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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesAntarctic blog → Bel­lings­hau­sen Sea

Bel­lings­hau­sen Sea

15th-17th Janu­ary 2015 – From here on we real­ly start our ant­ar­c­tic Odys­seey, the see­mingly end­less distances around a good part of the con­ti­nent. Many hundred nau­ti­cal miles over open sea. The coast remains far away and out of sight, and so does the pack ice. This is how it should be. If we start making end­less cur­ves and bends alre­a­dy now, then we will never get any­whe­re. Time our most pre­cious resour­ce now.

And it is pas­sing quick­ly. Some­ti­mes with a bree­ze, some­ti­mes wit­hout, but it is gene­ral­ly with quite calm seas the­se first days across the Bel­lings­hau­sen Sea are going by. When the wind is blo­wing, many like to be out on the open deck, becau­se then many of the beau­tiful Cape Pet­rels are gli­ding around the ship, in see­mingly end­less num­bers. It is pro­ba­b­ly a limi­t­ed num­ber of indi­vi­du­als that are always coming back in cir­cles, visi­ting the ship every cou­ple of minu­tes, but it must still be some hundreds of them. Some­ti­mes, they will sit on the water for a moment, dip their head into the waves and then take off again with a few run­ning steps on the water, the maneou­vre that has given the pet­rels their com­mon name, after St. Peter from the bible, who also tried to walk over water, slight­ly less suc­cessful than his boss. In con­trast to St. Peter, the pet­rels don’t sink into the water, but are soon fly­ing up in the ski­es again, with some more krill in the s tomach. I have never seen krill in the sto­mach from a moving ship. If I was depen­ding on fin­ding krill, I would long have star­ved to death. But what looks like a desert of water to us, is a rich table for the­se sea­birds.


The super-remo­te island of Peter I remains hid­den behind clouds and waves. We spend a few hours near this now almost invi­si­ble island. Once, we put a zodiac on the water to find out what we actual­ly alre­a­dy know: the sea is too rough for us to board the zodiacs. Every few seconds the plat­form of the gang­way is eit­her han­gin high abo­ve the water or dis­ap­pears insi­de a wave. From the boat you can see what it is real­ly like, it looks less dra­ma­tic from deck. This does sim­ply not work, not today, not in the­se con­di­ti­ons. So we wave good­bye to this lone­so­me, deso­la­te island and con­ti­nue our jour­ney west­wards. We can’t do any­thing against wind and ice, human desi­re is not­hing against the forces of natu­re. This can occa­sio­nal­ly be dis­ap­poin­ting and dif­fi­cult to accept.

last modification: 2015-01-19 · copyright: Rolf Stange