this process is used for hardening and strengthening rubber.<br />

1843 Goodyear’s process was stolen by Thomas Hancock (UK) using the process of reverse<br />

engineering; less controversially, Hancock invented the “masticator” – a machine for re-using<br />

rubber scraps – this made the rubber industry much more efficient.<br />

1845 The first successful inflatable boat (Halkett boat) was designed by Lieutenant Peter Halkett<br />

(UK), specifically for Arctic operations. Halkett Boats were used by the Orcadian explorer, John<br />

Rae, in his successful expedition to discover the fate of the Franklin Expedition.<br />

1866 Four men made the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Britain on a threetube<br />

inflatable raft.<br />

1896 The original Zodiac company was founded by Maurice Mallet (France) to produce airships.<br />

1909 The first outboard motor was invented by Ole Evinrude in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.<br />

1912 The loss of the Titanic and subsequent shipping losses during World War 1 proved the need for<br />

inflatable rafts for use as supplementary lifeboats.<br />

1919 RFD firm (UK) and the Zodiac company (France) started building inflatable boats.<br />

1934 The airship company, Zodiac, invented the inflatable kayak and catamaran<br />

1942 The Marine Raiders – an elite unit of the US Marine Corps – used inflatable boats to carry out<br />

raids and landings in the Pacific theatre.<br />

1950 Alain Bombard first combined the outboard engine, a rigid floor and an inflatable boat (built by<br />

the Zodiac company).<br />

1952 Alain Bombard crossed the Atlantic Ocean with his inflatable; after this, his good friend, the<br />

famous diver Jacques-Yves Cousteau, started using them.<br />

1960 Zodiac licensed production to a dozen companies in other countries because of their lack of<br />

manufacturing capacity in France.<br />

22<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a: A Continent for Science<br />

David Macdonald, Lecturer (Geology) & Expedition Guide<br />

Until the advent of mass tourism, <strong>Antarctic</strong>a’s tagline was: “A continent for science”.<br />

23<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a affects the rest of the world in a variety of<br />

ways, so “<strong>Antarctic</strong> Science” should really be “Global<br />

science that happens in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a”. Although many<br />

early expeditions were purely geographical in scope,<br />

there were some important scientific expeditions in the<br />

late 19 th to early 20 th centuries. In this “Golden Age” of<br />

exploration, there were many scientific contributions<br />

from <strong>Antarctic</strong>a which changed our view of the earth’s<br />

evolution and environment.<br />

Indeed, three expeditions brought back proof that<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a once had a warm climate. Scott’s first<br />

expedition (1901-1904) found coal from 250 million<br />

years ago in the Transantarctic Mountains;<br />

Nordenskjӧld’s Swedish <strong>Antarctic</strong> Expedition found<br />

warm-water fossils on James Ross Island; and the Scotia<br />

Expedition under Bruce (1902-1904) dredged<br />

fossiliferous 500 million-year-old limestone from the<br />

Weddell Sea. Scott’s second expedition (1910-1913)<br />

found fossil leaves(Glossopteris) in the Transantarctic<br />

Mountains. These fossils belong to an extinct order of<br />

seed ferns from 299-252 million years ago, only found<br />

in the southern hemisphere continents and India. They<br />

were used by Wegener in 1924 in his work on<br />

continental drift to reconstruct the former<br />

supercontinent of Gondwana.<br />

In the years after the First World War, the focus<br />

changed from individual expeditions to national<br />

pursuits, such as the British Discovery Investigations –<br />

the first permanent oceanographic body in the world.<br />

During 33 years (1918–51) of pioneering work, the<br />

research ships collected an enormous amount of<br />

oceanographic, biological, and geographical data.<br />

Among the results of the investigations was the<br />

discovery of both the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> Convergence - the natural boundary of<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a.<br />

By the end of the Second World War, the move to<br />

create national organisations was complete, with the<br />

formation of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey<br />

(now British <strong>Antarctic</strong> Survey), the Australian National<br />

Research Expeditions) and other civilian operations<br />

(France, New Zealand, South Africa, etc).<br />

As a result of these organisations and better logistics,<br />

the rate of scientific discovery soared, and new polarspecific<br />

studies proliferated. Some highlights include:<br />

• 1957-58: The International Geophysical Year (IGY)<br />

was an 18-month collaboration between 67<br />

countries. <strong>Antarctic</strong>a was the focus, with 12 nations<br />

participating. Many new scientific stations were<br />

created and the IGY was a resounding success as it<br />

led directly to the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Treaty<br />

• 1959-1996: The discovery and delineation of<br />

subglacial Lake Vostok is a great example of scientific<br />

cooperation. Lab studies showed that ice under very<br />

high pressure reverts to water and in 1964, seismic<br />

soundings from Vostok Station were used to<br />

measure the thickness of the ice sheet. This<br />

suggested the existence of a subglacial lake. British<br />

airborne ice-penetrating radar in the 1970s detected<br />

unusual radar readings, suggesting a freshwater lake<br />

below the ice. In 1991, a radar satellite revealed<br />

that this subglacial water body is one of the world’s<br />

largest lakes. We now know that there are at least<br />

140 subglacial lakes in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a.<br />

• 1980-present: The US-funded collection and curation<br />

of <strong>Antarctic</strong> meteorites has recovered about 22,000<br />

meteorites from <strong>Antarctic</strong>a (about 75% of all known<br />

meteorites worldwide). There are samples from the<br />

Moon, Mars, and asteroids.<br />

• 1985: In hole in the ozone layer over <strong>Antarctic</strong>a was<br />

discovered from ground-based instruments at Halley<br />

Bay and Faraday (British <strong>Antarctic</strong> Survey).<br />

• 1986: Research at McMurdo Station, the main U.S.<br />

scientific station in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a, established that<br />

chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as the probable cause of<br />

the <strong>Antarctic</strong> ozone hole (US NSF). These two bits of<br />

work lead to signing of the Madrid Protocol on 1987,<br />

banning CFCs.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Northward Bound<br />

12 January 2020– Drake Passage<br />

Written by Martin Schuster<br />

The Ocean Atlantic pushed gently through what Jamie<br />

referred to as ‘One of the calmest Drake crossings in my<br />

memory’. Our 8:45 AM wake-up found most of already<br />

up and about enjoying the sea breeze and preparing for<br />

our morning brunch. While we waited, we shared<br />

highlights from the previous days of adventure with<br />

each other.<br />

24<br />

After lunch we were able to travel underneath the<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> ice with expedition guide Martin, who has<br />

spent four seasons working as a SCUBA diver for the US<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> Program. Martin explained to us why we<br />

might be interested in studying the sea floor of the<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> continent and how we go about doing so.<br />

During sea voyages it is quite common to develop a<br />

routine; to lose track of time in a foreign place. After<br />

four days on the <strong>Antarctic</strong> peninsula we have grown<br />

accustomed to early wake up calls, bundling ourselves<br />

up in waterproof expedition gear, and experiencing new<br />

animals and vistas. Today, we were able to decompress<br />

a bit, and learn a bit more about our newfound polar<br />

environment.<br />

Amanda, our resident marine biologist and expedition<br />

guide, then shared some information on the various<br />

seals of the <strong>Antarctic</strong>. We were able to delve a bit more<br />

deeply into our newfound companions the Weddell Seal<br />

and Crabeater Seal (hint: they do not eat crab!). We<br />

also learned more about the solitary Leopard Seal that<br />

we had the pleasure of interacting with at Petermann<br />

Island.<br />

Thomas, a former university lecturer in both Hong Kong<br />

and Australia, presented a brief history of the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

treaty. He explained that under the treaty the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

continent actually belongs to all of us, and to none of<br />

us. All signatories have pledged to forego any<br />

exploitation of mineral resources on the continent and<br />

also to protect the wildlife and their habitat from<br />

human impacts.<br />

After relaxing for a bit and settling our bills, we had our<br />

final recap in the Viking Theatre, followed by yet<br />

another scrumptious dinner in the Vinland restaurant.<br />

Later, the gentle rocking of the Ocean Atlantic lulled us<br />

to sleep on our second night at sea during the<br />

northbound journey.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

© Renato Granieri Photography<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Fire in the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

Gregers Gjersøe, Snowshoe Master & Expedition Guide<br />

Fire is one of the greatest threats in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a thanks<br />

to the region’s very dry climate, frequent strong winds,<br />

and nearly complete lack of liquid freshwater. Due to<br />

the continent’s isolation with and little possibility of<br />

rescue for weeks or months, a fire in the <strong>Antarctic</strong> is a<br />

potentially very disastrous event.<br />

Although it is covered in snow and ice, the cold<br />

temperatures of <strong>Antarctic</strong>a make the White Continent<br />

very dry. As it is one of the windiest places on Earth,<br />

there is almost always a strong wind blowing much of<br />

the time, more than strong enough to fan any flames.<br />

As the temperatures across the whole continent of<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a is averaging below freezing, there is unlikely<br />

to be very much liquid water to fight fires. So, the<br />

response to fire is usually to make sure everyone is out<br />

of danger and safe and then stand back and watch it<br />

burn itself out.<br />

Bases in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a are often designed to survive fires<br />

because they are made up of a number of separate<br />

buildings, each with a significant distance between<br />

them. Many bases have emergency supplies stored in a<br />

hut near the base but well away. In these huts, there<br />

are often enough supplies and ample shelter for the<br />

base’s crew to be able to survive a fire or emergency<br />

until help can arrive.<br />

The Argentine <strong>Antarctic</strong> base and scientific research<br />

station, “Brown Station,” is named after Admiral<br />

William Brown, the father of the Argentine Navy.<br />

25<br />

Located on the Sanaviron <strong>Peninsula</strong> along Paradise<br />

Harbour’s Danco Coast, from 1951 to 1984 it served as<br />

a permanent research base, though, since then, it is<br />

open only during the summer season.<br />

During its heyday, the station was home to one of the<br />

most complete biology laboratories on the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

<strong>Peninsula</strong>, featuring a main house, as well as an<br />

additional building exclusively for scientific research.<br />

This building was equipped with three labs, a<br />

photography workshop, an emergency radio station, an<br />

office and a library.<br />

Unfortunately, Brown Station’s original facilities were<br />

burned down by the station’s doctor on 12 April 1984<br />

after he was ordered to stay on for yet another winter,<br />

despite the original terms of his contract and his desire<br />

to see his fiancé once again. As you can imagine, the<br />

stress of <strong>Antarctic</strong>a’s harsh winter conditions can take<br />

its toll on residents and explorers of the region, driving<br />

them to take extreme measures to get back home.<br />

The doctor simply couldn’t bear to stay on for another<br />

winter and he couldn’t stand the isolation as the days<br />

drew darker. His solution? To force an evacuation of<br />

himself and his colleagues in the only way plausible<br />

manner: by burning the station down.<br />

After the fire, the station’s personnel were rescued by<br />

the USS Hero and taken to United States’ Palmer<br />

Station. Argentina later rebuilt the base, but it is now<br />

only occupied during the summer months. The station’s<br />

doctor was sent to prison for arson and his fiancé<br />

decided to call off the engagement.<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Towards the Horn<br />

13 January 2020– Drake Passage Day 2<br />

Written by Steve Egan<br />

26<br />

Continuing our incredibly smooth run across the Drake<br />

Passage towards Argentina, we woke to clearing drizzle<br />

on calm seas & enjoyed a sure-footed & relaxed<br />

breakfast served up by our super Restaurant Team.<br />

Normally a feared stretch of open water regularly<br />

serving up forbidding swells & stiff winds as we cross<br />

swords with the mightiest current in the world, the<br />

Circumpolar Current that swishes around <strong>Antarctic</strong>a, we<br />

steamed North with hardly a hint of its alter ego<br />

discernable.<br />

Jamie invited us into the lounge to give us a brief<br />

update on our disembarkation procedure for our<br />

morning in Ushuaia tomorrow, a reminder to enjoy the<br />

day here together as much as possible before inevitably<br />

saying our goodbyes some hours hence. Our Kayak<br />

Team then took the stage to personally thank the many<br />

participants on this voyage who chose to add a quiet<br />

paddle-power optional excursion to their expedition &<br />

enjoyed a different & peaceful perspective of the ice &<br />

wildlife. Upstairs in the Bistro Yogamanda led a fun &<br />

stretchy beginners class in simple Yoga techniques for<br />

those wanting to unwind from the many adventures we<br />

shared in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a.<br />

A scrumptious lunch led into a vibrant showing of the<br />

classic film ‘Around Cape Horn’, a personal retelling of<br />

the good ol’ days of sailing rigs around the feared Cape<br />

Horn, in black & white & narrated by the film maker.<br />

Exhilarating & fascinating! Perfectly timed, Ocean<br />

Atlantic slipped stealthily into view of the fabled legend<br />

itself – Cape Horn – the southern-most tip of the<br />

Americas.<br />

We then filed in to see our Ship’s photographer Renato<br />

take us for a photographic walk down memory lane with<br />

the end of voyage slideshow & this followed into a very<br />

entertaining & fun Charity Auction where all manner of<br />

things were up for grabs including Shelli’s great wildlife<br />

depictions adorning our Captains chart of the Expedition<br />

& even dinner with Expediton Team members on offer<br />

to raise funds for worthy causes.<br />

We soon found ourselves with Champagne in hand<br />

toasting with the Captin to a most wonderful shared<br />

adventure to the most dreamed of destination on Earth.<br />

Mother nature had smiled upon us, we thoroughly<br />

enjoyed the comradery of good companions for the<br />

journey and we really did see the best that <strong>Antarctic</strong>a<br />

had to offer. What an amazing trip!<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

King of the Southern Winds<br />

Sandra Ophorst, Lecturer & Expedition Guide<br />

The wandering albatross is an impressive bird with the<br />

world’s largest wingspan of up to 3.5 meters in length<br />

and a weight of up to 11 kilograms. Unfortunately, the<br />

number of wandering albatrosses is rapidly declining<br />

with only 20,100 individuals left as of October 2019<br />

(Red List, World Conservation Union)<br />

The wandering albatross is rarely seen on land and<br />

gathers only to breed, at which time it forms large<br />

colonies on remote islands, such as South Georgia. The<br />

female lays a single white egg and both sexes share<br />

incubation, which lasts about 60 to 80 days. Both sexes<br />

feed the youngster by regurgitating food, a process<br />

that can continue for up to nine months.<br />

The nesting cycle of wandering albatrosses is so long,<br />

they can’t complete it in one year. So, they nest every<br />

other year. When young albatrosses become<br />

independent and leave their nest site, they begin a<br />

multi-year foray on the open ocean and will not return<br />

to land until they are old enough to breed. This can<br />

take up to 10 years of their 50 year average lifespan.<br />

28<br />

The wandering albatross is famous for its dynamic<br />

flight. They turn into the wind to gain height, then glide<br />

back down to the sea to gain speed. Sometimes they<br />

glide for hours without rest or even a single flap of<br />

their wings. Indeed, this principle was used to design<br />

airplanes, especially gliders that have albatross-like<br />

wings.<br />

As a result of these wings, however, an albatross’<br />

landing process often looks a bit comical as their<br />

narrow wings do not allow for a slow approach. So,<br />

they often land on their feet and then tumble forward<br />

and slide on their bellies. The biggest threats to the<br />

wandering albatross are pollution and large-scale<br />

commercial tuna fisheries. These tuna fishing boats are<br />

equipped with up to 20,000 fish baited hooks and<br />

these lines can be up to 100km long.<br />

Unfortunately, these fishing lines often attract<br />

albatrosses get caught up on the hooks and drown as<br />

they are cast out at sea. Organisations such as Hookpod<br />

are trying to save the albatrosses from the dangers of<br />

long line fishing vessels by providing fishing boats with<br />

“hookpods” that cover the barb and point of the hook<br />

during setting, reducing the likelihood of an albatross<br />

by-catch.<br />

© Gaby Pilson<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

Home Again<br />

14 January 2020- Ushuaia<br />

29<br />

After last night’s end-of-voyage festivities, we awoke<br />

much too early for our final morning on the Ocean<br />

Atlantic. Although we wish we could stay, we started<br />

the process of leaving behind the ship and the people<br />

we’ve come to know so well over the past week.<br />

Our bags were packed and stowed in the corridors,<br />

ready for our early-morning busses and flights back<br />

home. After nine whole days immersed in the<br />

landscapes and amongst the wildlife of the <strong>Antarctic</strong>,<br />

it was time to return home or to wherever our life’s<br />

journeys brings us.<br />

And so – farewell, adieu, and goodbye. Together we<br />

have visited an incredible and vast wilderness. We<br />

have experienced magnificent mountain vistas, seen<br />

icebergs roll and crack, felt the power of the elements<br />

and seen how quickly they can change. We enjoyed<br />

wonderful food and comfortable surroundings aboard<br />

the Ocean Atlantic.<br />

We boarded zodiacs and cruised through icy bays at<br />

the end of the Earth. We shared unique moments,<br />

held engaging conversations, and laughed together<br />

over beers and coffees. We’ve made new friends and<br />

experienced the power of expeditionary travel.<br />

The expedition team hopes that we have helped to<br />

make this the trip of a lifetime - one that will persist in<br />

your memories for weeks, months, and years, to<br />

come. Although we must say good-bye to these places<br />

we have come to know and love, it is a fond farewell<br />

as we are all true ambassadors for the <strong>Antarctic</strong> and<br />

all the beauty it holds.<br />

On behalf of Albatros Expeditions, our captain and<br />

crew, the expedition team, and everyone else who<br />

helped make this journey a resounding success, it has<br />

been a pleasure travelling with you. We hope that you<br />

will come back and experience these wonderful places<br />

with us once again!<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

By the Numbers…<br />

30<br />

<strong>Voyage</strong> Statistics:<br />

Southernmost Point:<br />

Total Distance Travelled:<br />

65 o 10’35’S 64 o 06’57’ W<br />

1806 nautical miles<br />

Excursion Locations:<br />

Paulet Island: 63 o 34’21’S 55 o 47’57’W<br />

Hydrurga Rocks: 63 o 31’43’S 60 o 30’41’W<br />

Portal Point: 64 o 29’96’S 61 o 44’49’W<br />

Port Lockroy:<br />

Petermann Island:<br />

Baily Head:<br />

64 o 48’30’S 63 o 31’81’ W<br />

65 o 10’35’S 64 o 06’57’ W<br />

62 o 58’83’S 60 o 30’42’ W<br />

During our time on the M/V Ocean Atlantic, we consumed:<br />

Beef<br />

580kg<br />

Lamb<br />

190kg<br />

Pork<br />

750kg<br />

Poultry<br />

870kg<br />

Cold Cuts<br />

200kg<br />

Fish & Seafood<br />

450kg<br />

Eggs 3560<br />

Milk<br />

720L<br />

Cheese<br />

100kg<br />

Ice Cream<br />

200L<br />

Vegetables<br />

3200kg<br />

Fruit<br />

3600kg<br />

Toilet Paper<br />

960 rolls<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

A Final Note…<br />

31<br />

As any good expedition comes to a close, many of us experience the<br />

effervescent excitement that comes when we immerse ourselves<br />

completely in an adventure. Although we all came into this voyage with<br />

our own expectations and personal motivations, on the ship, we quickly<br />

learned that the best plan is the one that we end up doing.<br />

While weather and the landscape<br />

can conspire against us in the<br />

southern latitudes, the right mindset<br />

can make all of the difference.<br />

Wind, rain, sleet, and snow make no<br />

difference when we come prepared<br />

for an adventure and all the<br />

excitement it holds. Whether you<br />

saw what you came for or you<br />

experienced something else<br />

entirely, when you set out on an<br />

expedition, you come for the<br />

mountains and the wildlife, but stay<br />

for people and places you meet<br />

along the way.<br />

Although we all eventually have to<br />

leave behind our beloved Ocean<br />

Atlantic, there are always a few<br />

things we can take home from an<br />

expedition:<br />

• An acceptance and embracement<br />

of adversity and uncertainty<br />

when the natural world alters<br />

our plans.<br />

• A fondness for the wild and a<br />

strong desire to keep remote<br />

natural locations as beautiful and<br />

free as they can be.<br />

• An insatiable interest in learning<br />

more about the people, places,<br />

and cultures in some of the most<br />

remote parts of the world.<br />

As you unpack you bags, you may<br />

find souvenirs and keepsakes from<br />

your journey. Your camera may be<br />

filled with countless photos,<br />

however blurry, of the many<br />

animals and mountains that have<br />

crossed our paths. At the end of the<br />

day, however, what matters most is<br />

the experience of, the journey to,<br />

and the memories of these wild and<br />

wonderful places.<br />

Best wishes from all of us on the<br />

expedition team as you continue on<br />

with your adventures!<br />

Jamie Watts<br />

Expedition Leader<br />

Marieke Egan<br />

Assistant Expedition Leader<br />

Thank you for experiencing the <strong>Antarctic</strong> with us at Albatros<br />

Expeditions. We hope to see you aboard the Ocean Atlantic<br />

again in the future!<br />

Phil Hunter<br />

Assistant Expedition Leader<br />

5 JAN 2020 – 14 JAN 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 9

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