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Daily Archives: 21. January 2015 − News & Stories


Emperor

Of cour­se you are not com­ing without hopes and wis­hes on a big trip like this. And of cour­se it will be safe to say that a num­ber of the­se wis­hes are shared by all of us here. Anyo­ne here who does not want to see an Emperor pen­gu­in? Unli­kely. Clear­ly, both chan­ces and exci­te­ments were rising as soon as we had the first bits of drift ice in view. Bino­cu­lars are cur­r­ent­ly in fre­quent use here.

Yes­ter­day evening then the big moment – the first of several! – some in the bar, others in the cine­ma, but some tireless obser­vers on the bridge. Only moments later, all of us out on the open deck, in the cold wind, to admi­re the Emperor in his very realm. A lonely, juve­ni­le Emperor, the yel­low on the sides of his neck not yet real­ly yel­low, rather whitish-greyish, stan­ding the­re on his litt­le ice floe.

c7_Amundsen-Sea_21Jan15_29

Always gre­at to see how such a pre­cious moment lifts the spi­rits immedia­te­ly.

Ice

After a lot of con­si­de­ra­ti­on, the (preli­mi­na­ry) decisi­on has been made to set a sou­thwes­ter­ly cour­se, direct­ly into the Ross Sea. The ice seems to have ope­ned up along that rou­te in the last cou­p­le of days, so it is worth a try. Nobo­dy can know what will actual­ly hap­pen, it is real­ly qui­te exci­ting now, tru­ly expe­di­ti­on style. The Ross Sea is a chal­len­ge this year. It will be very inte­res­ting to hear what the Spi­rit of End­erby will encoun­ter, they are now sai­ling south in the wes­tern Ross Sea, along the tra­di­tio­nal rou­te near the 180th degree of lon­gi­tu­de. Ide­al­ly, that could beco­me our exit rou­te. Into the ice is one thing. Out again ano­t­her. We would qui­te like to get out of it again, not just even­tual­ly, but at a given time. We are not the Fram (no, I am not thin­king of Hur­tig­ru­ten now). A shame, actual­ly … but we have all boo­ked our flights back home from New Zea­land.

May­be we are get­ting in the area of the Bay of Wha­les in some days. This is whe­re Amund­sen went along­side the shelf ice edge more than 100 years ago, built his hut Fram­heim and went strai­ght to the south pole after the win­ter, a few weeks befo­re Scott went the­re as well. Fram­heim was on the schelf ice and does of cour­se not exist any­mo­re, but how gre­at would it be to get the­re any­way? May­be. We shall see, we shall see … (as Amund­sen said).

c6_Amundsen-Sea_21Jan15_14

Many small, open drift ice fiel­ds today, smal­ler tabu­lar ice­bergs every here and the­re, with a lot of open water. Very good, we are making good pro­gress now. And dozens of Snow petrels – ani­mals that are well sym­bo­li­zing Ant­arc­ti­ca, as the Emperor pen­gu­in. Less famous, but some bird­wat­chers would give a lot to see just one Snow petrel. And we have had dozens around the ship today, several times.

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