Visual journal - Antarctic region

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2 March - 21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15<br />

Albatros Magazine<br />

A <strong>Visual</strong> Journey<br />

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

& South Georgia<br />


Albatros Magazine: A <strong>Visual</strong> Journey<br />

Editor-in-Chief:<br />

Layout & Design:<br />

Amanda Dalsgaard<br />

Gaby Pilson & Shelli Ogilvy<br />

Front Cover Image:<br />

Back Cover Image:<br />

Photography Contributors:<br />

King Penguins Shayne McGuire<br />

Gentoo penguins Shayne McGuire<br />

Shayne McGuire<br />

Sandra Petrowitz<br />

Yuri Choufour<br />

Werner Kruse<br />

Renato Granieri<br />

Gaby Pilson<br />

Shannon Jensen<br />

Phillip Hunter<br />

Amanda Dalsgaard<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15


The Voyage<br />

Meet the Team<br />

Day 1: Southward Bound<br />

The Seven Sisters of Szczecin<br />

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

Day 2: Rolling Our Way South<br />

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

Day 3: Our First Steps in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a!<br />

Ice is Nice – Glacier Fun Facts<br />

Whales: Friendly Giants of the Sea<br />

Day 4: Touchdown on the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Continent<br />

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

Day 5: A True Expedition Day<br />

When and How the Earth Got Cold<br />

Day 6: Getting Tabular!<br />

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

Day 7: The Final Stop Among in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a<br />

Day 8: South Georgia Bound!<br />

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

A Brief History of the Zodiac<br />

Day 9: Somewhere Along the Scotia Ridge<br />

King of the Southern Winds<br />

Day 10: The Main Course<br />

Day 11: Walking Alongside the Kings<br />

Day 12: Surprise Excursions<br />

Day 13: Unbelievable Wildlife<br />

A Brief History of South Georgia<br />

Final Days: A Change of Plans<br />

By the Numbers<br />

A Final Note<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

6<br />

7<br />

8<br />

9<br />

10<br />

11<br />

13<br />

14<br />

15<br />

16<br />

18<br />

19<br />

21<br />

22<br />

24<br />

25<br />

27<br />

28<br />

29<br />

31<br />

33<br />

35<br />

37<br />

39<br />

40<br />

42<br />


The Voyage<br />

3<br />

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

our voyage to <strong>Antarctic</strong>a & South Georgia. You can find more information about our day to<br />

day activities, landings, and excursions on the following pages. We hope that this magazine<br />

serves as a reminder of all of the wonderful memories you made while experiencing the<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> and South Georgia with us.<br />

o<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

4<br />

Shelli Ogilvy<br />

Assistant Expedition<br />

Leader<br />

Samuel Gagnon<br />

Expedition Leader<br />

Christophe Gouraud<br />

Assistant Expedition<br />

Leader<br />

Ted Creek<br />

Zodiac Master<br />

David Reid<br />

Kayak Master<br />

Wan Meng Chieh<br />

Kayak Guide<br />

Kaylen<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Nadine Smith<br />

Shop Manager<br />

Rose Li<br />

Guide<br />

Barbara Post<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Shayne McGuire<br />

Photographer<br />

Amanda Dalsgaard<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Kevin Burke<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Ab Steenvoorden<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Lisa Pettenuzzo<br />

Equipment Manager<br />

Federico Campanelli<br />

Guide<br />

Christina Langer<br />

First Aid Responder<br />

Marta<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Sanna Kallio<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Rosalie Steffen<br />

Lecturer & Guide<br />

Chloe Shang<br />

Shop Assistent<br />

Steve Egan<br />

Guest Services<br />

Rashidah Lim<br />

Guide<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

5<br />

Day 1 - Southward Bound<br />

2 March 2020 - Embarkation Day<br />

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

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

magnificent views of Tierra del Fuego and the<br />

southernmost city in Argentina that marks the<br />

start of our Southern Ocean adventure. After a<br />

night in Ushuaia we were better rested from the<br />

long travel and mid-day we arrived at the pier<br />

eager to board the lovely ship Ocean Atlantic.<br />

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

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

weather. Members of the Albatros Expeditions<br />

Team welcomed us onboard and the excitement<br />

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

Everyone checked in with the hotel department<br />

and settled in our rooms before starting to<br />

explore the vessel which will be our home for the<br />

next ten days. Having time for tea as well as a<br />

small snack, it was soon time for the mandatory<br />

safety briefing followed by an important safety<br />

drill. The recognizable alarm went off throughout<br />

the ship and people gathered at their muster<br />

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

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

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

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

introduced the different members of the<br />

expedition team and their roles onboard. He<br />

proceeded then to outline the plans and details<br />

for the voyage, including an update regarding the<br />

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

for the infamous Drake Passage.<br />

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

where people got to know their new travel<br />

companions. Many went to bed early after several<br />

days of travel. However, a few went outside on<br />

the decks, where we were able to spot many<br />

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

larger albatrosses were sighted marking the start<br />

of a great wildlife journey in the southern<br />

hemisphere.<br />

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

ever experience true beauty in nature when we<br />

are brave enough to seek it out amongst the<br />

mountains and the seas in the world’s most<br />

remote places. It is with that sentiment in mind<br />

that we venture away from Ushuaia and south, to<br />

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

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

The Seven Sisters of Szczecin<br />

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

6<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 />

Her original name was Konstantin Chernenko<br />

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

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

(Русс) in 1989, and spent much of her life working<br />

in the Russian Far East.<br />

She was purchased by Albatros Expeditions and<br />

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

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

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

the “Seven Sisters”:<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

thrusters, each of 426 kW<br />

• Feature Siemens stabilisers for seaworthiness<br />

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

car deck for transport of tanks<br />

• Two of them had diving chambers<br />

• MV Mikhail Sholokov had hull demagnetising<br />

equipment so it could operate in minefields<br />

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

and Konstantin Simonov – now Ocean Endeavour<br />

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

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

Japan & S Korea<br />

1989 renamed to Russ<br />

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

Odessa-Haifa; 2002 back to<br />

Vladivostok transporting cars from<br />

Japan<br />

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

and renamed 2010 to Atlantic;<br />

renovations in Italy and in traffic<br />

Stockholm-Helsinki-St. Petersburg<br />

during summer and laid up (October<br />

2010) in St Petersburg<br />

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

Ocean Atlantic under Marshall<br />

Islands flag<br />

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

bight wind farm project<br />

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

Gdansk in Poland, where totally<br />

refitted<br />

2017 Chartered to Quark Expeditions<br />

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

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

months, the expedition drifted through icy<br />

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

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

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

an 800-mile crossing through the<br />

rough waters of the South Atlantic<br />

to South Georgia. McNish was<br />

one of the five men who<br />

accompanied Shackleton,<br />

making improvements to the<br />

boat to make the voyage<br />

possible.<br />

For the next fifteen years, McNish<br />

lived a difficult life in Wellington<br />

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

forgave Shackleton for shooting Mrs.<br />

Chippy.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

grave.<br />

Now Karori Cemetery near Wellington is a<br />

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

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

watching over him once again.<br />

7<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Day 2 - Rolling Our Way South<br />

3 March 2020 – Drake Passage South<br />

8<br />

A rocking and rolling sea greeted us for our first<br />

full day together onboard the Ocean Atlantic as<br />

she sailed us southwards toward the promise of a<br />

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

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

lightened, gave us a nutritious beginning for the<br />

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

adventurous start as many of us were still finding<br />

our sea legs as our ship lurched challengingly<br />

across the Drake Passage.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Our ornithologist Ab rolled out an entertaining<br />

introduction to the Seabirds of the Southern<br />

Ocean, surprisingly, given the conditions, to a full<br />

house, providing us a great taste of the<br />

encounters we could look forward to with these<br />

feathered friends who accompany us on our<br />

passage to <strong>Antarctic</strong>a. Interest was high and the<br />

theatre full of curious questions about our winged<br />

companions. Time ‘flew’ and before we knew it, it<br />

was time for a mandatory IAATO briefing. After<br />

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

introductory thoughts and perspectives about<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a and how to be a respectful tourist, we<br />

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

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

further activities.<br />

After lunch the expedition team hosted the<br />

biosecurity vacume party for all guests on board.<br />

This biosecurity has the team inspecting all outer<br />

gear for any traces of organic material. With this<br />

<strong>region</strong> of the world being as pristine and fragile as<br />

it is, it is vital that all visitors respect these<br />

conditions and take all precautionary measures to<br />

insure that they are not bringing any invasive<br />

specimens along to shore with them.<br />

Throughout the afternoon as the sea state<br />

continued, many of us wandered out on the aft<br />

deck to inspect the view of the wild seas, mingled<br />

with our naturalists and other travelers over tea,<br />

or photographed the many wondrous seabirds<br />

that chaperoned our sea journey.<br />

A sweet snack at tea time flowed into an invitation<br />

to join Shayne for her valuable insights and tips on<br />

photographing in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a. Soon enough, a day<br />

of various briefings, social occasions and<br />

educational presentations brought us to our<br />

official welcome to the journey by the Master of<br />

our vessel and our Captain Georgii as he toasted<br />

to an expected successful expedition ahead. This<br />

toast lead us into a delightful evening meal as we<br />

steamed south towards the horizon. Some<br />

gathered after dining for a screening of Frozen<br />

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

Late in the night, we would cross the <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

Convergence-the gateway into <strong>Antarctic</strong>a’s unique<br />

biological zone and would soon consider ourselves<br />

embraced by the great white continent.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

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

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

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

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

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

9<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

range barely crosses into the northern<br />

hemisphere.<br />

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

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

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

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

Alternatively, the smaller gentoo penguin weighs<br />

just 15 kg.<br />

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 />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Day 3 – On First Steps in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a!<br />

4 March 2020 – The South Shetland Islands, Barrientos & Cecilia<br />

10<br />

The early birds onboard woke up to a mesmerizing<br />

sunrise above the waves of the Drake Passage,<br />

while the rest of us were drawn out of our sleep<br />

by Sam’s morning announcement with good news:<br />

we have crossed the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Convergence during<br />

the night and were now officially in <strong>Antarctic</strong><br />

waters, bringing us one step closer to our dream<br />

of landing in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a.<br />

We felt more and more excited and ready to go!<br />

Christophe enhanced our excitement to meet and<br />

greet our first <strong>Antarctic</strong> locals by giving a highly<br />

interesting lecture about <strong>Antarctic</strong> penguins.<br />

Eventually, we geared up and embarked the<br />

zodiacs for the first time. We were able to<br />

participate in a split landing where we would have<br />

the chance to visit both islands, Cecilia and<br />

Barrientos. While onshore, the ship disappeared<br />

behind a thick layer of fog, creating a slightly<br />

mysterious atmosphere.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

What we didn’t know while we were trying to<br />

open our eyes, was that today was going to be our<br />

first excursion day off the ship. The Drake was<br />

calm and we made excellent progress overnight,<br />

opening the opportunity for a landing that<br />

afternoon. The ‘Drake lake’, even though it felt<br />

more like a ‘Drake shake’ to some, together with<br />

the right wave direction and an excellent captain<br />

allowed us to sail 835km in less than two days,<br />

making it possible to land on Barrientos and Cecilia<br />

Island in the South Shetland Archipelago.<br />

After a lovely breakfast, we participated in the<br />

mandatory IAATO and zodiac safety briefing held<br />

by Sam and Ted, followed by the distribution of<br />

our expedition gear (i.e. rubber boots). Ted’s<br />

words ‘the higher, the drier’ will stick with us for<br />

the rest of the voyage. We also understood that<br />

we would make Ted and the rest of the expedition<br />

team rather happy by entering the water<br />

accidentally and decided to take extra precaution<br />

in order to avoid being a source of entertainment<br />

for the expedition team.<br />

.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

When we stepped off the boat, thousands of<br />

chinstrap and gentoo penguins were waiting for us<br />

along the beach, both in the water and all over the<br />

island. Some of the zodiacs were welcomed by a<br />

curious leopard seal swimming around the<br />

shallow, crystal clear waters around the landing<br />

site.<br />

Barrientos and Cecilia Islands are ice free islands in<br />

the Aitcho island group, situated in the South<br />

Shetland Archipelago. Barrientos accommodates a<br />

large chinstrap penguin colony. These noisy,<br />

flightless birds warmed our hearts immediately,<br />

despite the cold temperatures. It was difficult to<br />

leave these beautiful landing sites but we were<br />

looking forward to and excited for what would<br />

come next in our journey.<br />

After a nice dinner, many of us joined for an<br />

evening talk by Steve addressing the question of<br />

‘why polar bears don’t eat seals’, while others<br />

enjoyed newborn friendships and interesting<br />

conversations at the bar. We went to bed with<br />

freshly made memories and knowing that today<br />

was only a taste of what the white continent had<br />

in store for us. It was a wonderful first day in<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a!<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Ice is Nice – Glacier Fun Facts<br />

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

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

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

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

11<br />

1<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glacier of Tajikistan, which measures a<br />

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

© Renato Granieri<br />

2<br />

© Renato Granieri<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 <strong>region</strong>s. 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 />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

The Beagle Channel<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Cecilia Island<br />

Barrientos Island<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Ushuaia<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Whales: Gentle Giants of the Southern Sea<br />

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

13<br />

@ P.M.Hunter<br />

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

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

and the uniqueness of each species. All whales fall<br />

into an order of marine mammals known as<br />

Cetaceans. The scientists who first discovered and<br />

named this order of marine mammals, used the<br />

word cetacean or ‘ceatacea’ from the Greek<br />

‘ketos,’ meaning monster.<br />

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

observed and recorded, people believed they<br />

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

much more about the gentle giants that roam our<br />

planet’s seas, thanks to a number scientific and<br />

technological advances, our knowledge of these<br />

creatures will only continue to grow.<br />

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

Odontocete and Mysticeti. Odontocete, meaning<br />

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

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

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

the whales that have baleen plates instead of<br />

teeth. It’s important to keep these differences in<br />

mind when trying to observe whales from a ship<br />

as this information can help identify cetaceans<br />

from far away.<br />

Interestingly enough, however, toothed whales<br />

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

whales have two. Plus, many whales can be<br />

identified from afar using the size and shape of<br />

their spout blow as well. For example, grey whales<br />

tend to have spouts shaped like hearts, while<br />

orcas have low bushy spouts.<br />

Another distinguishing characteristic that sets<br />

these 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<br />

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

allows the whale to ‘see’ their environment<br />

through noise. It is the same communication style<br />

used by bats in terrestrial ecosystems. Mysticetes<br />

on the other hand, communicate through a variety<br />

of low-frequency songs. These songs have been<br />

described by scientists as being beautiful,<br />

mysterious and sometimes gloomy, with the males<br />

being the most active singers of the Mysticeti clan.<br />

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

any encounter with one of these graceful marine<br />

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

experience for years to come.<br />

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

breath air to survive. They do so by breathing at<br />

the water’s surface through their blow holes.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Day 4 – Touchdown on the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Continent!<br />

5 March 2020 – Mikkelsen Harbor & Curtiss Bay<br />

14<br />

The cloud-filled, foggy, wet and drizzling sky was<br />

not an intriguing invitation to go outside.<br />

However, we geared up and bound down the<br />

stairs with anticipation and excitement for our<br />

next landing. The fog lifted to see the tops of the<br />

glaciers as we approached Mikkelsen Harbor, as<br />

the Ocean Atlantic winded its way through the<br />

shallow reefs. The water was calm and littered<br />

with gummy salps and krill as we waded to the<br />

beach for our first landing of the day.<br />

Amongst whale bones, waist high, strewn along<br />

the beach, we were invited for a beach meander<br />

around the tiny island. An old whaler’s Waterboat<br />

stripped down to the ribs, showing its robust<br />

durability despite its battered appearance, was<br />

our main attraction. Looking at all the ginormous<br />

whale bones and the little boat, is was hard to<br />

believe that this was the devise used to harvest<br />

these behemoth creatures.<br />

We walked along the beach to the Argentinian<br />

emergency hut, skirting the washed-up growlers<br />

and bergy bits caught high on the last retreating<br />

tide. A crabeater seal sleeping on the beach<br />

snoring away, occasionally stretching and yawning,<br />

opened one eye, only to close it again, without a<br />

concern in the world. Amazing he could sleep with<br />

so many people watching. After a cruise around<br />

the harbor and a slow meander around the island<br />

it was time to return to the warm ship for lunch.<br />

The afternoon program entailed an interesting<br />

lecture by Sanna while we waited our turn for a<br />

zodiac cruise. Out on the water, we cruised<br />

around the steep glaciated bay until a couple<br />

minke whales came for a visit. They curiously<br />

swam amongst the zodiacs; diving, blowing, and<br />

shallowly skimming the underside of our rubber<br />

pontoons. It was spectacular to see their outlines<br />

so close, their skin tones and colors and even their<br />

eyes. We could practically smell their breath as<br />

their blow holes spouted right next to our zodiacs.<br />

The glacial amphitheatre around us was calving in<br />

the light rain, providing competition for our<br />

attention until a large chunk released and we had<br />

to race for the safety of deeper, ice-free water to<br />

turn in and let the small tsunami wave pass under<br />

our boat. Between the calving and the whales, our<br />

heads and cameras swooned left and right like we<br />

were watching a tennis match.<br />

Next was a continental landing on a rocky outcrop<br />

attached to the mainland abutting a steep<br />

glaciated wall. We climbed out of the zodiacs for<br />

our modest summit on mainland <strong>Antarctic</strong>a. It was<br />

a small outcrop but mainland it was! And, as Sam<br />

advised, better to seize the opportunity in case<br />

rough inclement weather prevents our next<br />

occasion.<br />

And again, we raced back to the warm cozy ship,<br />

content with our day’s excitement and ready for<br />

another recap and delicious meal.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Photo @ShayneMcguire<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

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

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

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

note are:<br />

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

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

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

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

15<br />

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

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

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

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

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

Brown Station.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bay.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Day 5 – A True Expedition Day<br />

6 March 2020 – The <strong>Antarctic</strong> Sound<br />

After hearing Sam’s morning announcement, we<br />

began making our way to prepare for our morning<br />

visit to Esperanza Base in Hope Bay.<br />

Unfortunately, as the sun rose higher so did the<br />

wind speed and we were left looking at the red<br />

buildings constituting more of a village than an<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> base as the winds hit 60 knots. The sea<br />

began to boil with foam spray coming off the<br />

surface of the zodiacs. Reluctantly we moved on<br />

looking for more shelter and other potential<br />

excursion sites. Perhaps an afternoon site at<br />

Brown Bluff?<br />

As we approached Brown Bluff, everyone onboard<br />

was feeling hopeful for an afternoon excursion.<br />

However, looking across at the ice-covered<br />

landing site, it became apparent that the wind was<br />

chasing us south and would make any off-ship<br />

exploration, impossible. Instead we would go<br />

explore the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Sound by ship, a true<br />

expedition day! First stop was a huge tabular<br />

iceberg just to the south of Brown Bluff next to<br />

Jonassen island. We then slipped through the gap<br />

between the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Peninsula and the islands<br />

around Cape Green.<br />

Great blocks of ice too big to be measured, floated<br />

around us, occasionally calving off into the waters<br />

that we made our way through to investigate<br />

areas that no one on board has been to before.<br />

The excitement of exploration was palpable as we<br />

all watched the numerous humpback whales<br />

playing in the distance. We come to accept that<br />

although we did not make a landing, we had a<br />

unique opportunity to see a side of <strong>Antarctic</strong>a that<br />

only a handful of people get to. As we sailed past a<br />

piece of land called View Point, we could see the<br />

tiny Argentinian refuge huts sprinkled along the<br />

shore. It was a site that made us grateful for our<br />

warm, cosy ship.<br />

With so much ice to get past, the captain<br />

announced that we need to leave the area before<br />

dark. Although dreaming of our titanic moment on<br />

the bow, we understood that the icebergs are<br />

much better from a far. So, we made our way<br />

north again along the edge of the Weddell Sea,<br />

listening to David’s “We are icebergs” poem as we<br />

squeezed through the tabular ice, wondering what<br />

tomorrow would bring.<br />

16<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Photo @ShayneMcguire<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Gentoo Penguins<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> Cormorant<br />

Mikkelsen Harbor<br />

Leopard Seals<br />

Curtis Bay<br />

Leopard Seal<br />

Volume 2, Issue 14<br />

2 March -21 March 2020 Volume 2, Issue 15<br />

Photos @ShayneMcguire

When and How the Earth Got Cold<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

such an abrupt beginning?<br />

Water temperature (°C)<br />

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

October 2019<br />

8<br />

6<br />

4<br />

2<br />

0<br />

54 56 58 60 62 64<br />

Latitude (°S)<br />

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

below 4°C.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

temperate water.<br />

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

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

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

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

although the former supercontinent of Gondwana had<br />

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

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

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

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

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

mild 6°C.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Volume 2, Issue 15

Day 6 - Getting Tabular!<br />

7 March 2020 – Paulet Island and Danger Island<br />

19<br />

We peered out the gangway in anticipation of our first landing for the day and the fog greeted us at the<br />

door. Off in the distance, we could see a small island we knew to be called Paulet Island. It wasn’t long<br />

before the fog lifted, and we could see the top of the rusty red volcanic rock that made the modest summit<br />

up Paulet Island. We visited the remnants of the Larsen Stone Hut and an egg-shaped lake. The cruise<br />

around the island brought us close to the grave of one of the expedition members, Ole Kristian<br />

Wennersgaard, as well as many juvenile fur seals and penguin vagrants that were still lingering before<br />

heading elsewhere for the long, dark, cold winter ahead.<br />

Our afternoon sojourn was to Danger Island. Again, the fog threatened and then abated to give us<br />

unimpeded views of the island with its rugged coastline receiving relentless bashing from the ocean. As we<br />

cornered into our shallow landing, the penguin colony before us was overwhelming. It was a small landing<br />

caked in pink guano. Penguins were everywhere. A friendly bunch of birds they were, crossing our paths no<br />

matter how hard we tried to respect the 5 meter distance rule. It was penguin heaven for anybody with a<br />

soft heart for the short pudgy little waddlers. There was a leopard seal lurking in the shallow protected<br />

waters at the foreshore and we all hoped the penguins would stop swimming. One penguin didn’t, and some<br />

witnessed the gruesome disrobing as the seal thrashed it around in the water to strip it of its feathers. It was<br />

a true National Geographical moment witnessed live from all on the Zodiacs and the shore.<br />

On top of it all, today was also the day for the Polar Plunge. Thirty-seven, (crazy) people participated. We<br />

had our pictures taken by Shayne and our splashes graded by the guides floating out in the judge’s Zodiac.<br />

They raised their paddles in recognition of superior plunges. The air temperature was minus three degrees<br />

and the water temperature was zero degrees. It was a truly exhilarating way to end the day with an ice bath<br />

in the Southern Ocean. And the post-jump Vodka shot seemed to ramp up the party and excitement in the<br />

mud room as well.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Photo @ShayneMcguire<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Adelie Penguin<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> Fur Seal<br />

Paulet Island<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> Cormorant<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Photos @ShayneMcguire<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

potentially very disastrous event.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

burn itself out.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

until help can arrive.<br />

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

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

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

21<br />

Located on the Sanaviron Peninsula along Paradise<br />

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

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

open only during the summer season.<br />

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

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

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

additional building exclusively for scientific research.<br />

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

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

office and a library.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Day 7 - The Final Stop in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a<br />

8 March 2020 – A68, Elephant Island & Point Wild<br />

22<br />

We got up bright and early at 6:00am to have a look<br />

at one of the biggest tabular icebergs on the planet,<br />

called A68. Breaking off the Larsen ice shelf of the<br />

Weddell sea in 2017, the total length of A68 is 150<br />

kilometers, and we were lucky enough to ship cruise<br />

along it! It is the second largest free-floating object<br />

on the planet and an enormous spectacle for us to<br />

witness. Additionally, this morning we spotted a<br />

variety of wildlife at sea. There were numerous fur<br />

seals swimming along our vessel as well as an array of<br />

fin whales swimming and feeding about the iceberg<br />

front. Melting ice provides a fantastic feeding zone<br />

for sea animals, creating a biologically productive<br />

hotspot as nutrients locked into the frozen ice, are<br />

melted and released into the oceanic ecosystem.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

After this perfect start into our day, with whales,<br />

seals, and GIANT icebergs, we enjoyed croissants and<br />

coffee in the cafeteria and some of us went back to<br />

bed for a quick pre-breakfast nap. Lisa shared her<br />

knowledge on the <strong>Antarctic</strong> treaty, signed in 1959,<br />

with an interested audience that was asking many<br />

questions and keen to learn more about the political<br />

side of <strong>Antarctic</strong>a. Just before lunch, with<br />

anticipations high, the Ocean Atlantic reached Cape<br />

Valentine. This reach was the first sign that we had<br />

made it to Elephant Island! Elephant Island was made<br />

famous by Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew when<br />

they stepped on land at what is now known as Point<br />

Wild, after losing their ship the Endurance in the sea<br />

ice.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Our afternoon excursion entailed our first challenging<br />

gangway experience among big swell. After a slow<br />

but safe loading into the zodiacs, we were off to Point<br />

Wild where we enjoyed and incredible and scenic<br />

cruise. On a tiny clearing of bare rocks, next to a<br />

glacier front with steep cliffs and rugged seas, was<br />

where 22 members of Shackleton´s expedition lived<br />

for over 4 months before they were finally rescued by<br />

Luis Pardo. We got to see the bust of Luis Pardo,<br />

captain of the Chilean ship Yelcho that came to rescue<br />

Shackleton´s crew. The bust, as we saw it, was<br />

surrounded by an overwhelming number of chinstrap<br />

penguins, leopard seals and fur seals. To wrap up a<br />

day filled with Shackleton´s adventures, we got to<br />

watch the Endurance documentary after dinner,<br />

giving us a story and background to the journey these<br />

men endured.<br />

ice.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Point Wild<br />

Elephant Island<br />

Point Wild<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Photos @ShayneMcguire<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Day 8 - South Georgia Bound!<br />

9 March 2020 –At Sea<br />

We woke up to slightly bigger waves than expected.<br />

While some of us had problems getting up, others<br />

awakened rather early and decided to greet the<br />

waves on the outside decks. After breakfast we<br />

joined together in the Viking Theater for the<br />

mandatory IAATO briefing where we learned all of<br />

the rules regarding our landings to come. Following<br />

the briefing many of us stayed for Ab’s interesting<br />

lecture about birds of South Georgia. Even the least<br />

curious passengers onboard were hooked and<br />

intrigued by his bountiful knowledge and enthusiasm<br />

24<br />

After lunch we relaxed a bit until Amanda gave her<br />

beautiful lecture about <strong>Antarctic</strong> seals, enhanced by<br />

her Californian accent. Until dinner time we lingered<br />

around the ship, many of us visited the bridge to<br />

observe birds and some fin whales. It was exciting to<br />

witness the sea birds cruising between wave crests<br />

and troughs, a process known as dynamic soaring that<br />

allows them to gain momentum. We wondered what<br />

the birds would see while travelling around the<br />

Southern Ocean year after year. How many ships had<br />

they flown behind? How many big waves had they<br />

flown through? Have they witnessed the sea ice edge<br />

as it had extended and receded year after year? To<br />

be a seabird, and spend most of your life in the open<br />

ocean, made these fascinating creatures such a<br />

spectacle to watch.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Around brunch time, the coffee area was buzzing and<br />

the bistro became a lounge to chat as memories of<br />

the past days were filling the air as was the<br />

heightened excitement for the days to come. The<br />

anticipation to finally land on South Georgia and have<br />

an audience with the kings rose by the hour. With<br />

lunch interrupting our afternoon we realized that we<br />

would not go hungry on the ship and that the motto<br />

of the cruise was: ‘you fly in and you roll out’, which<br />

was softened by the fact that <strong>Antarctic</strong>a has different<br />

rules: ‘the fatter, the better’.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

After dinner Kaylan and Steve held a very exciting<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> Quiz in the theater which was much<br />

appreciated and a lot of fun. The passion of these two<br />

expedition team members made our evening very<br />

entertaining. After an exciting evening, the waves<br />

rocked us gently to sleep and we dreamt about<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a and what a wonderful day we had at sea!<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

exploration, there were many scientific contributions<br />

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

evolution and environment.<br />

25<br />

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

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

studies proliferated. Some highlights include:<br />

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

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

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

participating. Many new scientific stations were<br />

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

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

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

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

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

years ago in the Transantarctic Mountains;<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

continental drift to reconstruct the former<br />

supercontinent of Gondwana.<br />

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

changed from individual expeditions to national<br />

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

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

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

research ships collected an enormous amount of<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

formation of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey<br />

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

Research Expeditions) and other civilian operations<br />

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

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

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

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

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

soundings from Vostok Station were used to<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moon, Mars, and asteroids.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

banning CFCs.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Danger Island<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

A Brief History of the Zodiac<br />

Steve Traynor, Zodiac Master<br />

27<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

inflatable raft.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the Zodiac company).<br />

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

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

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

manufacturing capacity in France.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Day 9 - Somewhere Along the Scotia Ridge<br />

10 March 2020 – At Sea<br />

28<br />

A “sea day” is always a time for reflection. In addition,<br />

a time to catch up on diary writing, reading and<br />

perhaps some laundry and sleep. Conditions continue<br />

to be in our favour and with moderate swells, the<br />

crossing of the Scotia Sea continues to keep everyone<br />

engaged, informed via presentations and enjoying<br />

what can sometime be some of the roughest seas in<br />

the world.<br />

The Scotia Sea (and Scotia Ridge) were named after the<br />

ship that took the Scottish National <strong>Antarctic</strong>a<br />

Expedition south in 1902-04. Led by explorer and<br />

scientist William Speirs Bruce, the science-based<br />

expedition successfully built the first ever (and longest<br />

running) meteorological station in <strong>Antarctic</strong>a. The first<br />

post card from <strong>Antarctic</strong>a was posted here and some of<br />

the first film footage of <strong>Antarctic</strong> wildlife was captured<br />

by members of the expedition. The Orcadas Station is<br />

still operated by Argentina on Laurie Island in the South<br />

Orkney Islands.<br />

The visit to Elephant Island left an impression on<br />

almost everyone. Conditions around Point Wild can<br />

often be such that even just launching zodiac<br />

operations can be difficult. The historical significance of<br />

this isolated rocky outcrop cannot be understated. As<br />

we all left Point Wild, we began tracing the route taken<br />

by Shackleton and five of his crew in the small boat, the<br />

James Caird – named after a Scottish businessman who<br />

provided expedition funding to the expedition. Many<br />

guests on board are familiar with the Shackleton story<br />

and for them it was particularly memorable.<br />

After breakfast, Sanna gave an inspiring talk about the<br />

landscape of South Georgia. Specifically, Sanna talked<br />

and described the glaciers and high mountains of this,<br />

one of the most photogenic islands in the world.<br />

Underlining the uniqueness and special status afforded<br />

South Georgia was a further mandatory bio-security<br />

check for everyone. Everyone was getting in the mood<br />

now and excited for South Georgia.<br />

For photographers all over the world, both professional<br />

and otherwise, South Georgia offers some of the best<br />

scenic and wildlife photography opportunities on the<br />

planet. Shayne offered further insight into this with a<br />

presentation after lunch.<br />

Despite leaving <strong>Antarctic</strong>a, ice is never far from being<br />

part of the daily story on board the Ocean Atlantic.<br />

Barbara gave a presentation on sea ice ecosystems.<br />

Not only was mental stimulus being offered, but<br />

Rashidah gave a “stretching class” in the Bistro lounge<br />

to give those that wished it, a great physical work out.<br />

The idea of a challenging workout was the perfect segway<br />

to the evening talk given by Sanna about her ski<br />

trip to the South Pole.<br />

All is well on board as guests and (it must be stated)<br />

expedition staff too, looked ahead and began getting<br />

excited for the next few days to come.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

King of the Southern Winds<br />

Sandra Ophorst, Lecturer & Expedition Guide<br />

29<br />

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

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

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

number of wandering albatrosses is rapidly declining<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

other year. When young albatrosses become<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

wings.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

these lines can be up to 100km long.<br />

Unfortunately, these fishing lines often attract<br />

albatrosses get caught up on the hooks and drown as<br />

they are cast out at sea. Organisations such as Hookpod<br />

are trying to save the albatrosses from the dangers of<br />

long line fishing vessels by providing fishing boats with<br />

“Hookpods” that cover the barb and point of the hook<br />

during setting, reducing the likelihood of an albatross<br />

by-catch.<br />

© Sandra Petrowitz<br />

22 FEB- 2 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Gentoo Penguins<br />

• photos<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Snowy Sheathbill<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong> Cormorants<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Danger Island<br />


Day 10 - The Main Course<br />

11 March 2020 – South Georgia, Drygalski Fjord<br />

31<br />

The day started like any other sea day, the ship rolling<br />

gently back and forth as we ate our breakfast. We<br />

kicked off the day with a 9:00 am viewing of the<br />

Shackleton movie, when only halfway through the<br />

viewing, we heard the call: “land hoy!” -and at such<br />

an appropriate time. We looked out the window and<br />

laid eyes on the grand walls of South Georgia- jutting<br />

straight out of the ocean to one thousand-meter<br />

elevations, mountains dusted lightly in fresh morning<br />

snow, and caked in their gullies with ancient hanging<br />

glaciers. Everybody rushed to get a jacket on and take<br />

in the view from the outer decks. For the first time in<br />

what seemed like forever, we saw green again. The<br />

last week had been a beautiful amalgamation of<br />

greys, blues, slates, charcoals, whites, and blacks, in<br />

every shade imaginable. But now, we were seeing<br />

green! It was interesting to see the vegetation creep<br />

up the mountain sides for the first three to five<br />

hundred fee from the water line. It was also hard to<br />

imagine Shackleton and his men arriving at these<br />

vertical cliffs and having to scour the coast for a safe<br />

landing for the James Caird after such a battle to<br />

cross the Scotia Sea. Such a tremendous feat.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

We toured Drygalski Fiord from the ship and viewed<br />

the steep mountains from the railings. We sped from<br />

deck to deck to snap photos of every side of the steep<br />

careening glaciers. We saw an HMS warship with a<br />

tiny gun on the bow doing zodiac operations while<br />

patrolling the UK waters. It was hard to go in for<br />

lunch for fear of missing any of the view. But of<br />

course, nobody wants to miss a delicious meal either.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

The afternoon outing was a Zodiac cruise in Larsen<br />

Harbour. While half the group had the option to<br />

attend a presentation by Barbara on “The Amazing<br />

Life of the <strong>Antarctic</strong> Krill”, the other half waited in the<br />

mudroom for their turn to brave the lively sea. Again,<br />

we loaded up into the tossing zodiacs. The ship’s<br />

captain, maneuvering the Ocean Atlantic to keep us<br />

in the lee, had us move from starboard side to<br />

portside, in order to dodge the jostling sea at our<br />

gangway. A slightly better side it was, but still an<br />

exhilarating jump from the gangway to the zodiac.<br />

We cruised up the fiord and saw endless weddell, fur,<br />

and elephant seals. There were also an abundance of<br />

sea birds: Diving Petrels, Grey Headed Albatros, Black<br />

brow Albatros, Grey headed Albatros, Prions, S.<br />

Georgia Pin Tails, Giant Petrels, S. Georgia<br />

Cormorants, Sheathbills and 4 species of penguins.<br />

The icy snow and strong wind bore down on us, biting<br />

our faces as we sped along the slate black water. In<br />

the end, it was all worth it to have the wind in our<br />

ears for our smiles were on our faces.<br />

frozen<br />

After the last of the zodiacs were lifted, we rounded<br />

Cooper Sound in search of Macaroni Penguins. By<br />

now, it was snowing hard and the grey skies made it<br />

difficult to see more than a few hundred meters<br />

ahead. Sam’s briefing brought us right into dinner and<br />

an early bedtime. Tomorrow is going to be a big day.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

2 March -21 March 2020 Volume 2, Issue 15

Day 11 - Walking Alongside the Kings<br />

12 March 2020 – St Andrews & Gold Harbour<br />

33<br />

What a day! We woke up bright and early to Sam´s<br />

wakeup-call at 5:45am.. with the scent of a penguin<br />

guano drifting through the halls. It was a hit to senses<br />

and surprised us all but gave us a taste of the day we<br />

were about to enjoy. The reason behind this early<br />

start was a long day of activities ahead of us with our<br />

first landings in South Georgia.<br />

Soon after breakfast we started our morning<br />

excursions at St. Andrew´s Bay, where we got to see<br />

the mind-blowing extent of one of the largest king<br />

penguin colonies on the planet: containing a stunning<br />

estimate of 150,000 pairs breeding. After an<br />

adventurous landing on the beach with our<br />

expedition team fighting to keep the boats onshore as<br />

we disembarked the zodiacs, we got to explore<br />

independently the sheer abundance of wildlife all<br />

around us. Luckily, we all managed to defend<br />

ourselves from the sharp teeth of the fur seals and<br />

nobody got bitten (that we know of). To add to the<br />

adventurous landing experience, we were crossing a<br />

river on our way back to the zodiacs, some of us knee<br />

high in water and mud.<br />

During lunch, the ship relocated to our afternoon<br />

landing site, Gold Harbour where we were welcomed<br />

by the largest pinnipeds on earth, the Southern<br />

Elephant seals. They were laying in groups right next<br />

to our landing site and were snoring and snorting as<br />

we passed along side them. Again, we were able to<br />

experience yet another king penguin colony and<br />

many individuals wandering about. Living side-by-side<br />

with the considerably tall king penguins, we spotted<br />

quite a few Gentoo penguins. There were also many<br />

aggressive, fighting juvenile fur seals, with a few of<br />

them trying to pick up fights with us well.<br />

After a solid day of adventure, how does one possibly<br />

celebrate all the incredible wildlife encounters and<br />

great new memories? Karaoke of course! The night<br />

rolled on in an entertaining fashion as an impressive<br />

amount of people sang to the tunes of Bon Jovi and<br />

ABBA.<br />

With excitement in our minds and bad weather<br />

coming in on the horizon, we took ourselves to bed<br />

not knowing where we would be tomorrow but<br />

trusting in Sam’s promised “blue weather bubble of<br />

love” to keep us safe in the morning.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

St. Andrews Bay<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />


Day 12 - Surprise Excursions!<br />

13 March 2020 – Elsehul Bay & King Haakon<br />

As if we needed reminded, we are on an expedition,<br />

not a cruise. After an incredible South Georgia day<br />

spent at St. Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour, we all<br />

gathered in the Viking lounge – a happy but tired<br />

group of adventurers. Sam outlined the weather<br />

forecast and what the plan would be for the 13 th . We<br />

would not be visiting Grytviken or Stromness as was<br />

planned. A storm was moving into the South Georgia<br />

area and it was important for us to come up with an<br />

alternative plan – plan B was now happening, or was<br />

it plan C? Regardless, we would make the very most<br />

of whatever happened.<br />

‘<br />

The Ocean Atlantic headed North up the North East<br />

coast of the island towards Elsehul Bay. A zodiac<br />

cruise would be offered, a location very few of the<br />

staff had even been to. Despite the obvious swell, the<br />

disembarkation went ahead as planned. The<br />

challenge was not so much the movement of guests<br />

back and forth with the zodiacs but the loading and<br />

unloading of guests from the gangway. The AB’s do<br />

an amazing job for us, in all weather, holding ropes,<br />

securing the boats and assisting passengers and<br />

expedition team alike. The decision was made to<br />

offer kayaking and once shelter from the swell was<br />

found on the east side of the bay, a great paddle was<br />

experienced by the kayak group. This was a chance<br />

for everyone to get their first up-close view of<br />

Macaroni penguins. Resting in and around the rocks<br />

together with Gentoo and King penguins, the<br />

Macaroni’s also made interesting neighbours for the<br />

hundreds, if not thousands, of fur seals that could be<br />

found all along the shoreline of the bay.<br />

.<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Towards the end of the morning, the wind picked up<br />

and most guests were grateful to get back on board.<br />

Despite the weather, some guests commented on the<br />

way back to the ship that it had been their favourite<br />

zodiac cruise of the entire trip<br />

.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Over lunch the Ocean Atlantic re-positioned and<br />

made a turn to port around the North end of South<br />

Georgia. Passing between Bird Island and Trinity<br />

Island, the BAS research station on Bird Island could<br />

be seen clearly off the port side. It is remarkable to<br />

think that this is a year-round station. Arguably one of<br />

the most remote research facilities in the world.<br />

Safety and shelter was found in King Haakon Bay. As<br />

we approached the bay in the afternoon, the wind<br />

was gusting almost 50 knots. Upon reaching the<br />

entrance, the wind dropped considerably as we found<br />

shelter and conditions looked suitable for an<br />

afternoon landing. King Haakon Bay was made<br />

famous by Sir Ernest Shackleton, Tom Crean, Frank<br />

Worsley, Harry McNeish, John Vincent and Timothy<br />

McCarthy. It was at the mouth of the bay, that the<br />

party made landfall after making the hazardous<br />

journey from Elephant Island. The journey was<br />

completed in a small boat named the James Caird.<br />

An amazing afternoon was enjoyed by everyone.<br />

Landing was achieved and enjoyed at Pegotty Bluff,<br />

complimented by a zodiac cruise around the head of<br />

the bay.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

35<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

Gray Headed Albatros<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

South Georgia Pipit<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Macaroni Penguins<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

Southern Giant Petrel<br />

Macaroni Penguins<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

2 March -21 March 2020 Volume 2, Issue 15

Day 13 - Unbelievable Wildlife<br />

14 March 2020 – Salisbury Plain<br />

37<br />

Today we woke up for the last time in South<br />

Georgia waters. We opened our eyes, looked<br />

through the window and were once again<br />

reminded of what a magical place we were at. The<br />

last 4 days exploring South Georgia have been<br />

breathtaking and we knew that we had to make<br />

the most of our last day on this little slice of<br />

heaven. The weather was in our favor, blue skies<br />

and sunshine beaming down through the clouds.<br />

At the beginning of the voyage, all the guests were<br />

told that they had to organize the weather, while<br />

the crew, expedition team and captain would<br />

organize the rest. I think it would be agreed that<br />

all parties were doing a very good job at holding<br />

up their end of the deal.<br />

After breakfast we were invited for a zodiac cruise<br />

at Salisbury Plain. We started by cruising along the<br />

beach-front, getting excellent views on the large<br />

king penguin colony. There were also many young<br />

elephant seals sprinkled about, bathing in the sun<br />

while recovering from their long, deep foraging<br />

dives the night before. Once we reached the end<br />

of the beach, we were greeted by several playful<br />

fur seals that were inspecting our zodiacs while<br />

dancing through the kelp in the water below. The<br />

swell conditions allowed for an entrance into a<br />

small bay that we found at the end of the beach.<br />

Once within the bay, it felt as though we were live<br />

on BBC with David Attenborough. Hundreds of<br />

king penguins and fur seals played in the waters<br />

surrounding the zodiacs. It felt like they were<br />

looking at us rather than the other way around.<br />

Some of these joyful creatures dove underneath<br />

our black rubber boats while trying to enter them<br />

from the opposite side.<br />

We came across more elephant seals sleeping on<br />

the shore. As we drove past, a few would open<br />

their big, black, glossy eyes, and shut them again<br />

after deciding we were not interesting enough to<br />

lose precious sleep over. Little did they know,<br />

however, that we would be dreaming of them<br />

during the nights to come. When it was time to<br />

drive back to the Ocean Atlantic, we were sad to<br />

be finished with operations, but happy to have<br />

such a stunning ending to our day. We shall never<br />

forget the lovely sound of the king penguins as<br />

they were singing their goodbyes to us in the<br />

distance. We sailed off in great weather and<br />

enjoyed our first outside BBQ onboard. The swell<br />

made the ocean look like a cover of silk, while the<br />

white mountain peaks of South Georgia faded into<br />

the horizon behind us. Salisbury Plain, and the<br />

entirety of South Georgia Island... truly a place<br />

taken out of a fairytale.<br />

Our next stop was planned to be the Falkland<br />

Islands; however we were notified today Falkland<br />

Island officials that we would not be allowed to<br />

land due to the overall health condition of people<br />

onboard. Regrettably, Sam decided to cut our trip<br />

short and reroute for straight for Puerto Madryn<br />

instead. The news of the global coronavirus crisis<br />

unfolding, made us feel baffled. We knew that we<br />

were heading back to a world that would feel<br />

completely different to the one we just left weeks<br />

ago.<br />

The only constant is change; endings mean new<br />

beginnings. We all decided to stay positive<br />

together as a group and were looking forward to<br />

Sam’s wakeup call the next morning.<br />

Off to new horizons!<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15<br />


Salisbury Plain<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

2 March -21 March 2020 Volume 2, Issue 15

A Brief History South Georgia<br />

Sanna Kallio, Expedition Guide<br />

39<br />

• The first documented sighting of South Georgia was from a London merchant named Antoine de la Roche in<br />

April 1675. He was a passenger on 350-ton ship which was blown off course while returning to Europe from<br />

Peru. The ship stayed two weeks sheltering in Drygalski fjord from the big storm. The next sighting of South<br />

Georgia was reported in 1756 by French merchants on board the Spanish ship Leon- also blown off course by<br />

the storm while rounding the Cape Horn. Captain James Cook put South Georgia on the map 1775.. Cook and<br />

his crew made their first landing in Possession Bay. Cook took possession of the Island and named if after King<br />

George III.<br />

• To the utter amazement of the seals and penguins, the inhabitants', wrote George Forster. Cook and his crew<br />

were disappointed when they realized that South Georgia was not part of the great white continent of<br />

<strong>Antarctic</strong>a… giving Cape Disappointment it’s name.<br />

• When Cook’s discoveries of South Georgia was published in 1777, his descriptions of fur seals and elephant<br />

seals set off a stampede of British sealers, who began arriving in 1786 followed by Americans. Less than five<br />

years later more than 100 ships arrived to the southern oceans to harvest fur-seal skins and elephant-seal oil<br />

for market.<br />

• Filchner's German South Polar Expedition in 1911-1912 carried out extensive glaciological, geological and<br />

meteorological studies in South Georgia and mapped the outline of South Georgia. The map that was used by<br />

Shackleton and his two companions when they traversed the island in 1916. Shackleton's Endurance<br />

expedition in 1914-1915 spent a month on the island in 1914 waiting for the ice in the Weddell Sea to clear.<br />

For Shackleton South Georgia was special place and he died during his last expedition to South in 1922. He is<br />

buried in Grytviken in whalers cemetery. Frank Wild, his ‘right-hand man’, lays next to him.<br />

• In 1864, after Svend Foyn invented the explosive harpoon, the whaling industry came back into play. . In 1904<br />

a Norwegian, C. A. Larsen with 60 Norwegian men established the first whaling station on South Georgia at<br />

Grytviken. Huge interest in obtaining whaling licences followed. By 1912 whaling stations of Grytviken, Ocean<br />

Harbour, Leith Harbour, Husvik, Stromness Harbour and Prince Olav Harbour plus an anchorage for floating<br />

factory ships at Godthul had been established and South Georgia became known as the southern capital of<br />

whaling.<br />

• South Georgia was included as a part of the Falkland Island Dependencies in 1908. British Government<br />

funded extended series of research voyages to South Atlantic dependencies including South Georgia in<br />

1920s, just to keep British presence in the area. Duncan Carse and his team of surveyors during the 1951-<br />

1957 surveyed South Georgia, Putting it on the first detailed topographical map.<br />

• South Georgia hit the headlines worldwide in 1982 when Argentine forces invaded the island and were<br />

expelled 22 days later by the British Navy. Operation Paraquat was launched to regain the island. On the 25th<br />

of April, 1982, after both air and ground reconnaissance operations, a demonstration of British naval artillery<br />

resulted in the capture of the submarine Santa Fe and forced the Argentines to surrender. The British claim<br />

to sovereignty over the island is based on Cook's discovery and formal claim in 1775. The earliest indication of<br />

an Argentine claim was in 1927, although it was not formally stated until 1938. Throughout the 1940s and<br />

1950s several attempts were made by the British to solve the conflict with Argentina through the<br />

International Court of justice but all were rebuffed by the Argentines. Today, South Georgia is formally part<br />

of UK‘s overseas territory as is the government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.<br />

@ShayneMcguire<br />

2 March -21 March 2020 Volume 2, Issue 15

Final Days - A Change of Plans…<br />

From 15 March 2020 – At Sea<br />

40<br />

The only thing that would be guaranteed along these<br />

next few days was change. Our cancelation of the<br />

Falklands from our trip was only a small taste of what<br />

the rest of the globe was facing. We have been in the<br />

comfort and security of our ship, experiencing<br />

wildlife, embracing the elements while learning new<br />

things daily. This was all while the world around us<br />

was facing a global crisis, with situations worsening<br />

politically and socially by the hour.<br />

After almost a full day of sailing for Puerto Madryn,<br />

the health crisis had worsened and port authorities<br />

denied our request to pull into port. All over South<br />

America, ports and borders were shutting down, so it<br />

was now our top priority to find a port that would let<br />

us dock and get everyone home safely and swiftly.<br />

We decided to change course to our next most viable<br />

option, Ushuaia. As we re-routed and started sailing<br />

south, our expedition leader Sam, along with the<br />

Head of Chimu, Albatros, the Captain and the<br />

Australian Minister of Health, decided that we would<br />

need to step up our precautionary measures on<br />

board if we wanted any chance of getting off the<br />

ship.<br />

New measures were set in place to insure everyone’s<br />

health and safety onboard. We would be<br />

quarantined to our rooms, with excursion times to<br />

the outside decks two times per day. All public areas<br />

on board were closed and we had to keep a 3m<br />

distance from each other. But can you say room<br />

service?! The hotel team worked from sun up to sun<br />

down, delivering to everyone’s cabins the delicious<br />

restaurant quality meals that we have all grown<br />

accustomed to. And as if the meals weren’t enough,<br />

they had tea time delivery in the afternoon and<br />

water bottle fill ups throughout the entire day. It was<br />

admirable what these guys were doing for us, and all<br />

with smiles and bright energies that did not seem to<br />

dim.<br />

After another day in on ship quarantine, more news<br />

came out, and the Ocean Atlantic had to change<br />

course yet again; this time to Buenos Aires. After this<br />

third re-route, quarantine restrictions tightened and<br />

outside deck time was no longer permitted. The<br />

reason this decision was made was to hopefully deter<br />

the possibility of needing to be quarantined when we<br />

got into port.<br />

Believe it or not, the Ocean Atlantic was just one of a<br />

handful of ships dealing with the same issue of trying<br />

to find a port to dock at. Some ships were sentenced<br />

to a two-week quarantine onboard in port, others<br />

were denied entry and sent to sail back to their<br />

countries of origin like the Netherlands or South<br />

Africa. And other ships, like ours, were testing their<br />

luck in Argentina, but in the end it was Uruguay that<br />

took us in.<br />

It was a long journey with many hours stuck in<br />

confined quarters. Many ups and downs, much worry<br />

and concern, but also many laughs and new bonds<br />

formed. This global crisis is something that no one on<br />

earth has ever had to deal with before, yet it is<br />

something that is paying a tole on every country. This<br />

voyage did not end the way we had planned, but<br />

with safety as our number one priority, we hope<br />

everyone to have a safe journey out, and may your<br />

luggage follow you home.<br />

Together we have visited and incredible and vast<br />

wilderness. We have experienced magnificent<br />

mountain vistas, seen icebergs roll and crack, felt the<br />

power of the elements and seen how quickly they<br />

can change. We enjoyed wonderful food and<br />

comfortable surroundings aboard the Ocean Atlantic.<br />

We boarded zodiacs and cruised through icy bays at<br />

the end of the Earth. We shared unique moments,<br />

held engaging conversations, and laughed together<br />

over 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 <strong>Antarctic</strong> and all<br />

the beauty it holds.<br />

On behalf of Albatros Expeditions, our captain and<br />

crew, the expedition team, and everyone else who<br />

helped make this journey a resounding success, it has<br />

been a pleasure travelling with you. We hope that<br />

you will come back and experience these wonderful<br />

places with us once again!<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

By the Numbers…<br />

42<br />

Voyage Statistics:<br />

Southernmost Point: 64 o 03.88’ S 68 o 47.84’W<br />

Total Distance Travelled: 3,688 nautical miles<br />

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

Cecilia Island: 62 o 24’S 59 o 47’W<br />

Mikkelsen Harbor: 63 o 54’S 60 o 47’W<br />

Curtiss Bay: 64 o 2’ S 60 o 47’ W<br />

Paulet Island: 63 o 35’S 55 o 47’ W<br />

Danger Islands: 63 o 25’S 54 o 40’W<br />

Cape Valentine: 61 o 6’ S 54 o 52’ W<br />

Point Wild: 61 o 6’ S 54 o 39’ W<br />

Excursion Locations:<br />

Drygalski Fjord: 54 o 49’S 36 o 0’W<br />

Larsen Harbor: 58 o 30’S 36 o 0’W<br />

St. Andrews Bay: 54 o 26’S 36 o 11’W<br />

Gold Harbour: 54 o 37’ S 35 o 56’ W<br />

Elsehul Bay: 54 o 1’S 37 o 58’ W<br />

Peggotty Bluff: 54 o 9’S 37 o 17’W<br />

Salisbury Plain: 54 o 3’ S 37 o 21’ 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 />

610kg<br />

120 kg<br />

599 kg<br />

450 kg<br />

65 kg<br />

635 kg<br />

14400 pcs<br />

1034 ltr<br />

215 kg<br />

264 ltr<br />

1755 kg<br />

1947 kg<br />

480 btls<br />

1464 cans<br />

800 rolls<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

A Final Note…<br />

43<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 />

Christophe Gouraud<br />

Assistant Expedition Leader<br />

Thank you for experiencing the <strong>Antarctic</strong> with us at Albatros<br />

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

again in the future!<br />

Shelli Ogilvy<br />

Assistant Expedition Leader<br />

2 March -21 March 2020<br />

Volume 2, Issue 15

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