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Ushuaia-Antarctica-New Zealand

Part 2 of 4: Peter I Island and the Amundsen Sea

Map of trip log: Peter I Island and the Amundsen Sea

The Bel­lings­hau­sen Sea tur­ned out to be grey, but calm. The atmo­s­phe­re got more and more inten­se as Peter I Island came into distant view as a far shadow on the hori­zon, as only a few hund­red peop­le have set foot on this rug­ged, ice-cove­r­ed island sin­ce its dis­co­very. The wea­ther on the day of our visit tur­ned out to be bet­ter than it usual­ly is: we had lar­ge­ly good visi­bi­li­ty at sea level and bey­ond, occa­sio­nal­ly even allowing views of the rare­ly seen peaks, towe­ring a good 1600 m abo­ve the sur­roun­ding sea. This was the time to put the heli­co­p­ters into use for the first time, allowing us to set foot on the low ice cap near the nort­hern tip of the island.

In the end, Peter I Island loo­ks qui­te simi­lar to many other islands which are clo­ser to the coast of the Ant­arc­tic Pen­in­su­la. Frank­ly said, hard­ly anyo­ne would care about tho­se islands clo­se to the Pen­in­su­la which are simi­lar­ly inhos­pi­ta­ble as Peter I. So why would one go the­re and land on it? I guess the rea­son is the same as the one that made Hil­la­ry climb Ever­est: sim­ply becau­se it is the­re …

The fur­ther pas­sa­ge towards the Ross Sea took qui­te some extra miles, as we hap­pen­ed to have a hea­vy ice year, and we had to sail as far as the date line (180° lon­gi­tu­de) to cross the drift ice into the ice-free inner Ross Sea. This cost obvious­ly time, some­thing near 3 days. This time was, howe­ver, not com­ple­te­ly was­ted; next to the enjoya­ble pas­sa­ge of the ice seas its­elf and an altog­e­ther qui­te impres­si­ve set of lec­tures (lec­tu­re list is inclu­ded in the triplog), we went for a Zodiac crui­se into the ice and a heli­co­p­ter flight abo­ve it. The elu­si­ve Snow Petrel was around in sub­stan­ti­al num­bers, and most of us were even lucky enough to see a Ross Seal, which I guess is the seal spe­ci­es which is most dif­fi­cult to see on Earth. We saw it only once, and not all of us were lucky enough to be out on deck at the right time.

Peter I Island and the Aman­dsen Sea (gal­le­ry)

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

To the gal­le­ry:
The Ant­arc­tic Pen­in­su­la    Peter I Island and the Amund­sen Sea    The Ross Sea    Scott Island – Mac­qua­rie Island

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last modification: 2014-03-27 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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