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We have been keeping an eye on the ice chart for days with quite some excitiment. What appears like some colourful square centimetres on paper is hundreds of miles of drift ice in real life, covering much of the Ross Sea. Yellow is not vitamin-rich lemon, but half open water. Purple is not blueberry, but a very dense pack ice cover, tougher than a cherry stone and absolutely inedible.

In the arctic, the sea ice is shrinking rapidly. In the Antarctic, it is breaking records. There is a lot of ice in the Ross Sea this year.

The ice is the focus of everybodies attention here on Ortelius. We are all regularly examining the icechart, following the development, discussing what all the colours may mean for us. The degree of experience that goes into these discussions is variable, and so is the patience that Shackleton identified as a polar traveller’s most important quality. These ice charts are always rough and sometimes amazingly misleading, and even the satellites don’t know what will happen over the next days.


Talking about Shackleton. It was on 20th January 1914 that the Endurance got stuck in the ice of the Weddell Sea. That is 100 years ago today.

So we are eagerly awaiting the development over the next days. The first ice floes are drifting around the ship. A beautiful view in the sunshine.

last modification: 2015-01-22 · copyright: Rolf Stange