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23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong> Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong><br />

Albatross<br />

Magazine<br />

A Visual Journey<br />

South Shetlands &<br />

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

Journey of a Lifetime<br />


Albatros Magazine: A Visual Journey<br />

Editor-in-Chief:<br />

Layout & Design:<br />

Jon Marin<br />

Gaby Pilson & Jon Marin<br />

Front Cover Image:<br />

Back Cover Image:<br />

Photography Contributors:<br />

Sandra Petrowiz<br />

Sandra Petrowiz<br />

Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Yuri Choufour<br />

Werner Kruse<br />

Renato Granieri<br />

Gaby Pilson<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong> Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>


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: At Sea in the Southern Ocean<br />

Ice is Nice – Glacier Fun Facts<br />

Whales: Friendly Giants of the Sea<br />

Day 4: The South Shetlands<br />

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

Peninsula<br />

Day 5: The White Continent<br />

When and How the Earth Got Cold<br />

Day 6: Wildlife of the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

Day 7: The Last Day<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: The Beagle Channel<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 />

<strong>11</strong><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 />

3<br />

The following map traces the approximate route that the M/V Ocean Atlantic took during our<br />

voyage 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 />

© Renato Granieri<br />

© Yuri Choufour<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Meet the Team<br />

4<br />

Ted Creek<br />

Assistant Expedition<br />

Leader<br />

Samuel<br />

Expedition Leader<br />

Wan Meng Chieh<br />

Assistant Expedition<br />

Leader<br />

Kevin Burke<br />

Zodiac Master<br />

Slava Nikitin<br />

Kayak Master<br />

Thomas Bruun<br />

Kayak Guide<br />

Kim Schuster<br />

Equipment Master<br />

Nadine Smith<br />

Shop Manager<br />

Rose Li<br />

Translator & Guide<br />

Guillaume de Remacle<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Photographer<br />

Shannon Jensen<br />

First Aid Responder<br />

Mark Hebert<br />

Lecture & Guide<br />

Jes “Yeti” Gravgaard<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Jon Marin<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Nick Gan<br />

Translator & Guide<br />

Alejandro Ursino<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Pai Liu<br />

Translator & Guide<br />

Chloe Shang<br />

Shop Assistent<br />

Steve Egan<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Rashida Lim<br />

Translator & Guide<br />

Zoy Li Jianqun<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

5<br />

Day 1 - Southward Bound<br />

23 January <strong>2020</strong> - Embarkation Day<br />

As our flights touched down on the runway in<br />

Ushuaia, we were treated to delightful views of<br />

Tierra del Fuego and the city that marks the start of<br />

our <strong>Antarctic</strong> adventure. Weary from our recent<br />

flights, yet excited for the adventure to come, we<br />

made our way to the port of Ushuaia.<br />

Our adventure to <strong>Antarctic</strong>a started in the<br />

afternoon as the first busses drove along the pier in<br />

beautiful weather and stopped all the way at the<br />

end of it, where Ocean Atlantic was anchored.<br />

Members of the Expedition Team welcomed us as<br />

we boarded the experienced <strong>Antarctic</strong>a ship and<br />

most of us couldn’t hide our excitement.<br />

Everybody checked in, settled in their rooms and<br />

started to explore the massive ship, which was to<br />

be our home for the next many days. After a while,<br />

it was time for the mandatory safety briefing<br />

followed by an important safety drill. The<br />

recognizable alarm went off throughout the ship<br />

and people gathered at their muster stations and<br />

later at the emergency boats.<br />

Shortly after, the Ocean Atlantic slowly started to<br />

move away from the pier and began its journey<br />

through the Beagle channel, before heading<br />

straight South towards the incredible <strong>Antarctic</strong>a.<br />

Meanwhile, Expedition Leader Sam hosted the<br />

welcome briefing in the Viking Lounge and Hotel<br />

Manager Oliver introduced the ship and the many<br />

people working on it to provide an excellent<br />

experience, including the food and beverage manager,<br />

the head of housekeeping and the purser. Sam then<br />

introduced the different members of the expedition<br />

team and talked about the plans and details for the<br />

voyage, including a very pleasant weather forecast for<br />

the infamous Drake Passage.<br />

The evening ended with a big welcome dinner, where<br />

people got to know their new travel companions. Many<br />

went to bed early after several days of travel. However,<br />

a few went outside on the decks, where a they spotted<br />

a couple of whales swimming past the ship in the<br />

distance, marking the start of a great wildlife journey in<br />

the southern hemisphere.<br />

But, as explorers know all too well, we can only ever<br />

experience true beauty in nature when we are brave<br />

enough to seek it out amongst the mountains and the<br />

seas in the world’s most remote places. It is with that<br />

sentiment in mind that we venture away from Ushuaia<br />

and south, to the future and all the wonders it holds.<br />

“<br />

We can only ever experience true<br />

beauty in nature when we are<br />

brave enough to seek it out…<br />

”<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong> Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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 />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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 />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Day 2 - Rolling Our Way South<br />

24 January <strong>2020</strong> – Drake Passage<br />

8<br />

After dropping off the pilot last night, we left the<br />

Beagle Channel and headed south into a very calm<br />

Drake Passage. The slight winds were appreciated by<br />

everyone but it meant that our keen bird watchers<br />

were not able to observe many flying seabirds including<br />

the wandering albatross. These birds need strong winds<br />

to soar and with luck we will be able to see them on the<br />

way back from <strong>Antarctic</strong>a when we cross the Drake<br />

Passage again.<br />

A calm sea greeted us for our first full day together on<br />

Ocean Atlantic as she sailed surely southwards toward<br />

the promise of a snowy white continent, lost at the<br />

edge of the known world. A lovely breakfast as the<br />

skies brightened to sunny, gave us a nutritious<br />

beginning to the events of the day. It was a relaxed<br />

start as many of us were still finding our sea legs even<br />

as we rolled very gently across the Drake Passage.<br />

Our ornithologist Yeti rolled out an entertaining<br />

introduction to the Seabirds of the Southern Ocean,<br />

giving us a great taste of the encounters we could look<br />

forward to with these feathered friends who<br />

accompany us on our passage to <strong>Antarctic</strong>a. Time out<br />

on deck with Birdmen Yeti & Gui was full of curious<br />

questions about winged companions & time ‘flew’,<br />

before we knew it, it was time for a great lunch put on<br />

by our consistently creative galley team, fuelling us for<br />

an afternoon of further activities.<br />

After lunch, in the mudroom, we distributed our<br />

waterproof boots, complimentary for use for the<br />

journey ahead & generally had a fun social time in<br />

doing so. After an invitation to inspect the Ocean<br />

Atlantic bridge & a fleeting sighting of Pilot Whales, we<br />

gathered in the Bistro for some more fun with<br />

dumpling making enjoyed by all who joined us.<br />

A day of social moments, equipment sorting &<br />

education brought us to our evening briefing & recap,<br />

where Expedition leader Sam gave us a preview of<br />

tomorrow’s weather & the Team peppered our minds<br />

with some introductory thoughts & perspectives about<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a, leading us into a delightful evening meal as<br />

Ocean Atlantic steamed on south towards the horizon.<br />

The Chinese New Year was upon us already & a buzz<br />

evident throughout our group brought us together to<br />

celebrate this wonderful occassion. We had crossed<br />

the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Convergence into this biological zone<br />

unique on Earth & considered ourselves already in<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a. A throughly enjoyable night of socialising<br />

led us deep into the evening.<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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

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

9<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 />

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 />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

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

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

<strong>11</strong>5 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 />

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 />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Day 3 - At Sea in the Southern<br />

Ocean<br />

25 January <strong>2020</strong> – Drake Passage and our first<br />

landing<br />

10<br />

Our second day crossing the Drake, what a<br />

blessing; nothing but smooth sailing. Lots of birds<br />

were in sight, large groups of Cape Petrels as well<br />

as Wandering and Black browed albatross. A<br />

couple of Humpback whales were spotted but did<br />

chose to be more on the timid side. It is early in<br />

the expedition and we remain confident that we<br />

will find more cetaceans in the days to come.<br />

We kept busy with our bio security check in order<br />

to be in accordance with our IATTO regulations.<br />

Zodiac and kayak briefing were also mandatory to<br />

prepare us all for the operations. Sandra was very<br />

kind by taking some time to share some of her<br />

wonderful photography knowledge in order to<br />

make us benefit from our photo opportunities.<br />

A closure was brought to the iceberg contest with<br />

the first iceberg larger than the Ocean Atlantic<br />

vessel spotted at 13:38.<br />

Many of us were kept happy with the pizza<br />

making session, while many more took great<br />

pleasure in eating those tasty pizzas at teatime.<br />

We had an early diner in order to kick off our first<br />

landings of the trip at both Barrientos and Cecilia<br />

islands. It was a treat for us all to visit with<br />

Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, Weddel and<br />

Elephant seals, were all part of the welcoming<br />

comity and some giant petrels to top it off!<br />

The zodiac tour from ship to land was exciting<br />

with small swells and choppy water but we all<br />

enjoyed this adventurous evening!<br />

What a day all together, we just can’t wait to see<br />

what tomorrow will bring!<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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 />

<strong>11</strong><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 />

© Renato Granieri<br />

© Renato Granieri<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 />

© Werner Kruse<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 />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Drake Passage<br />

Welcome!<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

We’re ready!<br />

Boot Party<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Beagle<br />

Channel<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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 ‘ketos,’ meaning monster.<br />

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

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

monsters, due to their size. Today, we know much<br />

more about the gentle giants that roam our planet’s<br />

seas, thanks to a number scientific and technological<br />

advances, our knowledge of these creatures will only<br />

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 instead of teeth. 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 />

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.<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 />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Day 4 - The South Shetlands<br />

26 January <strong>2020</strong> – Deception Island<br />

14<br />

On the second day in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a people where very<br />

excited, not only because we had our first landing<br />

the day before but also because of the fog<br />

surrounding us creating a very mysterious<br />

scenario.<br />

The expectation that morning was to visit the<br />

Chilean Base Arturo Prat. We were very<br />

enthusiastic, none of us had visited the station<br />

before. But the weather kept getting worse, so bad<br />

that our second destination, Half Moon, could not<br />

be done either.<br />

After a long conversation with the station leader at<br />

Arturo Prat we made the decision to continue<br />

traveling through the Bransfield Strait towards<br />

Deception Island, the only volcano in the world<br />

where we can navigate with a cruise.<br />

Deception Island is an island in the South Shetland<br />

Islands archipelago, with one of the safest<br />

harbours in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a. This island is the caldera of<br />

an active volcano, which seriously damaged local<br />

scientific stations in 1967 and 1969. The island<br />

previously held a whaling station; it is now a tourist<br />

destination and scientific outpost, with<br />

Argentinean and Spanish research bases. While<br />

various countries have asserted sovereignty, it is<br />

still administered under the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Treaty<br />

System.<br />

Located within the Bransfield Strait, the island is<br />

roughly circular and horseshoe-shaped, with a<br />

maximum diameter around 15 km (9.3 mi). The<br />

highest peak, Mont Pond on the east side of the<br />

island, has an elevation of 539 m (1,768 ft), while<br />

Mount Kirkwood on the west has an elevation of<br />

452 m. Over half (57%) of the island is covered by<br />

glaciers up to 100 m thick, ice-cored moraines, or<br />

ice covered pyro clasts. The centre of the island<br />

has been flooded by the sea to form a large bay,<br />

now called Port Foster, about 10 km long and 7 km<br />

wide. The bay has a narrow entrance, just 500 m<br />

wide, called Neptune's Bellows. The port is a basin<br />

with a flat floor up to 170 m deep with several<br />

small submarine cones and domes. The port is<br />

rimmed by a shall coastal shelf with sandy-gravelly<br />

beaches. The outer coast of the island is<br />

characterized by 30–70 m high cliffs of rock or ice.<br />

This mysterious and mystical place welcomed us<br />

with a very dense fog, low clouds and 120kms<br />

winds.<br />

After Deception our journey continued, navigating<br />

all night in order to reach the next destination,<br />

Cuverville.<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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

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

This cartoon shows what the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Peninsula 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 Peninsula 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 />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Day 5 - The White Continent<br />

27 January <strong>2020</strong> – Couverville Island and Neko Harbour<br />

16<br />

The day started fairly windy again, however as we<br />

got to closer to the Island of Cuverville, it settled<br />

down enough for the Zodiacs to enter the water,<br />

and we were finally back outside in the incredible<br />

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

The water splashed up around us as we drove<br />

through waives and passed blue icebergs, glaciers<br />

and penguin colonies on our way to Cuverville.<br />

The island was packed with adorable Gentoo<br />

chicks and a great group of <strong>Antarctic</strong> Terns circled<br />

the area.<br />

After the adventures morning, we had lunch in the<br />

restaurant. During the lunch, two humpback<br />

whales suddenly showed up next to the ship. They<br />

put on a spectacular show, as they jumped out of<br />

the water again and again.<br />

A couple of hours later, we reached Neko Island.<br />

The beautifully located island was full of nesting<br />

Gentoo’s and offered great views of the of the<br />

massive glaciers surrounding it. The trip started<br />

out with calm weather, but after a while, the wind<br />

picked up and started the bring in a lot of ice.<br />

Almost all of the water around the island was<br />

filled, as last zodiac took off.<br />

Right after Neko Island, it was time for the famous<br />

polar plunge. A whole bunch of brave souls took<br />

on the challenge and jumped into the ice cold<br />

water, as floating icebergs passed by. 32 people<br />

ended up jumping into the freezing water before<br />

they received a round of applause from the deck,<br />

a shot of vodka and a lot of glory.<br />

The day ended with a great show of karaoke, as<br />

the sun sat behind the snow-covered mountains<br />

and the Ocean Atlantic continued its journey<br />

further south into the peninsula.<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

When and How the Earth Got Cold<br />

David Macdonald, Lecturer (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 />

Peninsula 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 />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><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> Peninsula 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 <strong>11</strong>

Ice window<br />

Chinstrap<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz © Sandra Petrowizi<br />

Home, sweet<br />

home<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Neko Harbour<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Wildlife of the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

28 January <strong>2020</strong> – Brown Station/Paradise Harbour and Port<br />

Lockroy<br />

19<br />

We woke surrounded in the dramatic landscapes<br />

of glaciers, craggy mountains and icebergs as Sam<br />

announced that the winds had finally died down<br />

to light and we would be soon beginning our day<br />

at Paradise Bay.<br />

Operations began shortly after breakfast with<br />

half of the guests heading to make a second<br />

continental landing, this time with the<br />

opportunity for snow sliding. While guests<br />

gushed over the penguin chicks at the rookery,<br />

others took selfies overlooking the bay and the<br />

adventurous souls took turns sliding down the<br />

hill- after all, sliding in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a isn’t something<br />

everyone can say they have done!<br />

The guests who were not on shore spent a<br />

beautiful morning cruising around by the glorious<br />

glaciers that surround the bay, sneaking in<br />

between cathedral icebergs scattered around,<br />

watching porposing penguins. blue eyed shags on<br />

the cliff side and spending time in silence<br />

listening to the ice crackle. Here we spotted<br />

lichen growing on the rocks and even traces of<br />

copper in the cliff side.<br />

BBQ lunch was hosted on the back deck as we<br />

made our way towards our afternoon landing at<br />

Port Lockroy. The weather turned to drizzle and<br />

the wind picked up as we made our approach.<br />

Here guests were able to shop until they<br />

dropped, explore the museum to see what life is<br />

like living on the continent and to have a close<br />

encounter with penguins. The Gentoo penguin<br />

chicks are noticeably larger than the others we<br />

have seen, giving us a great perspective of their<br />

growth and development.<br />

Kim shared a lecture on whales for the guests on<br />

board as they waited their turn to go to shore.<br />

Zodiac cruising took place in the bay as guests<br />

made their way to shore, exploring the glaciers of<br />

the area and even spotting an Adelie Penguin,<br />

taking our penguin species tally up to three.<br />

It was a wet afternoon, which allowed us to see<br />

how harsh the weather can be in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a and<br />

how hard it must be to raise young chicks in<br />

conditions such as these. We made our way back<br />

to the ship, grateful for the warmth and a hot cup<br />

of tea.<br />

After operations wrapped up Sam briefed us<br />

about the day ahead. We had a very interesting<br />

evening of recaps learning about salp from Ted,<br />

lichens from Kim, the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Treaty with<br />

Thomas and Human Behaviours with Alejandro.<br />

Guillaume introduced us to Hookpod, the first of<br />

three charities in which Albatros supports, and<br />

which we can support at the auction on our last<br />

day at sea.<br />

Dinner was served in the dining room and the<br />

evening came to a close with a dance party<br />

hosted by Rose.<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Fun Fact:<br />

There are over 20000 species of lichen. Lichen is<br />

actually a combination of a fungus and a<br />

cyanobacteria! #thatsneat<br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

The Final Day<br />

29 January <strong>2020</strong> – Cierva Cove and Portal Point<br />

The day started out pretty nice with calm waters, and<br />

it was great as the past few days we did not have such<br />

smooth rides. The guests had not yet experienced<br />

much sunshine this trip, and as the sun started to peek<br />

out of the clouds this morning, smiles started to<br />

appear on the faces of the guests. We started out the<br />

morning with a beautiful zodiac cruise at Cierva Cove.<br />

There were many different sightings, some saw<br />

crabeater and weddell seals, while others saw orcas<br />

and humpback whales.<br />

We came back to the ship for a sumptuous lunch<br />

onboard. Some had some rest time while others had<br />

time to go through the many pictures that were taken<br />

in the morning.<br />

In the afternoon, we arrived at Portal Point where we<br />

planned to do a landing and a zodiac cruise. We were<br />

initially worried that the weather was not going to be<br />

ideal for any activity. However, as we got nearer to<br />

our destination, the wind and waves were kind to us.<br />

On top of that, just before we got off the ship, we<br />

started to see many humpback whales in different<br />

groups all around the ship.<br />

20<br />

As we shuttled the first half of the guests to shore,<br />

there was a group of whales that were showing their<br />

flukes off. The zodiac cruises that afternoon were<br />

whaley amazing. Every single person got to see at least<br />

a whale, some were performing with their flukes,<br />

while others were having a splashy great time feeding.<br />

Everyone got back to the ship feeling amazed and that<br />

the last excursion of the trip could not have been<br />

better.<br />

Back at the ship, the spirits were up during the recap<br />

and briefing for the day before heading for a delicious<br />

hot buffet dinner. The day ended nicely with Kevin<br />

sharing his personal stories about living in the Canada,<br />

where he has an abundance of experience in the Arctic<br />

and polar bears.<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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

the southern end of the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Peninsula. 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 />

21<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Lemaire Brown Station Channel<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Danco Island<br />

Brown Station<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Ciera Cove<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

<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 />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Northward Bound<br />

30 January <strong>2020</strong> – Drake Passage<br />

As we began our journey through the Drake Passage<br />

back to Ushuaia and civilization, we were all pleased to<br />

be greeted with sunny skies and playful seals putting on<br />

a show for those lucky enough to be watching. Although<br />

the seas had rocked the Ocean Atlantic through the<br />

night, the swell wasn’t too harsh and we had a relatively<br />

pleasant morning on the Southern Ocean.<br />

After a delicious breakfast in the Vinland Restaurant,<br />

guests were able to listen to a lecture in the Viking<br />

Theatre by Kim about cold water diving in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a.<br />

She spoke about life under the <strong>Antarctic</strong> sea ice and<br />

how the visibility in <strong>Antarctic</strong> waters can reach upwards<br />

of 300 meters. We then were lucky enough to see some<br />

fin whales, and guests happily snapped a few photos<br />

before the whales continued on their way. We gathered<br />

again for lunch and then continued on back to the<br />

theatre to watch a movie about the beautiful frozen<br />

continent we just left behind.<br />

24<br />

In the evening we met once again the Viking Lounge for<br />

the day’s recap and briefing. Our expedition leader,<br />

Sam, told us about what we should expect of the Drake<br />

Passage for our final voyage day. Our photographer,<br />

Sandra, then showed a slideshow of the photo contest<br />

winners and handed out well deserved prizes. After<br />

handing out polar plunge certificates to the few who<br />

decided to brave the cold <strong>Antarctic</strong> waters, Sandra put<br />

on a slideshow showcasing the best polar plunge<br />

images.<br />

Following a delicious dinner in the Vinland Restaurant,<br />

we joined Rose for the evening’s entertainment. A<br />

cocktail demonstration was put on in the Viking Lounge<br />

showing guests how to make a margarita. Those who<br />

could most closely recreate this drink, won a drink. The<br />

evening ended with a “name that song” competition,<br />

and guests went to bed looking forward to their final<br />

Drake Passage day.<br />

In the afternoon guests were treated to an ice cream<br />

social and tea time with traditional Nordic treats.<br />

Directly following, we all gathered in the Viking Theatre<br />

to listen to expedition staff experts explain the<br />

interconnectivity of the <strong>Antarctic</strong> ecosystem. Afterward,<br />

guests were able to stay for a question and answer<br />

session. We learned about how the ice and snow on top<br />

of the <strong>Antarctic</strong> continent makes it the continent with<br />

the highest elevation, how a lot of marine organisms<br />

here exhibit cold water gigantism, how krill is the most<br />

important organism in the <strong>Antarctic</strong> ecosystem and how<br />

it supports this very diverse community, and how<br />

snowy sheathbills eat penguin poop. Subsequently,<br />

stretching was offered by Rashidah in the Bistro.<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

© Renato Granieri Photography<br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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 Peninsula 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 />

Peninsula, 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 />

© Werner Kruse<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

The Beagle Channel<br />

31 January <strong>2020</strong> – Drake Passage<br />

On the the final morning our Drake Passage crossing,<br />

we awoke to blue skies and an abundance of seabirds.<br />

Although the seas had rocked the Ocean Atlantic<br />

through the night, the swell wasn’t too harsh and we<br />

had a relatively pleasant morning on the Southern<br />

Ocean.<br />

Thankfully, we had a later start for the day so we had a<br />

bit of a lie in before a delicious breakfast in the Vinland<br />

Restaurant as well as a disembarkation briefing in the<br />

Viking Theatre.<br />

After the briefing, we were all invited to tour the bridge<br />

first hand and see the Ocean Atlantic’s officers hard at<br />

work.<br />

In the afternoon, the kayakers among us gathered up<br />

for a quick debriefing meeting and then a short lecture<br />

on the history of kayaking from our kayak guide, Slava.<br />

We also had a recap with Questions and Answers where<br />

the questions we had entered got answered.<br />

26<br />

By early evening, it was time to gather in the Viking<br />

Lounge one last time for the end of voyage slideshow<br />

and charity auction, as well as the Captain´s celebratory<br />

cocktail hour. We waved a hearty goodbye to the<br />

journey of a lifetime, taking a moment to reflect on our<br />

voyage, thanks to Sandra´s immaculately composed<br />

slideshow of our trip to the White Continent.<br />

We also had a chance to thank and appreciate the many<br />

people who made this journey possible, from the<br />

officers and crew to the Expedition Staff. Finally, it was<br />

time to head to the Vinland Restaurant for our last<br />

dinner aboard the Ocean Atlantic, topped off with Chef<br />

Indra’s spectacular “Death by Chocolate” dessert buffet.<br />

As we pulled into the comfort of the Beagle Channel,<br />

our journey drew closer towards its close. However, as<br />

we packed our bags and prepared to disembark the<br />

Ocean Atlantic, amid the festivities of the evening, we<br />

had the chance to appreciate the beauty of the journey<br />

of a lifetime and all the memories we’ll take with us as<br />

we make our way home.<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

© Renato Granieri Photography<br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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 <strong>11</strong> 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 />

27<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 />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Cierva Cove<br />

Paradise Bay<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Cierva Cove<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Gerlache Strait<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong> Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

Home Again<br />

1 February <strong>2020</strong> - Ushuaia<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 bring us.<br />

And so – farewell, adieu, and goodbye. Together we<br />

have visited and 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 />

29<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 />

We hope the expedition team has helped make this<br />

the trip of a lifetime - one that will persist in your<br />

memories for weeks, months, and years, to come.<br />

Although we must say good-bye to these places we<br />

have come to know and love, it is a fond farewell as<br />

we are all true ambassadors for the <strong>Antarctic</strong> and all<br />

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 />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

By the Numbers…<br />

30<br />

<strong>Voyage</strong> Statistics:<br />

Southernmost Point:<br />

Total Distance Travelled:<br />

65 o 02.333’ S, 62 o 51.559’W<br />

1575 nautical miles<br />

Excursion Locations:<br />

Aitcho Barrientos: 62 o 24’ S 59 o 47’ W<br />

Deception Island: 62 o 55’ S 60 o 37’ W<br />

Cuverville Island: 64 o 41’ S 62 o 38’ W<br />

Neko Harbour: 64 o 50’ S 62 o 33’ W<br />

Brown Station:<br />

Port Lockroy<br />

Portal Point<br />

Cierva Cove<br />

Ushuaia:<br />

64 o 53’ S 62 o 52’ W<br />

64 o 50’ S 63 o 30’ W<br />

64 o 30’ S 61 o 46’ W<br />

64 o 90’ S 60 o 53’ W<br />

54 o 45’ S 68 o 23’ W<br />

During our time on the M/V Ocean Atlantic, we consumed:<br />

Beef<br />

Lamb<br />

Pork<br />

Poultry<br />

Cold Cuts<br />

Fish & Seafood<br />

Eggs<br />

Milk<br />

Cheese<br />

Ice Cream<br />

Vegetables<br />

Fruit<br />

Wine<br />

Beer<br />

Toilet Paper<br />

495 kg<br />

125 kg<br />

600 kg<br />

720 kg<br />

180 kg<br />

395 kg<br />

7200 kg<br />

620 ltr<br />

80 kg<br />

160 ltr<br />

2900 kg<br />

3000 kg<br />

127 btls<br />

432 cans<br />

893 rolls<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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 />

Sam Gagnon<br />

Expedition Leader<br />

Ted Creek<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 />

Wan Meng Cheih<br />

Assistant Expedition Leader<br />

23 JAN – 1 FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue <strong>11</strong>

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