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1-<strong>10</strong>, FEB <strong>2020</strong> Volume 2, Issue 12<br />

Albatros Magazine<br />

A Visual Journey<br />

South Shetlands &<br />

Antarctic Peninsula: The<br />

Journey of a Lifetime<br />


Albatros Magazine: A Visual Journey<br />

Editor-in-Chief:<br />

Layout & Design:<br />

Shelli Ogilvy<br />

Gaby Pilson & Shelli Ogilvy<br />

Front Cover Image:<br />

Back Cover Image:<br />

Photography Contributors:<br />

Leopard Seal © Sandra Petrowiz<br />

Whale Fluke © Sandra Petrowiz<br />

Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Yuri Choufour<br />

Werner Kruse<br />

Renato Granieri<br />

Gaby Pilson<br />

Listen to the stories of the women and men who make these<br />

expeditions a reality. From members of our onboard team to<br />

guest experts and other incredible characters. Available on<br />

Spotify, iTunes, and most other podcast providers.<br />

www.albatros-expeditions.com/podcast<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong> Volume 2, Issue 12


The Voyage<br />

Meet the Team<br />

Day 1: Southward Bound<br />

The Seven Sisters of Szczecin<br />

An Unlikely Antarctic Explorer<br />

Day 2: Rolling Our Way South<br />

Penguins! Fun Facts for the Antarctic<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: Our First Steps in Antarctica<br />

The Geological Structure of the Antarctic<br />

Peninsula<br />

Day 5: The White Continent<br />

When and How the Earth Got Cold<br />

Day 6: Furthest South<br />

Day 7: The Last Day<br />

A Brief History of the Zodiac<br />

Antarctica: A Continent for Science<br />

Day 8: Northward Bound<br />

Fire in the Antarctic<br />

Day 9: The Beagle Channel<br />

King of the Southern Winds<br />

Day <strong>10</strong>: 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 />

<strong>10</strong><br />

11<br />

13<br />

14<br />

15<br />

16<br />

18<br />

19<br />

22<br />

23<br />

25<br />

26<br />

27<br />

28<br />

29<br />

30<br />

31<br />


The Voyage<br />

3<br />

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

voyage to Antarctica. 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 Antarctic with.<br />

© Renato Granieri<br />

© Yuri Choufour<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

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 />

Shelli Ogilvy<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 />

Slava Nikitin<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Photographer<br />

Shannon Jensen<br />

First Aid Responder<br />

Mark Hebert<br />

Lecture & Guide<br />

Ab Steenvoorden<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Lisa Pettenuzzo<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Nick Gan<br />

Translator & Guide<br />

Mariam Pousa<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Pai Liu<br />

Shop Assistant<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 />

1-<strong>10</strong>, FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

5<br />

Day 1 - Southward Bound<br />

1 <strong>February</strong> <strong>2020</strong> - Embarkation Day<br />

As the wheels of the plane touched down on the<br />

runway in Ushuaia, we were treated to magnificent<br />

views of Tierra del Fuego and the southernmost city<br />

in Argentina that marks the start of our Antarctic<br />

adventure. After a night in Ushuaia we were better<br />

rested from the long travel and mid-day we arrived<br />

at the pier eager to board the lovely ship Ocean<br />

Atlantic.<br />

Our adventure to Antarctica started as the first<br />

busses drove along the pier in beautiful summer<br />

weather. Members of the Albatros Expedition Team<br />

welcomed us onboard and the excitement was<br />

palatable as we climbed the gangway steps.<br />

Everyone checked in with the hotel department and<br />

settled in our rooms before starting to explore the<br />

vessel which will be our home for the next ten days.<br />

Having time for tea as well as a small snack, it was<br />

soon 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 life boats.<br />

Shortly after the drill was finished, the Ocean<br />

Atlantic slowly started to move away from the pier<br />

and began its journey through the Beagle channel,<br />

before heading straight South towards Antarctica.<br />

Meanwhile, Expedition Leader Sam hosted the<br />

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

Director Oliver introduced the ship and the many staff<br />

working to provide an excellent experience, including<br />

the food and beverage manager, the head of<br />

housekeeping and the purser. Sam then introduced the<br />

different members of the expedition team and their<br />

roles onboard. He proceeded then to outline the plans<br />

and details for the voyage, including an update<br />

regarding the weather, which was for a very pleasant<br />

forecast for 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 we were able<br />

to spot many seabirds flying around the ship, several of<br />

the larger albatrosses were sighted marking the start of<br />

a great wildlife journey in 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 />

1-<strong>10</strong>, FEB <strong>2020</strong> Volume 2, Issue 12

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 20<strong>10</strong> to Atlantic;<br />

renovations in Italy and in traffic<br />

Stockholm-Helsinki-St. Petersburg<br />

during summer and laid up (October<br />

20<strong>10</strong>) 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 />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

An Unlikely Antarctic 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 />

Antarctic explorers.<br />

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

the Antarctic 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 />

Antarctic 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 Antarctic history buffs, who<br />

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

watching over him once again.<br />

1-<strong>10</strong>, FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

Day 2 - Rolling Our Way South<br />

2 <strong>February</strong> <strong>2020</strong> – Drake Passage South<br />

8<br />

A gentle sea swell greeted us for our first full day<br />

together on Ocean Atlantic as she sailed surely<br />

southwards toward the promise of a snowy white<br />

continent, lost at the edge of the known world. A lovely<br />

breakfast as the skies lightened, 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 gently across the Drake Passage.<br />

Our ornithologist Ab 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 Antarctica. Interest<br />

was high & the theatre full of curious questions about<br />

our winged companions & time ‘flew’ - before we knew<br />

it, it was time for a Mandatory IAATO briefing. After<br />

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

introductory thoughts & perspectives about Antarctica,<br />

we enjoyed a great lunch put on by our consistently<br />

creative galley team, fueling us for an afternoon of<br />

further activities.<br />

A sweet snack at Tea Time flowed into an invitation to<br />

join our Marine Biologist Kim for what was an excellent<br />

overview of the Whales we hope to sight on our<br />

adventure ahead. Soon enough, a day of various<br />

briefings, social occasions & educational presentations<br />

brought us to our official welcome to the journey by<br />

the Master of our vessel & our captain Georgii toasted<br />

to an expected successful Expedition ahead, leading us<br />

into a delightful evening meal as Ocean Atlantic<br />

steamed on south towards the horizon. Some gathered<br />

after dining, for popcorn & a screening of Frozen<br />

Planet to fuel dreams of the icy realms ahead.<br />

Late tonight, while we slept, we would cross the<br />

Antarctic Convergence, the gateway into Antarctica’s<br />

unique biological zone & can consider ourselves then<br />

already embraced by the great White Continent.<br />

After dining, we followed up on our understanding of<br />

the importance of arriving clean into the sensitive<br />

Antarctic environment, with the practicalities of<br />

screening all the clothing & equipment we would take<br />

ashore & generally had a fun social time in doing so.<br />

Throughout the afternoon as the sea state settled,<br />

many of us wandered upstairs to inspect the view from<br />

the Ocean Atlantic bridge or explored the outer decks,<br />

mingled with our naturalists, or photographed the<br />

many & wondrous seabirds that chaperoned our sea<br />

journey.<br />

1-<strong>10</strong>, FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

Penguins! Fun Facts for the Antarctic 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 Antarctica is the reason<br />

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

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

Volume 2, Issue 11

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

Ocean<br />

3 <strong>February</strong> The weather <strong>2020</strong> gods were – Drake pretty kind Passage to us this South<br />

voyage as the drake was appealingly calm. As<br />

we awoke to the morning call made by our<br />

Expedition Leader Sam, one couldn’t help but<br />

realize how lucky we were to not wake up to a<br />

Drake shake.<br />

The day started with a sumptuous breakfast<br />

buffet, followed by a photography lecture by<br />

our very own photographer Sandra. Many<br />

guests were excited about the journey to the<br />

seventh continent, and also about capturing<br />

the moment in the many pictures that they<br />

anticipate they would be taking.<br />

This was followed by a mandatory Zodiac<br />

briefing where all the guests were required to<br />

attend as the Zodiac was our only means of<br />

transport in Antarctica. Succeeding which, we<br />

had a kayak briefing where all interested<br />

kayakers attended.<br />

Lunch time soon came, and we were all quite<br />

hungry after a fruitful morning. After lunch,<br />

we had a very interesting lecture on penguins<br />

where many guests had thousands of<br />

questions on the type of penguins that they<br />

will be expecting to see as well as their<br />

lifecycle and behavior. Time seemed to be<br />

flingy as it was already mid-afternoon and<br />

another opportunity to eat again: tea time!<br />

Delicious sandwiches, scones and different<br />

pastries were served to the delight of<br />

everyone.<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Boots were distributed to all of us that afternoon,<br />

and the excitement was showing on our faces as<br />

everyone looked forward to the very first landing<br />

in Antarctica. They were already putting on their<br />

waterproof pants and thick socks while trying on<br />

the boots. After which, some had a breath of fresh<br />

air as they joined the expedition staff for some<br />

bird watching on the outer decks.<br />

Ab our ornithologist hosted a bird watching<br />

session off the stern the skies seem to be flood<br />

with avian visitors. We were able to spot three of<br />

the large albatross species: Wandering, Gray<br />

Headed and Black browed. A few Humpback<br />

whales were spotted but at a distance to the ship.<br />

As it is early in the expedition and we remain<br />

confident that we will find more cetaceans in the<br />

days to come. We also were lucky in spotting our<br />

first fur seals and penguins porpoising through the<br />

waters.<br />

The day ended off with a recap and briefing of the<br />

plans of the next day, and everyone was definitely<br />

looking forward to dinner after a long day. Those<br />

who love to sing had an opportunity to sing their<br />

hearts out that night after dinner during the<br />

Karaoke session in the Viking Theatre.<br />

<strong>10</strong><br />

© Sandra Petrowltz<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

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 Antarctica, 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 11

Drake Passage<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Beagle<br />

Channel<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

All photos © Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

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 11

Day 4 – Our first steps in Antarctica<br />

4 <strong>February</strong> <strong>2020</strong> – Mikkelson Harbor and Hydrurga Rocks<br />

14<br />

By Thomas Bruun, Kayak and Expedition Guide<br />

The day started, as we woke up to find ourselves<br />

surrounded by shiny blue icebergs and snowcovered<br />

mountains in the distance. We were finally<br />

in Antarctica.<br />

After breakfast, it was finally time for the real start<br />

of our adventure. We suited up in our warm and<br />

waterproof gear and went into the Zodiacs. As we<br />

took off it was still a bit foggy, however soon the<br />

mist lifted and we could really enjoy the massive<br />

glaciers around us. Our first landing was Mikkelsen<br />

Harbour, which was full of Fur Seals, Weddell Seals<br />

and Gentoo penguins. The island also gave us a<br />

glimpse of the past, when we saw the many whale<br />

bones and the old water boat slowly disintegrating<br />

over time.<br />

As one half of our ship was on the island, the other<br />

half was Zodiac cruising in the surrounding area.<br />

Many of us were lucky enough to experience<br />

Leopard Seals and several other seals up close, as<br />

we drove along the glacier front and in between<br />

the icebergs.<br />

.<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

After lunch it was time for our second landing of<br />

the day, as we came to Hydrurga Rocks. We slowly<br />

made our way around the island, where we saw<br />

Weddell Seals, Chinstrap penguins and many blueeyed<br />

shags up close. Once again, we also did a<br />

Zodiac cruise in the surrounding waters. Hydrurga<br />

Rocks was also the first time we saw the yellow<br />

and red kayaks glide through the water, as the<br />

adventurous spirits paddled around the island and<br />

encountered the wildlife right next to them.<br />

Directly after our landing at Hydrurga, 29 brave<br />

souls decided to take part in the famous Polar<br />

Plunge. They jumped into the freezing water one<br />

after one, and were awarded with cheering from<br />

the crowd on the upper decks, a shot of vodka and<br />

a lot of honor.<br />

The day ended the most spectacular way, when a<br />

humpback breached several times in front of our<br />

ship, as the sun set in the horizon<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

The Geological Structure of the Antarctic Peninsula<br />

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

This cartoon shows what the Antarctic Peninsula looked like <strong>10</strong>0 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 2<strong>10</strong>-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 />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

Day 5 - The White Continent<br />

5 <strong>February</strong> <strong>2020</strong> – Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay<br />

16<br />

We woke to Sam’s morning announcement eager<br />

to make our first continental landing at Neko<br />

Harbour. Once breakfast was finished, operations<br />

began with the first half going ashore to step foot<br />

on the seventh continent and the other half<br />

beginning their day with zodiac cruising.<br />

On shore, visitors walked amongst nesting Gentoo<br />

penguins with chicks and moulting adults standing<br />

off to the side. The views were impressive with<br />

glaciers everywhere the eye could see and<br />

icebergs, easily the size of the ship, floating in the<br />

water. Zodiac cruising visitors spotted Weddell<br />

seals resting on the ice and a few lucky ones<br />

watched as a humpback whale slept at the surface<br />

of the water. The second group of kayakers had<br />

their opportunity to experience Antarctica from a<br />

new perspective. They paddled amongst the ice,<br />

taking a moment to enjoy the sound of the<br />

glaciers groaning and cracking around them.<br />

Lunch was BBQ, bringing everyone onto the back<br />

deck to enjoy their meal as we cruised by craggy<br />

mountains covered in glaciers.<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

After lunch operations for the second landing of<br />

the day began, a second continental landing in<br />

Paradise Habour. This landing delighted us as we<br />

could roam along the beach, take photos with the<br />

towering glaciers behind us, and simply play in the<br />

snow and watch penguins feeding in the shallows.<br />

Weddell seals dozed on the snow, occasionally<br />

lifting up for a scratch or to have a look at us.<br />

Zodiac cruisers spotted Crabeater seals while<br />

navigating through the thick brash ice.<br />

During recap and briefing Sam updated us with<br />

the plan for the next day while Marc explained<br />

what makes icebergs blue, Kim helped us with seal<br />

identification, Slava shared the history of the<br />

Gerlache strait, and Thomas introduced us to the<br />

first charity in which Albatros supports.<br />

During dinner several humpbacks put on a show<br />

for dinning guests. As the ship meandered along<br />

to the next landing area we caught up to a pod of<br />

Orca. They charged towards the ship and we<br />

quickly realized that they were not traveling but<br />

they were in fact hunting! The bow of the ship was<br />

opened for a closer view and we watched as the<br />

pod worked together to corner a humpback<br />

whale. The chase continued but as we lost sight of<br />

the orcas, a lone humpback came into view,<br />

slapping his flippers and his tail.<br />

Evening entertainment was postponed as the<br />

whale watching continued into the evening ending<br />

an amazing day in Antarctica.<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

Home, sweet<br />

home<br />

Gentoo chicks<br />

Neko Harbour<br />

Hydrurga<br />

Rocks<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

All photos © Sandra Petrowltz<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

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 <strong>10</strong>0 million<br />

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

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

Antarctica. Why did it happen then, and why did it have<br />

such an abrupt beginning?<br />

Water temperature (°C)<br />

Antarctic 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 />

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

below 4°C.<br />

It was the severing of the link between the Antarctic<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 Antarctica 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 />

Antarctica-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 Antarctica into the white continent.<br />

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

position of the Antarctic 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 Antarctic surface water plunges below cold<br />

temperate water.<br />

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

polar continent. Antarctica 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 Antarctica was still forested,<br />

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

Antarctica’s shores and, 35 million years ago, the<br />

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

mild 6°C.<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> 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 Antarctic 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 Antarctica and South America and allowing<br />

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

Antarctica.<br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

Furthest South<br />

6 <strong>February</strong> <strong>2020</strong> – Petermann Island and Port Charcot<br />

It was an early start to the day with the morning<br />

announcement at 6am, but what a way to begin<br />

our day. We found ourselves at the entry of the<br />

famous Lemaire Channel, with the towering<br />

peaks of Cape Renard overhead. The<br />

temperature was just above freezing which<br />

caused the precipitation to be misty wet as<br />

opposed to snowing. No one seemed to mind and<br />

everyone was smiling, in awe. The thick fog gave<br />

a feeling of earie décor to the surroundings and<br />

yet everyone was happily capturing memories<br />

with their cameras. The narrow passage gave us a<br />

sense of how rugged the geology and glaciology<br />

have shaped the place over the last thousands of<br />

years.<br />

A good lunch put us in position to tackle the<br />

afternoon, our landing at Port Charcot and<br />

Pleneau Bay, yet again a vivid and dynamic<br />

location. The numerous amount of dramatically<br />

shaped icebergs was lending more than enough<br />

to satisfy any artistic thirst. The abundant almost<br />

uncountable number of seals, added to the action<br />

with added mention of an elegant humpback<br />

whale. Close to the end of our outing, the fog<br />

lifted off and gave way to some warmth from the<br />

sun and in turn opened up the visibility of the<br />

surroundings, magnificent. We made our way<br />

back north through the Lemaire yet again, with<br />

the clear skies we were able to appreciated even<br />

more the grandeur of the glaciers and peaks of<br />

Booth Island and the peninsula itself.<br />

19<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

After a great breakfast, our first daily operation<br />

began at Petermann Island was appreciated by<br />

all. It was clear we most definitely have a solid<br />

group of guests as no one seems fazed by the<br />

rain. It’s all part of the package, tasting, feeling<br />

and smelling the ingredients of this amazing<br />

Antarctic continent that we get to explore. The<br />

island was a treat; a wide area was presented to<br />

roam, allowing us all to stretch our legs, to<br />

stretch our views and our minds. It was a<br />

privileged to witness the remoteness of it all.<br />

Adelie and Gentoo penguins are the most<br />

prominent locals on the island, skuas might be<br />

present as well preying on some of the young<br />

birds. As the first half of our group was out and<br />

about, Kim gave an amazing talk some of her<br />

experiences with cold water diving, bringing a<br />

new level to enduring-dealing with cold<br />

temperature!<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<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 12

Weddell Seal<br />

Paradise<br />

Harbour<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Lemaire<br />

Channel<br />

Adelie<br />

Gerlache Strait<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong> All photos © Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

Skua with egg<br />

Lemaire<br />

Channel<br />

Gentoos<br />

Pleneau Bay<br />

Adelie<br />

Port Charcot<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

All photos © Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

The Final Day<br />

7 Februrary <strong>2020</strong> – Danco Island and Melchior Islands<br />

We sailed in the early morning light through open<br />

windswept straits, weaving our way northward to find<br />

Danco Island, sheltered in a tranquil icy hideaway. A<br />

breaching Humpback whale signaled the dawn of a<br />

day of wonders, adventure and sheer delight. After<br />

breakfast we either went directly ashore to explore or<br />

zodiac cruise before switching our excursions to enjoy<br />

the best of both of Danco’s hidden treasures.<br />

22<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Those of us on shore descended onto a rocky<br />

landscape, where Gentoo penguins waddled<br />

endearingly and pirate Skuas patrolled the skies in<br />

search of their own breakfast. Remains of the islands<br />

whaling days stood defiant to the raging winds of time<br />

and whalebone scattered about had us wondering<br />

about the islands history and the beautiful creatures<br />

that once swam in these clear waters. It was good to<br />

stretch our legs ashore in the sunny but fresh<br />

conditions and most of us became thoroughly<br />

absorbed in the curious sculptured shapes of the<br />

sizable bergy bits of ice skirting the shoreline.<br />

After lunch we steamed across the Gerlache among<br />

beautiful mountainous scenery to the Melchior Isles,<br />

our last adventure in Antarctica for our expedition.<br />

Warm sunshine greeted us as we embarked on the<br />

zodiac cruise amidst the maze of rocky waterways in<br />

search of wildlife and spectacular ice shapes. Many fur<br />

seals were sighted along the shores, some lucky<br />

humpback sightings for many and beautiful blubbery<br />

Weddell seals were also seen soaking up the sunshine<br />

on land. Many exquisite icy forms captured our gaze<br />

and we captured them as memories in photographs.<br />

For those waiting onboard, expedition guide Steve<br />

gave an enlightening talk on the Orca that we had<br />

seen earlier in our journey. What an incredible last day<br />

in Antarctica!<br />

We had a chance to freshened up before enjoying a<br />

recap and briefing, a lovely social dinner and a great<br />

story by Kevin of his life in the Polar regions. A perfect<br />

finale to a super day.<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Soon enough we took our turn then to be shown the<br />

many highlights of the area by zodiac. Giant size<br />

icebergs of magnificent shapes and grandeur loomed<br />

above us and glinted shiny in the morning sun. As we<br />

circled these monoliths, smaller bluer shapes of<br />

ragged and rugged splendor sat momentarily peaceful<br />

perched on the rocky sea bed below us. A waterfall<br />

blew upwards in the wind and magical frozen rivers of<br />

blocky ice poured out of the interior to form cliffs at<br />

the waters edge. Crab-eater seals soaked up the<br />

fleeting summer rays and a leopard seal stole the<br />

show with attentive circling acrobatics and curious<br />

approaches to those hovering above in the zodiacs.<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 />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

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 Antarctic 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 />

23<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

Melchior Islands<br />

Leopard Seal<br />

Fur Seal<br />

Danco Island<br />

Errera Channel<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

All photos © Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

Antarctica: A Continent for Science<br />

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

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

25<br />

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

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

science that happens in Antarctica”. 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 Antarctica which changed our view of the earth’s<br />

evolution and environment.<br />

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

Antarctica 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 Antarctic 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 (19<strong>10</strong>-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 />

Antarctic Convergence - the natural boundary of<br />

Antarctica.<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 Antarctic 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. Antarctica 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 Antarctic 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 Antarctica.<br />

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

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

meteorites from Antarctica (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 Antarctica was<br />

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

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

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

scientific station in Antarctica, established that<br />

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

the Antarctic 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 11

Northward Bound<br />

8 <strong>February</strong> <strong>2020</strong> – Drake Passage<br />

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

back to Ushuaia and civilization, we were greeted with a<br />

thick fog that surrounded the ship. Although the seas<br />

had rocked the Ocean Atlantic through the night, the<br />

swell wasn’t too harsh and we had a pleasant morning<br />

on the Southern Ocean.<br />

After breakfast in the Vinland Restaurant, we were able<br />

to listen to a lecture in the Viking Theatre by Ab who<br />

spoke about Antarctic Seabirds. He explained how to<br />

identify ten different bird species, and how there are<br />

subtle differences between species. We then had the<br />

chance to have a stretching class hosted by Rashidah<br />

before gathering again for a delicious lunch buffet.<br />

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to listen to a<br />

lecture by Kim, who spoke about how organisms adapt<br />

to the cold waters of the Antarctic. We learned how the<br />

Crocodile Icefish has no red blood cells, and instead can<br />

diffuse oxygen across its very thin skin. Directly<br />

following, we were treated to our daily tea time in the<br />

library with many delectable treats. Concurrently,<br />

upstairs in the Bistro a dumpling making party took<br />

place, where we were able to create our own version of<br />

a perfect dumpling. These were then served later for<br />

dinner!<br />

26<br />

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

for 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. Recap that evening<br />

focused on poop, and how it contributes to the<br />

Antarctic ecosystem. We learned that whale poop is<br />

helping to save the planet by creating nutrients for<br />

algae. After handing out polar plunge certificates to the<br />

few who decided to brave the cold Antarctic waters,<br />

Sandra put on a slideshow showcasing the best polar<br />

plunge images.<br />

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

we joined Rose for the Lantern Festival activities. Our<br />

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

photo contest winners and handed out well deserved<br />

prizes. Festivities continued with an Antarctic quiz<br />

followed by karaoke. The evening ended with a zoomba<br />

lesson in which our expedition leader, Sam, showed off<br />

his impressive dancing skills.<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

© Renato Granieri Photography<br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

Fire in the Antarctic<br />

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

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

potentially very disastrous event.<br />

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

temperatures of Antarctica 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 />

Antarctica 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 Antarctica 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 Antarctic base and scientific research<br />

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

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

27<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 Antarctic<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 Antarctica’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 />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

The Beagle Channel<br />

9 <strong>February</strong> <strong>2020</strong> – Drake Passage<br />

We enjoyed a nice chance to sleep-in until 8:00 am<br />

after the late-night lantern party celebrations. We had<br />

so much fun with all the singing and dancing, especially<br />

the expedition leader Sam, who was dancing along with<br />

his lead ladies.<br />

After breakfast on the sunny calm seas of the Drake,<br />

Sam held a debriefing about how and when to get off<br />

the ship tomorrow. It’s hard to believe the trip is nearly<br />

over.<br />

The Expedition team held a tour of the bridge with the<br />

Offices on watch Roman. We learned a little about the<br />

instruments for navigation and steering the ship. We<br />

also had the opportunity to take our photos at the<br />

helm, a very generous offer from the Bridge personnel,<br />

and a privilege. The steering wheel was surprisingly<br />

small for such a huge ship.<br />

Still the sun shined through the window for our last<br />

lunch. The seas bounced and crested in the wind as we<br />

approached Cape horn. By 2:00 pm the expedition<br />

leader Sam called “land hoy”. Directly in front of the<br />

ship we could see the first glimpse of land through the<br />

haze ahead. We have crossed the Drake in two days and<br />

were fortunate to have such calm seas on the return.<br />

The kayakers had a debrief of their great adventure<br />

gliding along the surface of the sea, dipping their<br />

paddles left and right. Such a surreal experience to be<br />

fulling immerged in the ocean of Antarctica, so close<br />

and personal.<br />

28<br />

The afternoon was relaxing, sitting in the tearoom<br />

watching the Drake pass outside through the windows.<br />

Later we had a lecture on the attributes of the Arctic,<br />

and what a northern expedition looks like. Perhaps a<br />

very tempting prospect for a summer vacation. Polar<br />

expeditions are an addictive experience.<br />

In the late afternoon we had a slideshow of all of<br />

Sandra’s photos from the expedition. She is such a<br />

talented photographer; she really captured all our<br />

experiences in crystal clear stillness for us to remember<br />

forever.<br />

The charity auction was fun and managed to raise a<br />

beneficial sum for the important charities we have<br />

learned about. One is the “South Georgia Heritage<br />

Trust” whose efforts try to eradicate foreign species of<br />

flora and fauna that threaten local ecosystems; the<br />

other was “Hook Pod”, an invention that protects<br />

seabirds from getting caught in the fishing lines of<br />

commercial fishing vessels; and the last one was the<br />

Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).<br />

The evening events were literally Capt off with a toast<br />

from our Captain, a farewell to the hotel team, and a<br />

cast back of the recaps of all recaps with Sam walking us<br />

through the last amazing 9 days of our lives.<br />

The Captain’s dinner was our last “hoorah” for the trip<br />

and our last grand gathering of chocolate as well as to<br />

enjoy our new friends made on the ship. Tomorrow we<br />

will be saying good-bye, and hopefully in the future a<br />

new hello again.<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

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,<strong>10</strong>0 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 <strong>10</strong> years of their 50 year average lifespan.<br />

29<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 <strong>10</strong>0km 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 />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

Home Again<br />

<strong>10</strong> <strong>February</strong> <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 Antarctic,<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 />

30<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 tea or wine. We’ve made new friends and<br />

experienced the power of expedition 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 Antarctic 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 />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

By the Numbers…<br />

31<br />

Voyage Statistics:<br />

Southernmost Point:<br />

Total Distance Travelled:<br />

65 o <strong>10</strong>.59’ S, 64 o 06.94’W<br />

1590 nautical miles<br />

Excursion Locations:<br />

Mikkelsen Harbour: 63 o 54’ S 60 o 46’ W<br />

Hydrurga Rocks: 64 o 08’ S 61 o 36’ W<br />

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

Brown Station: 64 o 53’ S 62 o 52’ W<br />

Petermann Is: 65 o 09’ S 64 o 06’ W<br />

Port Charcot: 65 o 06’ S 64 o 01’ W<br />

Danco Is: 64 o 44’ S 62 o 33’ W<br />

Melchior Is: 64 o 19’ S 62 o 59’ W<br />

Ushuaia: 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 />

400 kg<br />

6300 kg<br />

600 ltr<br />

85 kg<br />

180 ltr<br />

2900 kg<br />

3000 kg<br />

127 btls<br />

416 cans<br />

960 rolls<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

A Final Note…<br />

32<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 Antarctic with us at Albatros<br />

Expeditions. We hope to see you aboard the Ocean Atlantic<br />

again in the future!<br />

Wan Meng Chieh<br />

Assistant Expedition Leader<br />

1-<strong>10</strong> FEB <strong>2020</strong><br />

Volume 2, Issue 12

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