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Last season at Arctowski Station

Posted by Aga Wasiłowska & Marek Rzepecki (Polish Academy of Science, Antarctic Department), Poland on 11 February 2011

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When we are reading the blog from Jubany, we feel a little sad that we could not be in Antarctica this year.

We are just sitting at the desks in our institutes (Department of Antarctic Biology and Centre for Ecological Research, Polish Academy of Sciences) in Poland and from time to time looking longingly out the windows remembering the last season 2009/10 at Arctowski Station, where we spent six months. We arrived at the station in the beginning of November, after seven days travel from Mar del Plata to King George Island on the Russian ship Polar Pioneer. It was our third expedition to Arctowski. Our task was to collect  water samples for pigments, microscopic and chemical analysis at the stations located along the transect from the shore to the central part of Admiralty Bay and in small coves in the vicinity of glaciers. Initially, this goal seemed to be unreachable. In Antarctica, cold, snowy winter was still stable. A large part of the bay was covered by ice, and our boat was sank in the snow to the roof. At first we started to remove the snow. It soon became clear that it did not make much sense, because after another snow we had to start this work from the beginning.

Arctowski Station - last summer

Shovelling snow...

Our small boal Sloan Morski - still on land


Snow melted in the late December. Then the ice sheet, which was still greater than 1 m thick, started to break up and drift from the Bay toward open sea. Finally, we were able to sail on our boat across the Bay.

Fortunately, in the following months, the weather was so favorable that we managed to take more than 500 samples. We spent many, long hours  in our lab on Arctowski Station analyzing the concentration of  algal pigments in the samples by liquid chromatography (HPLC), but we were very happy that, despite initial difficulties, we could regarded this field season as successful.

Water falls from melting glaciers

Aga and Marek on Sloan Morski

Our team: Jarek, Aga, Marek and Kasia


This year we have to stay in Poland to develop the results, but we do not conceal that we would prefer to be on King George Island. We hope go there next season. Best greetings to all working at Jubany.

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