Funding Agencies

The voyage to King George Island

Posted by Ulrike Falk (ZFL), Germany & Matthias Braun (University of Alaska), USA on 6 November 2010

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On October 22nd finally our voyage with the Russian ship Polar Pioneer from Mar del Plata to King George Island began. It would be longer than we thought before.

Accompanied by Dolphins we made an emergency stop at the Falkland Islands since one of the crew members for the Polish station got sick, unfortunately the Chef de Cuisine. On the passage, there was not very much else to do but eat and sleep and watching a stunning amount of seabirds, at least the first days while we tried to adjust to the very impressive movements of the ship. It took a few days before the body adjusted and reading or working on the computer was even thinkable without getting weird symptoms in the belly. We saw different kinds of Albatross (Black Browed, Grey Headed, Yellow Nosed), Giant and Cape Petrels, Brown Falkland Skuas, Rock Cormorants.

    

The Drake passage went pretty smoothly but low pressure systems finally caught up with us on arrival in winter of King George Island, where we also encountered our first Icebergs and Chinstrapped Penguins. At Lions Ramp we picked up some Polish scientists and had a great view on first Penguin colonies, Adelie and Gentoo penguins. Winds picked up to over 20 meters per second and the waves got so rough that the unloading of provision and fuel for the Polish Arctowski station in Admirality bay had to be given up. For the next three days we would be circling around the bay, waiting for the weather to change. Also here wonderful view on the wild life with Antarctic Cormorants, Snow Petrel, Large Skuas and Antarctic Terns and Leopard Seals, Southern Fulmar and Sea Lions. Monday the 1st, we could finally visit the station to view some relicts of whales and other, as well as having finally a closer look at the nearby Penguin Colonies and a Wedell seals relaxing at the beach.

    


On November 2nd, we finally arrived at our destination Jubany Station, where the unloading of our cargo turned out to be some kind of adventure. The winds did not calm until after noon to still as much as 10 meters per second, and at 1400 we finally began loading our equipment onto the Zodiacs, which then were received by the Argentine colleages at the beach of Jubany. In the course of the work winds started to pick up again. Since the Russian boat had a tight schedule, it was not clear until at very last, if and how the disembarkment of the Skidoos, Matthias and my equipment for the work on the Potter Glacier, could be pursuit without risking an overturn of the Zodiak with the two Russian seamen. Fortunately, these guys were experts in work under difficult conditions with Bravour and we were all happy about the smooth work.

         

 

Now, after a great tour to the station by the Chief of Base and after having checked the equipment and preparations for a possible soon first excursion to Potter Glacier, we find us again waiting for the weather to change. The winds are shaking our domicile, and being outside means to lean steeply against the wind in order not to get blown away. Still we hope for a somewhat calm day as we did before...

 


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Comments

  • well..I loved the story...and I would have loved to be there!! I see the activities are going well...very happy to hear that! Enjoy the lovely Cove and the lovely atmosphere over there...it would have been nice to work shoulder to shoulder, but maybe for a next time!! ciao chicos, saludos a los dos glaciers climbers!!

    Posted by Pasotti Francesca, 25/11/2010 11:24am (9 years ago)

  • Good to hear that you arrived safely. We are looking forward to hearing from you about the field work! All the best!

    Posted by Valeria, 25/11/2010 11:10am (9 years ago)

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