We have got a special mission at Cape Adare. We have got a grandgrandson of Nikolaj Hanson on board. Hanson was the zoologist of Borchgrevink’s expedition, which was the very first one ever to winter on antarctic ground, in 1899-1900. Hanson died in the late winter and was buried high up on the mountain ridge of Cape Adare. This was actually quite a task in itself:
The coffin had to be carried several hundred metres up a rather steep, icy mountain slope, and then a grave had to be blasted into the rock with dynamite. It is said that Hanson’s last wish at the end of his long disease was to see the penguins again when they would return to Cape Adare. His comrades captured the first pinguin that came back and brought it to Hanson’s bed. Soon thereafter Hanson died.
Never has a family member been to Hanson’s lonely grave. It was our mission to change this, a mission that had been prepared by a permitting process of several months. In the end it is just a matter of a helicopter landing on a rocky mountain ridge devoid of life. The mission is happily completed in the earliest morning hours.
Gallery – Cap Adare – 22. Februar 2017
Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.
The second mission, to get everybody to Borchgrevink’s famous wintering hut, the oldest ever human-made construction on this continent, turns out to be more difficult. Cape Adare is notorious for wind and ice. The wind does not create any troubles today, but the ice are an obstacle that we can not overcame.
It is just a strip less than 50 m wide, blocking the beach of like the wall of a fortress, but the growlers are hundreds of tons heavy and they are moved around by swell and current. A very dangerous combination.
This does not keep us from getting as close as we can to the coast, the land and the hut with the Zodiacs. And that is pretty close and impressive. Ice, Adelie penguins, Crabeater seals. The sheer display of power that is created in the interplay between heavy ice and moving water is maybe the most impressive part of the whole setting for me.