Antarctic Peninsula and Polar Circle 2020 Feb 10 2020 -13

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10-22, FEB 2020 Volume 2, Issue 13

Albatros Magazine

A Visual Journey

Antarctic Peninsula

& Polar Circle

A Journey of a Lifetime


Albatros Magazine: A Visual Journey


Layout & Design:

Shelli Ogilvy

Gaby Pilson & Shelli Ogilvy

Front Cover Image:

Back Cover Image:

Photography Contributors:

Gentoo Family © Sandra Petrowiz

Elephant seal © Sandra Petrowiz

Sandra Petrowitz

Yuri Choufour

Werner Kruse

Renato Granieri

Gaby Pilson

Shannon Jensen

10-22 FEB 2020 Volume 2, Issue 13


The Voyage

Meet the Team

Day 1: Southward Bound

The Seven Sisters of Szczecin

An Unlikely Antarctic Explorer

Day 2: Rolling Our Way South

Penguins! Fun Facts for the Antarctic Adventurer

Day 3: Our First Steps in Antarctica

Ice is Nice – Glacier Fun Facts

Whales: Friendly Giants of the Sea

Day 4: Landing on Mainland Antarctica

The Geological Structure of the Antarctic


Day 5: The White Continent

When and How the Earth Got Cold

Day 6: In the Footsteps of Charcot

Fire in the Antarctic

Day 7: South of the Circle

Day 8: Station Visit

Antarctica: A Continent for Science

Day 9: Departing the Peninsula

Day 10: The Last Day

A Brief History of the Zodiac

Day 11: Northward Bound

Day 12: The Beagle Channel

King of the Southern Winds

Day 13: Home Again

By the Numbers

A Final Note





























The Voyage


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

voyage to Antarctica. You can find more information about our day to day activities, landings, and

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

wonderful memories you made while experiencing the Antarctic with.


10-22, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

Meet the Team


Rashidah Lim

Assistant Expedition



Expedition Leader

Christophe Gouraud

Assistant Expedition


Ted Creek

Zodiac Master

Shelli Ogilvy

Kayak Master

David Reid

Kayak Guide

Isabelle Howells

Equipment Master

Nadine Smith

Shop Manager

Rose Li

Translator & Guide

Barbara Post

Lecturer & Guide

Sandra Petrowitz


Shannon Jensen

First Aid Responder

Kevin Burke

Lecture & Guide

Ab Steenvoorden

Lecturer & Guide

Lisa Pettenuzzo

Lecturer & Guide

Nick Gan

Translator & Guide


Lecturer & Guide


Lecturer & Guide

Sanna Kallio

Lecturer & Guide

Chloe Shang

Shop Assistent

Steve Egan

Lecturer & Guide

Wan Meng Chieh

Translator & Guide

Zoy Li Jianqun

Lecturer & Guide

1-10, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 12


Day 1 - Southward Bound

1 February 2020 - Embarkation Day

As the wheels of the plane touched down on the

runway in Ushuaia, we were treated to

magnificent views of Tierra del Fuego and the

southernmost city in Argentina that marks the

start of our Antarctic adventure. After a night in

Ushuaia we were better rested from the long

travel and mid-day we arrived at the pier eager to

board the lovely ship Ocean Atlantic.

Our adventure to Antarctica started as the first

busses drove along the pier in beautiful summer

weather. Members of the Albatros Expedition

Team welcomed us onboard and the excitement

was palatable as we climbed the gangway steps.

Everyone checked in with the hotel department

and settled in our rooms before starting to

explore the vessel which will be our home for the

next ten days. Having time for tea as well as a

small snack, it was soon time for the mandatory

safety briefing followed by an important safety

drill. The recognizable alarm went off throughout

the ship and people gathered at their muster

stations and later at the emergency life boats.

Shortly after the drill was finished, the Ocean

Atlantic slowly started to move away from the pier

and began its journey through the Beagle channel,

before heading straight South towards Antarctica.

Meanwhile, Expedition Leader Sam hosted the

welcome briefing in the Viking Theatre and Hotel

Director Oliver introduced the ship and the many

staff working to provide an excellent experience,

including the food and beverage manager, the

head of housekeeping and the purser. Sam then

introduced the different members of the

expedition team and their roles onboard. He

proceeded then to outline the plans and details

for the voyage, including an update regarding the

weather, which was for a very pleasant forecast

for the infamous Drake Passage.

The evening ended with a big welcome dinner,

where people got to know their new travel

companions. Many went to bed early after several

days of travel. However, a few went outside on

the decks, where we were able to spot many

seabirds flying around the ship, several of the

larger albatrosses were sighted marking the start

of a great wildlife journey in the southern


But, as explorers know all too well, we can only

ever experience true beauty in nature when we

are brave enough to seek it out amongst the

mountains and the seas in the world’s most

remote places. It is with that sentiment in mind

that we venture away from Ushuaia and south, to

the future and all the wonders it holds.

1-10, FEB 2020 Volume 2, Issue 12

The Seven Sisters of Szczecin

David MacDonald, Lecturer (Geology) & Expedition Guide

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

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


Her original name was Konstantin Chernenko

(Константин Черненко), after the President of the

USSR (1984-1985). She was renamed Russ (Русс) in

1989, and spent much of her life working in the Russian

Far East.

She was purchased by Albatros Expeditions and

completely refitted in 2017. She is now a 200-

passenger expedition vessel and is one of the strongest

polar cruise ships afloat. Here are some fun facts about

the “Seven Sisters”:

• All seven ships were built by Stocnia Szczecinska

shipyard in Szczecin, Poland between 1979-1986

• Main engines: 4 x Skoda Sulzer 6LZ40 total power

12800 kW, giving a maximum speed of 18 knots

• Most of the class have one bow thruster (736 kW)

and one stern thruster (426 kW); however, two

ships, including ours, built in 1986, have two stern

thrusters, each of 426 kW

• Feature Siemens stabilisers for seaworthiness

• Although built as ferries, they have a strengthened

car deck for transport of tanks

• Two of them had diving chambers

• MV Mikhail Sholokov had hull demagnetising

equipment so it could operate in minefields

• All of these ships have been scrapped except ours

and Konstantin Simonov – now Ocean Endeavour

Our ship has had a complex history:

1986-1987 In Baltic traffic, then Vladivostok to

Japan & S Korea

1989 renamed to Russ

1997-1999 In traffic Stockholm-Riga; 2000

Odessa-Haifa; 2002 back to

Vladivostok transporting cars from


2007 Sold to Sea Ferry Shipping in Majuro

and renamed 2010 to Atlantic;

renovations in Italy and in traffic

Stockholm-Helsinki-St. Petersburg

during summer and laid up (October

2010) in St Petersburg

2012 Sold to ISP in Miami and renamed to

Ocean Atlantic under Marshall

Islands flag

2013 Used as a hotel ship in the German

bight wind farm project

2015-2017 Laid up in Helsingborg and taken to

Gdansk in Poland, where totally


2017 Chartered to Quark Expeditions

2017-present Chartered to Albatros Expeditions.

1-10 FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 12

An Unlikely Antarctic Explorer

Gregers Gjersøe – Snowshoe Master & Expedition Guide


In a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand, the local

cemetery is home to a rather unassuming grave.

The final resting place of Henry “Chippy” McNish,

one of the survivors of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s

1914 Endurance Expedition, the grave is also a

memorial to one of the most improbable of

Antarctic explorers.

McNish himself was a carpenter onboard the

Endurance, though he didn’t travel alone. During

the expedition, McNish brought along a cat that

followed him around like an overpossessive

wife. Soon enough, the

crew named the cat Mrs. Chippy,

although the expedition quickly

realised that Mrs. Chippy was a

gentleman, not a lady.

Mrs. Chippy was an unusual cat,

though an avid adventurer,

having climbed the Endurance’s

rigging lines on several

occasions. Mrs. Chippy also did

some very provocative strolls

across the roofs of the dogs’ kennels

and even once fell into the frigid water

below. Thankfully, the crew heard her cries and

quickly turned the ship around so they could

pluck her up from the icy cold waters and get her

to safety.

Also onboard the Endurance was a young man -

Perce Blackborow. Perce had travelled to Buenos

Aires looking for new employment, but wasn’t

hired; at 18, his youth and inexperience counted

against him. Somehow, he managed to sneak

aboard the ship, and he hid in a clothing locker

for three days. Eventually, he was discovered,

and Shackleton was furious with him, but was

sent to work in the galley where he became great

friends with Mrs. Chippy.

In January of 1915, the Endurance got trapped in

the Antarctic pack ice. McNish's work prevented

the ship from flooding, but he couldn’t do

anything to stop it from being crushed. The ship

was abandoned and, much to McNish’s despair,

Shackleton ordered Mrs. Chippy to be shot, as

they couldn’t take her on their survival journey.

Now, the group had to make it back to safety. For

months, the expedition drifted through icy

waters until they made it to Elephant Island.

Once at Elephant Island, Shackleton set out

in a 22-foot-long open boat and made

an 800-mile crossing through the

rough waters of the South Atlantic

to South Georgia. McNish was

one of the five men who

accompanied Shackleton,

making improvements to the

boat to make the voyage


For the next fifteen years, McNish

lived a difficult life in Wellington

before passing away in 1930. He never

forgave Shackleton for shooting Mrs.


Nearly 30 years later, in 1959, the New Zealand

Antarctic Society realised that McNish had been

given a very poor burial in an unmarked grave.

The Society raised funds for a headstone and

even reunited McNish and Mrs. Chippy by adding

a life-sized bronze statue of Mrs. Chippy to the


Now Karori Cemetery near Wellington is a

pilgrimage site for Antarctic history buffs, who

visit McNish’s grave and see Mrs. Chippy

watching over him once again.

1-10, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 12

Day 2 - Rolling Our Way South

February 2020 – Drake Passage South


A rolling sea greeted us for our first full day

together on Ocean Atlantic as she sailed

southwards toward the promise of a snowy white

continent. A lovely breakfast as the skies

lightened, gave us a nutritious beginning to the

events of the day. It was a relaxed start as many of

us were still finding our sea legs as we rocked

gently in the arms of Mother nature, across the

Drake Passage.

Our ornithologist Ab rolled out an entertaining

introduction to the Seabirds of the Southern

Ocean, giving us a great taste of the encounters

we could look forward to with these feathered

friends who accompany us on our passage to

Antarctica. Interest was high and the Viking

theatre full of curious questions about our winged

companions and time ‘flew’ - before we knew it, it

was time for a Mandatory IAATO briefing.

Expedition leader Sam gave us a preview of some

introductory thoughts and perspectives about

Antarctica, following this we enjoyed a great lunch

put on by our creative galley team, fuelling us for

an afternoon of further activities.

A sweet snack at Tea Time flowed into an

invitation to join an introduction to the Sea

Kayaking Program onboard hosted by Shelli &

David. Later Sandra lent us some valuable insights

and tips on Photographing Antarctica. Soon

enough, a day of various briefings, social occasions

and educational presentations brought us to our

official welcome to the journey by the Master of

our vessel our captain Georgii toasted to an

successful Expedition ahead. After this and the

briefing of the plans for the coming day a

delightful evening meal was served as Ocean

Atlantic steamed on south towards the horizon.

Some gathered after dining, for popcorn and a

screening of Frozen Planet to fuel dreams of the

icy realms ahead.

Late tonight, while we slept, we would cross the

Antarctic Convergence, the gateway into

Antarctica’s unique biological zone and can

consider ourselves then properly already

embraced by the great White Continent.

After dining, we followed up on our understanding

of the importance of arriving clean into the

sensitive Antarctic environment, with the

practicalities of screening all the clothing &

equipment we would take ashore & generally had

a fun social time in doing so. Throughout the

afternoon as the sea state settled, many of us

wandered upstairs to inspect the view from the

Ocean Atlantic bridge as well as explored the

outer decks, mingled with our naturalists, or

photographed the many and wondrous seabirds

that chaperoned our sea journey.

1-10, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 12

Penguins! Fun Facts for the Antarctic Adventurer

Gaby Pilson, Hiking Master & Expedition Guide

For many of us, the chance to see penguins waddling around in the snowy vastness of Antarctica is the reason

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

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



Depending on what book you read, there are 19

species of penguins. If you count all of the

subspecies, there are 25 total varieties of

penguins in the world, however, there are only

four truly Antarctic species of penguins: the

Adélie, Gentoo, Chinstrap, and Emperor. All of

the other penguins in the world live south of the

equator yet north of Antarctica, with the

exception of one species in the Galapagos whose

range barely crosses into the northern


The largest penguin to have ever lived was the

now-extinct mega penguin, which weighed some

115 kg. These days, the largest penguin is the

Emperor Penguin, which tips the scales at 23 kg.

Alternatively, the smaller gentoo penguin weighs

just 15 kg.





Although they nest, breed, and socialize on land,

penguins rely on the sea for survival. As

swimming and diving birds, penguins are adept

at fishing and must head to the ocean for their

sustenance. Indeed, the deepest diving bird in

the world is the Emperor Penguin, with a

record-breaking dive of 535 meters!

Penguins are amazing swimmers. They spend

much of their day searching for food in the

ocean, particularly for their favourite meal of

krill, squid, and small fish. The fastest swimming

penguin is the Gentoo, which is known to reach

speeds of upwards of 50 kilometres an hour

while zooming through the water.

Penguins are highly social birds, choosing to

nest in large colonies, where they will also raise

their young. Many penguin chicks, after

hatching stay with their parents for a few weeks

to a few months before forming large “crechés,”

many hundreds of individual teenage penguins

in size.

10-22 FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

Day 3 – Our First Steps in Antarctica

12 February 2020 – Drake Passage and Aitcho Islands


As we began our second day at sea, we saw our

first iceberg shortly after breakfast began.

Overnight we had been and making good time

across the Drake, it became apparent that we

would be able to try a landing that very afternoon

as we were passing through the South Shetland

Islands. We had been moving at top speeds to

successfully get in front of some bad weather and

thanks to this acceleration, we were able to add in

an extra unplanned landing!

So to prepare for this, we had a few activities we

had to get done this morning, including the zodiac

briefing and picking up our rubber boots that we

would need for all of the shore landings.

During a delicious lunch, we could see that we

were approaching a group of islands – our first

sight of Antarctica! These were the Aitcho Islands

named for the phonetic pronunciation of the

letters H and O, which stands for Hydrographic

Office. Everyone excited for the first taste of

Antarctic exploration, we got into the zodiacs and

went off to investigate both Barrientos and Cecelia


The wind picked up as the afternoon went on, and

upon returning back to the ship there was a chatty

buzz in the air as people warmed up over cups of

tea and exchanged stories of their new



© Sandra Petrowitz

The day ended off with a recap and briefing of the

plans of the next day, and everyone was definitely

looking forward to dinner after a long day. Those

who love to sing had an opportunity to sing their

hearts out that night after dinner during the

Karaoke session in the Viking Theatre.

10-22 FEB 2020

All photos © Sandra Petrowitz

Volume 2, Issue 13

Ice is Nice – Glacier Fun Facts

Gaby Pilson, Hiking Master & Expedition Guide

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

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

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



Not just anything can be a glacier. In fact, there’s

a size requirement that a piece of ice has to

meet to become a glacier. Anything considered a

glacier must be at least 0.1 km 2 (nearly 25 acres)

in area to be worthy of the name. Although

there’s a minimum size requirement to be

considered a glacier, there’s no upper limit to

glacierhood. The longest glacier on earth is the

Lambert Glacier of Antarctica, which measures

out to some 434 km (270 mi) long. The world’s

largest non-polar glacier is the Fedchenko

Glacier of Tajikistan, which measures a

respectable 77km (48mi) long.

© Renato Granieri

© Renato Granieri


Glaciers are formed by snowflakes. Although it’s

crazy to think that a tiny snowflake can create

something as large as a glacier, without snow,

glaciers would never exist in the first place. To

form a glacier, massive amounts of snow must

accumulate and persist in a single location all

year long for hundreds, if not thousands of

years. During this time, the individual snowflakes

found in the snowpack change in a process

known as snowflake metamorphosis, where

individual ice grains fuse together and get bigger

and air bubbles get smaller. Once the icepack

builds up enough mass to start flowing downhill,

then, voila! We have a glacier.


Glaciers are found all over the world, not just in

the polar regions. While the majority of glaciers

and glacial ice is concentrated in high northern

and southern latitudes, glaciers are found even

near the equator, such as on Mount Kilimanjaro

in Tanzania and in the mountains of Ecuador.

That being said, about half of the world’s

200,000 glaciers are found in one place: Alaska.

There, glaciers cover a whopping 72,500 km 2

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

lot of ice.

© Werner Kruse


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

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

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

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


10-22 FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

Drake Passage

Drake Passage

© Sandra Petrowitz

© Sandra Petrowitz

Elephant seal

Barrientos Is

Gentoo chic

© Sandra Petrowitz

© Sandra Petrowitz

Drake Passage

10-22, FEB 2020

All photos © Sandra Petrowitz

Volume 2, Issue 13

Whales: Friendly Giants of the Sea

Amanda Dalsgaard – Lecturer (Marine Biology) and Expedition Guide

When one talks about whales, we must

acknowledge the vast diversity of whales on earth

and the uniqueness of each species. All whales fall

into an order of marine mammals known as

Cetaceans. The scientists who first discovered and

named this order of marine mammals, used the

word cetacean or ‘ceatacea’ from the Greek

‘ketos,’ meaning monster.

Long ago, when whales were first scientifically

observed and recorded, people believed they

were monsters, due to their size. Today, we know

much more about the gentle giants that roam our

planet’s seas, thanks to a number scientific and

technological advances, our knowledge of these

creatures will only continue to grow.

The order Cetacea is divided into two sub-orders,

Odontocete and Mysticeti. Odontocete, meaning

‘toothed-whale’, includes all of the whales and

dolphins with teeth. Mysticeti comes from the

Latin root meaning “mustache”, and includes all of

the whales that have baleen plates instead of

teeth. It’s important to keep these differences in

mind when trying to observe whales from a ship

as this information can help identify cetaceans

from far away.

Since whales are marine mammals, they must

breath air to survive. They do so by breathing at

the water’s surface through their blow holes.

Interestingly enough, however, toothed whales

have only one blow hole or spout, while baleen

whales have two. Plus, many whales can be

identified from afar using the size and shape of

their spout blow as well. For example, grey whales

tend to have spouts shaped like hearts, while

orcas have low bushy spouts.

Another distinguishing characteristic that sets

these two sub-orders apart is the way that they

communicate. Odontocetes use a method of

communication called echolocation. This is best

described as a series or clicks and precise sounds

that are then reflected back to the animal and

allows the whale to ‘see’ their environment

through noise. It is the same communication style

used by bats in terrestrial ecosystems. Mysticetes

on the other hand, communicate through a variety

of low-frequency songs. These songs have been

described by scientists as being beautiful,

mysterious and sometimes gloomy, with the males

being the most active singers of the Mysticeti clan.

Regardless of the kind of whale you see however,

any encounter with one of these graceful marine

giants, however brief, is sure to be a memorable

experience for years to come.


10 22, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

Day 4 – Landing on the Continent Antarctica

13 February 2020 – Hydrurga Rocks and Portal Point


We woke up this morning to whale tales off the

port side of the ship for our pre breakfast views.

The skies were grey, but the temperatures were

warm, and we were eager to get onshore. The call

to the mudroom came for an 8:30 am

disembarkation. We waited eagerly at the

gangway for our Zodiac to pick us up. The agenda

for the morning was to visit Hydrurga Rocks.

We made our approach through the narrow

channel in the rocks and arrived at a small beach

landing. The water we stepped into was mid-boot

deep and we sloshed our way to shore to explore.

The tide was high, and many Fur seals were

playing in the shoals. We scrambled over the rocks

to see Weddell seals sleeping in the sun. The one

nearest the path had a smile on its face as it slept

and occasionally woke just enough to open one

eye and scratch it’s belly.

At the end of the path a throng of Snowy

sheathbills could be observed on the melting

snow. They were almost invisible except when

they came out to peck and scavenge the delicious

morsels they found on the snowy terrain.

The wind started to pick-up and we were swiftly

transported back to the ship for lunch. Our

morning visit came to a close at the perfect time.

We had warm food in a warm dining room. After

an exhilarating morning, the crowd thinned out

during the 3-hour sail to our afternoon stop as

many guests snuck off for a quick polar nap.

© Sandra Petrowitz

© Sandra Petrowitz

© Sandra Petrowitz

The afternoon landing was at Portal Point, a

chance to step on the Antarctic Continent proper.

We landed in the shallow rocky shore and had a

choice to walk up the hill to the left or to the right.

Going left up and over brought us to a wind swept

view of the glacier covered coast with an addition

sliding option down to the old foundation left

from a torn down British hut. On the alternate side

was beautiful views and feeding humpback


Again, the wind picked up just as we were leaving

and the snow started to fall. We zoomed back to

the ship for our briefing, recap and dinner. The

evening finished with Rose’s cocktail

demonstration and games.

© Sandra Petrowitz

Another grand day on the Antarctic peninsula.

10-22, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

The Geological Structure of the Antarctic Peninsula

David Macdonald, Lecturer (Geology) & Expedition Guide

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

note are:

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

• The peninsula was a volcanic arc from about 200 mya3 until about 25 mya

• Volcanism ended 50 mya in the south and 20 mya off Brabant Island

• Only the South Shetlands Islands have any volcanic activity now


There are three main geological domains, each formed of multiple rock units:

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

changed by heat and pressure (metamorphosed) in the subduction zone and during folding and

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

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

Brown Station.

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

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

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

tend to be in the west. These are the commonest rocks seen in the Peninsula and are well displayed in the

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

Island). Plutonic rocks form Goudier Island at Port Lockroy.

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

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

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

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

sedimentary rocks with abundant fossils interbedded with volcanic rocks west of Hannah Point, in Walker


10-22, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

Day 5 - The White Continent

14 February 2020 – Neko Harbour and Paradise Bay

Morning wakeup call and we must some of the

luckiest people in the world. The sun is streaming

through the window and Neko Harbour is a

gorgeous mirror, speckled with ice. Waiting for the

zodiacs never felt so long as we went outside to

take picture’s that will never do this day justice.

Alternatively, a few of us ran downstairs to put on

dry suits for an Antarctic kayaking adventure


Arriving on shore the expedition team have

already marked a route from the landing site right

up the side of the hill across the back of a gentoo

penguin colony to a high rocky viewpoint. On the

route up, members of the team were guarding

apparently empty areas with surprising vigour.

However, as they pointed out crevasses to the

side of our path and it all became clear.

Back down to the zodiacs for the smoothest cruise

we could imagine among icebergs of all shapes

and sizes, some adorned with the odd crabeater

and Weddell seal. So peaceful and calm, even the

whales are having a sunbathing snooze on the


Time for a short, but very scenic reposition to

Paradise Harbour through a narrow channel and

past the colourful painted Chilean base Gonzalez

Videla covered in Geotoos! It was at this point that

we heard we were going to witness some true

polar logistics in action. As the Argentinian supply

ship was making its way to service the summer

station of Base Brown while we were also making

our afternoon excursion in Paradise harbour.

Before it arrived we set out on the zodiacs for land

getting distracted by a pair of Humpback whales

who decided to hang out right on the route.

© Sandra Petrowitz

Landing on a spit of land just opposite the base,

the shore was littered with seals basking in the

sun. Once more the expedition team have found

us a route up to a stunning viewpoint on a tongue

of ice with lichens and ice algae to be observed.

After the landing we began a picturesque zodiac

cruise to see blue eyed shags, some of us found

the Humpback whales, Crabeater and Leopard

seals. The kayakers were off exploring Skontorp

cove and embracing the quiet and reflections of

the landscape.

Once everyone was back on-board, the outdoor

activities were not quite finished yet Polar plunge

began, and 52 of us having apparently lost our

minds in the sun, deciding to jump from our warm

ship into the icy water.

Dinner and straight to Rose’s Valentine’s Day

evening entertainment, where description will

never quite fully illuminate the hilarity of

activities. Happy Valentines day everyone.

© Sandra Petrowitz © Shannon Jensen

10-22 FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

Paradise Harbour





Paradise Harbour

Neko Harbour

10-22, FEB 2020

All photos © Sandra Petrowltz

Volume 2, Issue 13

When and How the Earth Got Cold

David Macdonald, Lecturer (Geology) & Expedition Guide

The Earth’s climate has two end-member states:

greenhouse and icehouse. In a greenhouse climate,

there are no polar icecaps (although there may be

valley glaciers in high mountain areas) – the climate of

the Cretaceous Period (144-65 million years ago) is a

typical greenhouse. We are currently in an icehouse

climate, since there are icecaps at or near both poles.

Although life on Earth goes back 3.5 billion years, the

main expansion in numbers of species and hence of

easily found fossils occurred 540 million years ago.

During the time from then until now, greenhouse

climates have dominated, with three periods of

icehouse climate, lasting a total of about 100 million

years. Our current icehouse period began abruptly 35

million years ago, with formation of an icecap in

Antarctica. Why did it happen then, and why did it have

such an abrupt beginning?

Water temperature (°C)

Antarctic convergence

October 2019






54 56 58 60 62 64

Latitude (°S)


Figure 2: Temperatures in the Drake Passage from Friday 25

October to Sunday 27 October 2019 as Ocean Atlantic sailed south

across the Antarctic Convergence, where the sea temperature falls

below 4°C.

It was the severing of the link between the Antarctic

Peninsula and Tierra del Fuego that allowed deep cold

water to circulate around the planet at 50-60°S and

thermally isolate Antarctica from the rest of the world.

This situation continues today (Figure 1)

The key area for this was the Drake Passage, which is

the western end of the Scotia Sea (Figure 3). Geological

and geophysical studies of the sea floor show that the

Antarctica-South America link was severed by the

growth of ocean crust, beginning 35 million years ago.

Opening of this deep-water gateway cooled the planet

and turned Antarctica into the white continent.

Figure 1: Thermal structure of the Southern Ocean showing the

position of the Antarctic Convergence (Polar Front) at the junction

of the dark blue and mid blue shading. This is the line of the 4°C

isotherm, where Antarctic surface water plunges below cold

temperate water.

The first, and most important factor was that we had a

polar continent. Antarctica was in roughly its present

position over the South Pole, so would have had

strongly differentiated winters and summers. However,

although the former supercontinent of Gondwana had

largely broken up by then, there was still a land bridge

to South America and Antarctica was still forested,

probably with a migratory fauna. Warm currents bathed

Antarctica’s shores and, 35 million years ago, the

temperature of the Southern Ocean was a relatively

mild 6°C.

10-22, FEB 2020

Figure 3: The Drake Passage and the Scotia Sea formed from 50

million years ago, when there was slow extension between South

America and the Antarctic Peninsula which stretched the crust and

allowed surface waters to circulate through this former land

bridge. The temperature of the southern Ocean fell from 12°C to

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

when the deep water gateway of the scotia Sea opened, sundering

the link between Antarctica and South America and allowing

continuous circulation of deep water, thermally isolating


Volume 2, Issue 13

In the Footsteps of Charcot

15 February 2020 – French Passage and Port Charcot


Overnight the Ocean Atlantic headed back out into

the Gerlache, upon reaching the strait, the

weather changed, not for the better, and a NE

wind was with us as we entered the north end of

the Neumayer Channel the night before. Regarded

as one of the most scenic and spectacular

channels on the peninsula, dark ominous low

clouds prevented all on board from seeing it at its

best. This morning the plan was to visit Damoy

Point, located on Weincke Island. Upon reaching

our intended destination high winds meant that a

landing was not possible. As the decision was

being made, off in the distance the British station

at Port Lockroy could just be seen.

The route to Port Charcot took us near the

southern entrance of the Lemaire Channel as we

past Pleneau Island. The surrounding mountain

scenery was spectacular and many guests on

board braved the high winds to spend time out on


Nearby Booth Island offered some protection from

the robust winds as we approached our intended

landing. Surrounded by icebergs the Ocean

Atlantic found a safe anchorage. Despite the high

gusts, some shelter was found. As zodiac

operations started, the wind was gusting close to

40 kts.

A great morning was had by all, catching up on

diaries, reading, sleeping and other important

duties. Ab gave an excellent lecture about

penguins which was closely followed by Barbara

giving an equally great lecture on krill, arguably

the most important animal species in Antarctica.

As lunch was being enjoyed distant humpback

whales were spotted, but given the high winds and

waves, it was not the day for easy wildlife

spotting. Patches of blue sky made a quick

appearance but for the most part, it was a cloudy,

windy, classic Antarctica day.

Plan B quickly swung into action and we heading

instead west through Bismark Strait, then south

towards the French Passage. Our new goal was to

visit Port Charcot, located on Booth Island. The

passage through the famous Lemaire Channel was

not possible (this time) due to the hazards of a

following high wind which would make ship

navigation challenging and possibly dangerous.

10-22, FEB 2020

© Sandra Petrowitz

© Sandra Petrowitz

© Sandra Petrowitz

A slightly longer zodiac route, to avoid the worst

of the waves, took us to our landing spot at Port

Charcot. Once everyone was safely ashore, our

early arrival meant that most guests had nearly

two hours ashore with which to explore, take

photographs and visit the historic cairn on a

nearby hill-top.

Expedition leader Sam started re-cap with the

plans for tomorrow followed by Lisa, Wan, Sandra

giving short re-cap presentations on Charcot,

photography and the Antarctica treaty. After

dinner Sanna gave a fascinating talk about her ski

journey to the South Pole.

Volume 2, Issue 13

Port Charcot

Gentoo Chics

Crabeater Seal

© Sandra Petrowitz

Port Charcot

10-22, FEB 2020 All photos © Sandra Petrowitz

Volume 2, Issue 13

Fire in the Antarctic

Gregers Gjersøe, Snowshoe Master & Expedition Guide

Fire is one of the greatest threats in Antarctica thanks to

the region’s very dry climate, frequent strong winds,

and nearly complete lack of liquid freshwater. Due to

the continent’s isolation with and little possibility of

rescue for weeks or months, a fire in the Antarctic is a

potentially very disastrous event.

Although it is covered in snow and ice, the cold

temperatures of Antarctica make the White Continent

very dry. As it is one of the windiest places on Earth,

there is almost always a strong wind blowing much of

the time, more than strong enough to fan any flames.

As the temperatures across the whole continent of

Antarctica is averaging below freezing, there is unlikely

to be very much liquid water to fight fires. So, the

response to fire is usually to make sure everyone is out

of danger and safe and then stand back and watch it

burn itself out.

Bases in Antarctica are often designed to survive fires

because they are made up of a number of separate

buildings, each with a significant distance between

them. Many bases have emergency supplies stored in a

hut near the base but well away. In these huts, there

are often enough supplies and ample shelter for the

base’s crew to be able to survive a fire or emergency

until help can arrive.

The Argentine Antarctic base and scientific research

station, “Brown Station,” is named after Admiral

William Brown, the father of the Argentine Navy.


Located on the Sanaviron Peninsula along Paradise

Harbour’s Danco Coast, from 1951 to 1984 it served as

a permanent research base, though, since then, it is

open only during the summer season.

During its heyday, the station was home to one of the

most complete biology laboratories on the Antarctic

Peninsula, featuring a main house, as well as an

additional building exclusively for scientific research.

This building was equipped with three labs, a

photography workshop, an emergency radio station, an

office and a library.

Unfortunately, Brown Station’s original facilities were

burned down by the station’s doctor on 12 April 1984

after he was ordered to stay on for yet another winter,

despite the original terms of his contract and his desire

to see his fiancé once again. As you can imagine, the

stress of Antarctica’s harsh winter conditions can take

its toll on residents and explorers of the region, driving

them to take extreme measures to get back home.

The doctor simply couldn’t bear to stay on for another

winter and he couldn’t stand the isolation as the days

drew darker. His solution? To force an evacuation of

himself and his colleagues in the only way plausible

manner: by burning the station down.

After the fire, the station’s personnel were rescued by

the USS Hero and taken to United States’ Palmer

Station. Argentina later rebuilt the base, but it is now

only occupied during the summer months. The station’s

doctor was sent to prison for arson and his fiancé

decided to call off the engagement.

© Werner Kruse

1-10 FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 12

South of the Circle

16 Februrary 2020 – Crossing the Circle and Detaille Island

We woke to Sam’s announcement, happy to have

slept in, and eager for the excitement of the

morning. We were due to cross the Antarctic

Circle at 9:30 am and a party was arranged on the

back deck. As we approached the circle we

gathered for a group photo while sipping on hot

chocolate waiting for the captain’s count down.

Upon reaching 0 in the count down a cheer roared

through the crowed and a blast from the ship’s

horn as everyone celebrated 66 o 33 South.

Once the festivities died down guests strolled

along the decks watching as we passed giant

tabular icebergs, the largest of the ice bergs we’ve

seen yet. Barbara shared a fascinating lecture on

sea ice explaining how it forms and which critters

rely on it to survive.

© Sandra Petrowitz


© Sandra Petrowitz

After lunch wrapped up in the dining room

operations began on Detaille Island. Here Base W

still remains just as it was in 1959 when the

resupply ship could not reach the station do to ice

and the British crew had to abandon the base

taking only the necessities. Luckily, they had

finished mapping the area and had a good

understanding of the geology and were able to

leave with their scientific papers. The hut still

remains with clothing hanging up to dry and food

stocked in the cupboards, frozen in time.

A handful of brave souls took part in the Polar

Plunge 2.0, this time stripping down to their

nickers and plunging in from the shore.

At the evening briefing Sam showed the plan for

the upcoming day and Ted explained what the

heck the Antarctic Circle actually is. He

demonstrated the process with a buoy, a ski pole

and a head lamp leaving us with a good

understanding. Marta gave us a quick run down on

Antarctic history and encouraged us all to become

Antarctic Ambassadors in simple ways such as

carefully choosing the products we buy, the foods

that we eat and the companies we support.

Once dinner finished Rose wrapped up the

evening with a fun game of bingo with excellent

prizes for the winners.

© Sandra Petrowitz

10-22 FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13



66 o 33 South

10-22 FEB 2020

All photos © Sandra Petrowitz

Volume 2, Issue 13



Base ¨W¨

Zodiacs through

the Ice

etaille Island

abular Iceberg

10-22, FEB 2020 All photos © Sandra Petrowitz

Volume 2, Issue 13

Station Visit

17 Februrary 2020 – Petermann Is and Vernadsky station


We all had a bit of a rough night as we left the

Antarctic circle through a heavy headwind coming

down the Antarctic Peninsula. As we woke up the

wind hadn’t yet left us and we can see that the sea

conditions are still rough. Confirmed by our

expedition leader Sam, who decided to cancel the

zodiac cruise due to poor weather, but we still

have the landing at Petermann island to look

forward to. However, as the zodiacs were

launched the wind dropped and all activities

including kayaking are back on!

© Sandra Petrowitz

Off we went in the zodiacs through the pelting

snow landing in the harbour known as Port

Circumcision for reasons that no one seems to

want to reveal to us. Gentoo penguins littering

around the landing site with a climb to see the

Adelies or in the other direction we had a

monument to 3 lost members of the British

Antarctic survey or a viewpoint only slightly

dimmed by the mist. Once we had walked our fill

our zodiac trip did not disappoint,.Crabeaters,

Leopard and fur seals could be seen along with of

course the brush tail penguins and stunning ice.

To the ship we go and an indoor BBQ was

underway for lunch, as the snow had made the

decks too slippery for an outdoor event. Making

our way back south to Ukrainian station


The station members welcomed us with open

arms and vodka from the Faraday bar. Named for

the previous title of the base when it belonged to

Great Britain. The bar still holds the 1 pound coin

that the base was originally purchased for. A

guided tour was provided around the working

research base and happy faces were met. It was

fascinating to get a glimpse into human life in

© Sandra Petrowitz

Antarctica. We also visited Wordie house which is

another old British hut kept as a museum to

preserve the way of life of the early scientists.

No recap tonight we were off ship cruising up the

Lemaire Channel which is 16km long and just

1.2km wide at it narrowest. The mountains tower

above on either side with ominous hanging ice

caps disappearing into the mist above. Opening

back out into the Gerlache straight we were back

in familiar territory with humpbacks appearing as

if from nowhere during dinner. Another fantastic

day finished off with stories from the arctic with

the expedition teams Kevin who’s spent much of

his life working with polar bears in northern


Exhausted and exited for the next day we headed

north towards Mikkelsen harbor.

© Sandra Petrowitz

10-22 FEB 2020

© Sandra Petrowitz

Fun Fact:

There are over 20000 species of lichen. Lichen is

actually a combination of a fungus and a

cyanobacteria! #thatsneat

Volume 2, Issue 13

Argentine Islands

Gentoo & Adelie

Base ¨W¨

Fur Seal

emaire Channel

1-10 FEB 2020

All photos © Sandra Petrowitz

Volume 2, Issue 12

Antarctica: A Continent for Science

David Macdonald, Lecturer (Geology) & Expedition Guide

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


Antarctica affects the rest of the world in a variety of

ways, so “Antarctic Science” should really be “Global

science that happens in Antarctica”. Although many

early expeditions were purely geographical in scope,

there were some important scientific expeditions in the

late 19 th to early 20 th centuries. In this “Golden Age” of

exploration, there were many scientific contributions

from Antarctica which changed our view of the earth’s

evolution and environment.

Indeed, three expeditions brought back proof that

Antarctica once had a warm climate. Scott’s first

expedition (1901-1904) found coal from 250 million

years ago in the Transantarctic Mountains;

Nordenskjӧld’s Swedish Antarctic Expedition found

warm-water fossils on James Ross Island; and the Scotia

Expedition under Bruce (1902-1904) dredged

fossiliferous 500 million-year-old limestone from the

Weddell Sea. Scott’s second expedition (1910-1913)

found fossil leaves(Glossopteris) in the Transantarctic

Mountains. These fossils belong to an extinct order of

seed ferns from 299-252 million years ago, only found

in the southern hemisphere continents and India. They

were used by Wegener in 1924 in his work on

continental drift to reconstruct the former

supercontinent of Gondwana.

In the years after the First World War, the focus

changed from individual expeditions to national

pursuits, such as the British Discovery Investigations –

the first permanent oceanographic body in the world.

During 33 years (1918–51) of pioneering work, the

research ships collected an enormous amount of

oceanographic, biological, and geographical data.

Among the results of the investigations was the

discovery of both the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the

Antarctic Convergence - the natural boundary of


By the end of the Second World War, the move to

create national organisations was complete, with the

formation of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey

(now British Antarctic Survey), the Australian National

Research Expeditions) and other civilian operations

(France, New Zealand, South Africa, etc).

As a result of these organisations and better logistics,

the rate of scientific discovery soared, and new polarspecific

studies proliferated. Some highlights include:

• 1957-58: The International Geophysical Year (IGY)

was an 18-month collaboration between 67

countries. Antarctica was the focus, with 12 nations

participating. Many new scientific stations were

created and the IGY was a resounding success as it

led directly to the Antarctic Treaty

• 1959-1996: The discovery and delineation of

subglacial Lake Vostok is a great example of scientific

cooperation. Lab studies showed that ice under very

high pressure reverts to water and in 1964, seismic

soundings from Vostok Station were used to

measure the thickness of the ice sheet. This

suggested the existence of a subglacial lake. British

airborne ice-penetrating radar in the 1970s detected

unusual radar readings, suggesting a freshwater lake

below the ice. In 1991, a radar satellite revealed

that this subglacial water body is one of the world’s

largest lakes. We now know that there are at least

140 subglacial lakes in Antarctica.

• 1980-present: The US-funded collection and curation

of Antarctic meteorites has recovered about 22,000

meteorites from Antarctica (about 75% of all known

meteorites worldwide). There are samples from the

Moon, Mars, and asteroids.

• 1985: In hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica was

discovered from ground-based instruments at Halley

Bay and Faraday (British Antarctic Survey).

• 1986: Research at McMurdo Station, the main U.S.

scientific station in Antarctica, established that

chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as the probable cause of

the Antarctic ozone hole (US NSF). These two bits of

work lead to signing of the Madrid Protocol on 1987,

banning CFCs.

23 JAN – 1 FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 11

Departing the Peninsula

18 Februrary 2020 – Mikkelsen Harbour and Cierva Cove

It was a breezy, cold morning when we arrived by

zodiacs at a rocky island called D´Hainaut island.

This island is only 1 km 2 small and situated in

Mikkelsen Harbour, a 3 km wide bay, lined with

ice cliffs, indenting the south side of Trinity Island.

We landed on the northeast shore, just next to

large piles of whalebones and a whalers

waterboat. As the tide was low, we were able to

investigate some sea creatures in small tidal pools,

including the most famous Antarctic krill

Euphausia superba.


© Sandra Petrowitz

© Sandra Petrowitz

Slowly and carefully we walked around the island,

the ground was a bit frozen and slippery, so we

took our time in navigating the terrain. During our

round tour we discovered fighting fur seals, a

sleepy Weddell seal and many Gentoo penguins,

our favourites! On the other side of D´Hainaut

island was also a small colourful Argentine refuge

to look at. On the way back to the ship our

expedition team offered a zodiac cruise, where we

enjoyed watching Antarctic terns feeding and

Weddell seals snoozing on rocks. Back on board a

warming lunch was waiting for us, while the ship

re-positioned to Cierva Cove.

Upon arrival at our destination for the afternoon,

the sky cleared up and the sea was calm. Perfect

conditions for a long zodiac cruise, hurray! Our

zodiac tour took us around beautiful glimmering

icebergs and all of us had a good look at Leopard

seals, sleeping on various ice floes. What an

honour to meet this mighty apex predator of the

Southern Ocean. After this exhilarating cruise our

Expedition leader Sam introduced, as every

evening, the plans for tomorrow. During the recap

the expedition team gave us more information

about the snow algae and the important Whales

and Dolphin conservation project. Most of our

burning questions from the question box were

also answered, before we headed for dinner.

© Sandra Petrowitz

© Sandra Petrowitz

10-22 FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

Our Last Day

19 Februrary 2020 – Whalers Bay , Walker Bay & Hannah


The day started with a 6:20 wakeup call over the

loudspeakers. It was earlier than usual, but well

worth dragging oneself out of bed. We were

passing through the entrance of a caldera called

Deception Island. The navigation is a challenge as

in the middle of the narrow entrance there is also

a rock, thus the captain brought us very close to

the steep walls of the volcano.


We anchored in Whalers Bay to be transported by

Zodiacs to the shore. We walked the long sandy

beach to look at relics from the whaler’s epoch

and the last remnants of the British Base that are

still standing after a mud flow from volcanic

eruptions in the 1960’s. The buildings were left

standing after clean-up effort. It is a

demonstration of the power of volcanic eruptions

and it has since been designated as a historic site

under the Antarctic Treaty. At the west end of the

beach we hiked up a moraine to take in the view

of the airstrip that one provided access to flights

over the south pole by Wilkins on November 16,

1928 .

At the end of the landing it was yet another

opportunity to Polar Plunge! For some of us this

would be our third dip into the chilly waters of


© Sandra Petrowitz

In the afternoon, we visited our last and final stop

of our journey in Antarctica at Hannah Point and

Walker Bay. Again, the weather was calm as we

explored the beach. To the right from landing we

followed the narrow trail up the steep sandy slope

to view the gentoo penguin colony and the

elephant seals from a bird’s eye view. The

penguins provided endless entertainment for us

while we watched the chics chase their parents for

a scrap of food. A Leopard seal had caught a

penguin and stripped it of its skin and feathers by

flinging it around to make a quick snack before it

went hunting again. There were giant petrels on

the ridge tops and more Elephant seals and a

Chinstrap penguin colony on the horizons.

For evening entertainment we had a talk from

Sanna about her time at the Hailey Station in


© Sandra Petrowitz

Another day completed with a happy tired feeling.

Our last day on land in Antarctica brings out much

contemplation. We will have 2 days now on the

rolling seas of the Drake Passage to process our

once of lifetime experience.

© Sandra Petrowitz

Fun Fact:

There are over 20000 species of lichen. Lichen is

actually a combination of a fungus and a

cyanobacteria! #thatsneat

10-22 FEB 2020

© Sandra Petrowitz

Volume 2, Issue 13

Argentine Whalers Bay Islands

Gentoo Whalers & Adelie Bay

Base ¨W¨


Elephant Seal

Hannah point

1-10 FEB 2020

All photos © Sandra Petrowitz

Volume 2, Issue 12

A Brief History of the Zodiac

Steve Traynor, Zodiac Master

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

reliable, robust vessels are the workhorse of the expedition cruise industry, from the north of Svalbard to

the southern end of the Antarctic Peninsula. They have a long history – as you can see from the stages

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

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

in 1844) – this process is used for hardening and strengthening rubber.

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

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

rubber scraps – this made the rubber industry much more efficient.

1845 The first successful inflatable boat (Halkett boat) was designed by Lieutenant Peter Halkett

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

Rae, in his successful expedition to discover the fate of the Franklin Expedition.

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

inflatable raft.

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

1909 The first outboard motor was invented by Ole Evinrude in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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

inflatable rafts for use as supplementary lifeboats.

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

1934 The airship company, Zodiac, invented the inflatable kayak and catamaran

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

raids and landings in the Pacific theatre.

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

the Zodiac company).

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

famous diver Jacques-Yves Cousteau, started using them.

1960 Zodiac licensed production to a dozen companies in other countries because of their lack of

manufacturing capacity in France.


10-22, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

Northward Bound

20 February 2020 – Drake Passage

A quiet and relaxed sea day on the Ocean Atlantic.

After our last landing and leaving the South

Shetlands yesterday, we hit the Drake Passage

again, making our way back to Ushuaia.

The Southern Ocean, and the Drake in particular is

known as one of the roughest oceans one can sail

through, but for our first day sailing back, the

ocean was gentle to us and we had a Drake Lake…

which means not very strong winds or rough seas.

We had West and North West winds, of 18 to 25

knots from the morning to the late afternoon.

Really good conditions for our vessel and it was

also possible to conduct our educational program

of the day.

In the morning we were not woken up by Sam’s

voice, thus the day started with a very well

deserved later morning and breakfast in the

Restaurant. It was nice to unwind a little after all

the active days with the Zodiacs and landings.

The educational program started with Steve´s seal

lecture, a very good summary and explanations to

learn more and understand better the life of the

different seal species that we have seen during

our trip.

After lunch, the knowledge program continued

with two more lectures. One more wildlife lecture

about Whale communication, by Isabelle, and also

a personal experience lecture by Marta, about

how it is to sail to Antarctica on a sailing boat. In

between the presentations we had a little culinary

fun up in the Bistro making dumplings, which we

later enjoyed as part of the many dinner options.

At 18:15 the Expedition Team offered the

traditional recap, with Sam’s weather forecast for

our next day on the Drake, and Ted and Ab

introduced us two other organizations that

Albatros is collaborating to raise funding and

awareness: HookPod is trying to avoid the

increasing number of albatross being hooked up

on fishing lines; and South Georgia Heritage Trust

which is running a very successful Rat Eradication

Program on the whole island of South Georgia.

The recap brought us into dinner time but the

educational day was not over yet!

Rose awaited us in the Viking Theatre, to test the

knowledge and learning of guests and Expedition

Staff with an Antarctic Quiz. Several teams of 3 to

5 people gather together for the Quiz and 3 of

them got a very valuable scored of 29 / 30! A final

tricky question about eruption dates in Deception

island was needed to have only one final winner

group, that was rewarded with a free drink in our



From a political point of view, we left Antarctica

after passing the 60ºS between 12:00 and 13:00h,

but we have crossed Antarctica’s biological

border, known as the Antarctic Convergence, at

around 18:00h.

10-22 FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

The Beagle Channel

21 February 2020 – Drake Passage

We enjoyed a nice chance to sleep-in until 7:45

am. The Drake was much more lively this morning

with long rolling swells rolling us back and forth in

our beds, and once upright we often were walking

at an angle to keep balance.

In the morning Expedition team member Lisa,

held a presentation on the details of the Antarctic

Treaty. Throughout the morning the birders were

our on deck hoping to get a glimpse of more

albatrosses, however conditions were a bit

challenging, nice to get some fresh air though.

In the afternoon the kayakers had a debrief of

their great adventures gliding along the surface of

the sea, dipping their paddles left and right. Such a

surreal experience to be fulling immerged in the

ocean of Antarctica, so close and personal. They

shared photos and experiences together, all put

together 22 individuals had the chance to explore

the icy waters of Antarctica.

In the late afternoon we had a slideshow of all of

Sandra’s photos from the expedition. Such a

talented photographer; she really captured all our

experiences in crystal clear stillness for us to

remember forever.

The charity raffle was fun and managed to raise a

beneficial sum for the important charities we have

learned about. One is the “South Georgia Heritage

Trust” whose efforts try to eradicate foreign

species of flora and fauna that threaten local

ecosystems; the other was “Hook Pod”, an

invention that protects seabirds from getting

caught in the fishing lines of commercial fishing

vessels; and the last one was the Whale and

Dolphin Conservation (WDC).

The evening events were literally Capt off with a

toast from our Captain, a farewell to the hotel

team, and a cast back of the recaps of all recaps

with Sam walking us through the twelve last

amazing days of our lives.

The Captain’s dinner was our last “festival” for the

trip and our last grand display and consumption of

chocolate as well as to enjoy our new friends

made on the ship. Tomorrow we will be saying

good-bye, and hopefully in the future a new hello



10-22 FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

Base ¨W¨

© Sandra Petrowitz

© Sandra Petrowitz


Cape Petrel

© Renato Granieri

Drake Passage

© Sandra Petrowitz

© Sandra Petrowitz



10-22, FEB 2020

© Sandra Petrowitz

Volume 2, Issue 13

King of the Southern Winds

Sandra Ophorst, Lecturer & Expedition Guide

The wandering albatross is an impressive bird with the

world’s largest wingspan of up to 3.5 meters in length

and a weight of up to 11 kilograms. Unfortunately, the

number of wandering albatrosses is rapidly declining

with only 20,100 individuals left as of October 2019

(Red List, World Conservation Union)

The wandering albatross is rarely seen on land and

gathers only to breed, at which time it forms large

colonies on remote islands, such as South Georgia. The

female lays a single white egg and both sexes share

incubation, which lasts about 60 to 80 days. Both sexes

feed the youngster by regurgitating food, a process

that can continue for up to nine months.

The nesting cycle of wandering albatrosses is so long,

they can’t complete it in one year. So, they nest every

other year. When young albatrosses become

independent and leave their nest site, they begin a

multi-year foray on the open ocean and will not return

to land until they are old enough to breed. This can

take up to 10 years of their 50 year average lifespan.


The wandering albatross is famous for its dynamic

flight. They turn into the wind to gain height, then glide

back down to the sea to gain speed. Sometimes they

glide for hours without rest or even a single flap of

their wings. Indeed, this principle was used to design

airplanes, especially gliders that have albatross-like


As a result of these wings, however, an albatross’

landing process often looks a bit comical as their

narrow wings do not allow for a slow approach. So,

they often land on their feet and then tumble forward

and slide on their bellies. The biggest threats to the

wandering albatross are pollution and large-scale

commercial tuna fisheries. These tuna fishing boats are

equipped with up to 20,000 fish baited hooks and

these lines can be up to 100km long.

Unfortunately, these fishing lines often attract

albatrosses get caught up on the hooks and drown as

they are cast out at sea. Organisations such as Hookpod

are trying to save the albatrosses from the dangers of

long line fishing vessels by providing fishing boats with

“hookpods” that cover the barb and point of the hook

during setting, reducing the likelihood of an albatross


© Sandra Petrowitz

10-22, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

Home Again

22 February 2020 - Ushuaia

After last night’s end-of-voyage festivities, we awoke

much too early for our final morning on the Ocean

Atlantic. Although we wish we could stay, we started

the process of leaving behind the ship and the people

we’ve come to know so well over the past week.

Our bags were packed and stowed in the corridors,

ready for our early-morning busses and flights back

home. After nine whole days immersed in the

landscapes and amongst the wildlife of the Antarctic,

it was time to return home or to wherever our life’s

journeys bring us.

And so – farewell, adieu, and goodbye. Together we

have visited and incredible and vast wilderness. We

have experienced magnificent mountain vistas, seen

icebergs roll and crack, felt the power of the elements

and seen how quickly they can change. We enjoyed

wonderful food and comfortable surroundings aboard

the Ocean Atlantic.


We boarded zodiacs and cruised through icy bays at

the end of the Earth. We shared unique moments,

held engaging conversations, and laughed together

over tea or wine. We’ve made new friends and

experienced the power of expedition travel.

We hope the expedition team has helped make this

the trip of a lifetime - one that will persist in your

memories for weeks, months, and years, to come.

Although we must say good-bye to these places we

have come to know and love, it is a fond farewell as

we are all true ambassadors for the Antarctic and all

the beauty it holds.

On behalf of Albatros Expeditions, our captain and

crew, the expedition team, and everyone else who

helped make this journey a resounding success, it has

been a pleasure travelling with you. We hope that you

will come back and experience these wonderful places

with us once again!

10-22, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

By the Numbers…


Voyage Statistics:

Southernmost Point: 66 o 51.49’ S, 65 o 48.62’W

Total Distance Travelled: 2,147 nautical miles 3,864 kilometre

Excursion Locations:

Barrientos Is: 62 o 24’ S 59 o 44’ W Detaille Is: 66 o 51’ S 66 o 48’ W

Hydrurga Rocks: 64 o 08’ S 61 o 36’ W Petermann Is: 65 o 10’ S 64 o 10’ W

Portal Point: 64 o 28’ S 61 o 47’ W Mikkelsen Harbour: 63 o 54’ S 60 o 46’ W

Neko Harbour: 64 o 50’ S 62 o 33’ W Cierva Cove: 64 o 08’ S 60 o 53’ W

Brown Station: 64 o 53’ S 62 o 52’ W Whalers Bay: 62 o 59’ S 60 o 34’ W

Port Charcot: 65 o 06’ S 64 o 01’ W Hannah Point: 62 o 39’ S 60 o 37’ W

Ushuaia: 54 o 45’ S 68 o 23’ W

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





Cold Cuts

Fish & Seafood




Ice Cream





Toilet Paper

400 kg

100 kg

400 kg

600 kg

100 kg

300 kg

5400 pcs

480 ltr

75 kg

180 ltr

2250 kg

2500 kg

127 btls

416 cans

780 rolls

10-22, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

A Final Note…


As any good expedition comes to a close, many of us experience the

effervescent excitement that comes when we immerse ourselves

completely in an adventure. Although we all came into this voyage with

our own expectations and personal motivations, on the ship, we quickly

learned that the best plan is the one that we end up doing.

While weather and the landscape

can conspire against us in the

southern latitudes, the right mindset

can make all of the difference.

Wind, rain, sleet, and snow make no

difference when we come prepared

for an adventure and all the

excitement it holds. Whether you

saw what you came for or you

experienced something else

entirely, when you set out on an

expedition, you come for the

mountains and the wildlife, but stay

for people and places you meet

along the way.

Although we all eventually have to

leave behind our beloved Ocean

Atlantic, there are always a few

things we can take home from an


• An acceptance and embracement

of adversity and uncertainty

when the natural world alters

our plans.

• A fondness for the wild and a

strong desire to keep remote

natural locations as beautiful and

free as they can be.

• An insatiable interest in learning

more about the people, places,

and cultures in some of the most

remote parts of the world.

As you unpack you bags, you may

find souvenirs and keepsakes from

your journey. Your camera may be

filled with countless photos,

however blurry, of the many

animals and mountains that have

crossed our paths. At the end of the

day, however, what matters most is

the experience of, the journey to,

and the memories of these wild and

wonderful places.

Best wishes from all of us on the

expedition team as you continue on

with your adventures!

Sam Gagnon

Expedition Leader

Rashidah Lim

Assistant Expedition Leader

Thank you for experiencing the Antarctic with us at Albatros

Expeditions. We hope to see you aboard the Ocean Atlantic

again in the future!

Christophe Gouraud

Assistant Expedition Leader

© Sandra Petrowitz

10-22, FEB 2020

Volume 2, Issue 13

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