Thursday, 23 December 2010
Monday, 20 December 2010
The trip from Ushuaia in South-America started Friday morning with a 3 hr 15 min flight to Buenos Aires in Argentina. Walking out of the door in Buenos Aires was a shock, it was 30 degrees warm and i was definately not used to this temperature. We waited almost one hour for our luggage before we got driven to the hotel, a very nice one, called the Melia, down-town Buenos Aires, close to the shopping streets and the old docks.
i walked around in the town for some time, before having a nice dinner with beef and red wine in the old docks, before walking back to the hotel to relax and doe some work.
Next morning i had a late breakfast and met up with some crew-members and had a good lunch on a street café, before our pick-up brought us to the international airport. The line here was enormously long and slow, and after some time we found out that the plane was delayed for six hours. After two hours we got our tickets changed and got a voucher for a free meal. This is deffinately a slow moving banana-country. we had some drinks and some wine to kill time and then entered the plane around midnight, ready to fase a fourteen hour flight to Frankfurt. the flight went ok, but there wasn´t much space so the sleep was so so...
Just before landing we were told that the airport was closed, due to heavy snow, so we had to circle around for one hour, before finally getting the landing permission. we really need to give these people some shovels and a course how to use them.
More lines, two hours to change the tickets again and then we had half an hour to run to the gate, far far away and go thought security again! Well we came to late to the gate just to know that there would be no plane before 2250 and that we had been running after an imaginary plane! Go figure the flow of information...
Well we got lucky and got a plane and space so we could fly home to Norway. Here the trains and buses had stopped driving at hrs 0000, so my parents had to drive up and pick me. I got my luggage and arrived home at hrs 0300, happy and lucky to have gotten back. Not the same for thousands of passengers in the rest of Europe...
Saturday, 18 December 2010
I will also have spent 40 hrs in a plane and travelled around 30 000 km by air.
i took approximately 10 000 pictures, saw 10 mill penguins and 40 whales and saw a lot of rocks, ice and very few people...
Friday, 17 December 2010
|The Drake passage|
the weather was fairly good the first day, but then we started to get some gale force wind and some waves up towards 10 meters. some people even started flying a bit around in the ship...
Luckily we had good speed and could enter the Beagle channel, outside Ushuai, yesterday around hrs 1500 and wait there until the pilot came aboard in the night and take us into port.
We woke up this morning to say good bye to our guests at hrs 0645 and after some breakfast we repeated the ceremony at hrs 0815. Some of the new guides arrived so we had a chance to say hi to them, before we got picked up by an agent at hrs 1015 and drove out to the airport. As most other airports down here, they are all caotic!
After some more chaos we got picked up and driven to our hotels. John had an other hotel than I. i spent some time walking in town and then i went down to the old harbour and got half a bottle of malbeck red wine, some salad and a steak and then i was a happy man;0)
now i am just at the hotel Malina, relaxing and getting mentaly ready for a horror flight to Frankfurt tomorrow, lasting 14 hrs and then i will see if they have cleared the runways of snow...
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
we had a very good landing at Half Moon island, because last time the rain was pouring down. There was a colony of some thousand gentoo penguins, some occational chinstrap penguins and some snowy sheathbills, spread around on the small island, surrounded by white and heavily glaciated mountains. the abandonned Argentine station, Teniente Camara lies close by, but a visit was not on the "menu".
This was my last landing in Antarctica and now only the journey over the Drake passage is left...
|Neumayer channel on a good day|
We sailed through the Neumayer channel to Port Lockroy, it was beautifull, no wind, the sea was like a mirror, reflecting the beauty of the mountains and the glaciers. on our way we met the cruise ship Prince Albert 2 and at anchour in Port Lockroy we met the brig Europa a large three masted sailing ship, bringing passengers around in the old way.
Getting into sight of Cuverville Island we saw a pack of whales swimming around. They were humpback whales, which can weigh up to 40 tons. They swam more or less undisturbed around and one even swam under our ship, just so we could get some great shots (i hope).
After the whale safari we landed at Cuverville, home to around 60 000 Gentoo penguins. After marking walking paths for our passengers i was posted on a small view point, overlooking the beautifull bay and the strait. winds and cloids changed during our stay, giving us a few snow showers and some great views.
We finished landing in around three hours and then sailed south through the Errera channel, a scenic channel of high mountains and glaciers, littered with small and large icebergs.
During the evening we sailed into the Lemaire channel. it was cold and windy and eventually we got low clouds and fog and more and more ice...
Monday, 13 December 2010
|Huge tabular ice sheets|
This is also the island Shackleton tried to reach in 1916, but instead the had to go to Elephant island...
the island is home to between 200-500 000 Adelie penguins and some commorant birds.
Friday, 10 December 2010
I was posted on a smaller mountain (105m) overlooking the whole caldera of Deception island in beautiful calm weather. eventually i got some snow showers and some wind.
|Old BAS hangar in whalers Bay|
As always when the low tide comes in Whalers Bay, the warm geothermal water comes out, so you can warm up your feet and fingers.
At hrs 1230 operations ended and we got back on the ship for some lunch and downloading of photographs before doing a new landing at Walker Bay, Livingston island at hrs 1500. this island is mostly covered in glaciers and is situated just North of Deception island.
|Snow and tephra field in Whalers Bay|
Thursday, 9 December 2010
The weather has been quite kind to us most of the time, nothing like the weather that the ship i talked about yesterday experienced! Good for me;0)
During the day the wind has picked up and so have the waves. Currently we have 20 m/sek and wave heigths between 5.5 and 8 meters, thus some passengers and staff are finding it hard to keep their lunch on the "inside".
I tried out some photography of birds in flights, with some tips from Dominic (our Aussi photographer) and John our Canadian bilogist and photographer. The results were not to bad nor to good either, but it is moving forward..
Well i am off to enjoy my dinner and hopefully it will stay where it is supposed to stay until i reach land...
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Now our course it set across the Drake Passage and Antarctica, where we will arrive Friday morning at Deception island...
The ship arrived at the naval base in Puerto Williams around 1630 and then we took most of the passengers for some hikes. Miguel, Steffen and I made it to the view-point at 289m altitude, with the same scenic view as last time we were here. Unfortunately only four or five of the passengers came up to view this.
On our way back we passed through donw-town of this city of 2626 individuals and saw the bow of the "Yelcho", the ship that eventually got shackletons men out of Elephant island in 1917!
Monday, 6 December 2010
the rest of the day we have been sailing south through the strait of Magellan, the Gabriel channel with its beautifull scenery - if it was not for low clouds and winds up to 39.4 m/sek which hit us in gusts, making the ship tilt over by several degrees. Njord or Njǫrðr was the god of winds and sea in the Norse mythology. We also entered the beautifull fjord of Sono Augustini with its many glaciers and jagged mountain peaks. At the moment we are sailing towards the Beagle channel, named after the ship HMS Beagle that took Charles Darwin around the world...
tonight there is fashion show, luckily my last, since i have to appear in Amundsens replica of a swim-suit, as if Amundsen brought one on his journeys to the cold and unforgiven ice worlds;0)
Sunday, 5 December 2010
All of us guides and some of the officers went on land and found a very small and cozy restaurant with a fire-place and a big warm oven. we had some "tea" and lamb meat, Guanako and Alpaka, all very good and delicious in a warm and cozy atmosphere:0)
this morning i was sent out on a mission, joining the city guided tour. we had 43 passengers and a local guide, telling us the stories of the city, about rich and poor, visited the museum and watched a police/military parade. After a good lunch at the ship i am no talking to Anna on facebook. She arrived early this morning in Iceland after a long journey through south and north-America and a 13 hr stay in New York. Now iceland is covered in a white blanket of snow and frost.
this evening we will go out for some hopefully nice dinner on a local restaurant, before heading over to the nearby island of Magdalena at hrs 0600 and 100 000 magellanic penguins...
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Yesterday we arrived in Ushuaia early in the morning. Most of our guests left the ship before hrs 0830 and Anna stayed on until hrs 1000 helping us with getting blue jackets up for the next trip. She then left with Francis and Tristan and some other members of the crew. Anna is flying to Buenos Aires, then waiting for some hours before flying 10 hrs to New York, where she will have 13 hours to do some shopping. She is probably already on it, since the plane was supposed to land in NY at hrs 0605!
Thursday, 2 December 2010
We are now at our day number two in the Drake Passage, between Antarctica and South America. Early tomorrow morning we will be in Ushuaia. The weather has been quite different, with no wind to quite some wind, but the most annoying was the the swells and waves, giving some of us a hard time. At hrs 0235 we woke up by everything not strapped down, came down on the floor... what an adventure;0)
Yesterday we had the captains dinner and a charity auction, so we had to dress up nicely and sell the "masters chart" and the "flag" as high as possible, but people were not really in the charity mood so only the "masters chart" was sold, for 600$!
I had a lecture on Shackleton yesterday and have one more today.
Anna and four of our guides are flying home tomorrow and we get four new new guides tomorrow.
This will be the last trip for me to Antarctica, for now at least. The trip will be more or less the same as this one, and i will not have any visitors this time, so i will have to manage on my own...
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Yesterday we landed at Turret Point in the South Shetland island. the landing was difficult as we tried out several places. some of which were quite rocky and had a lot of swells. after landing in one place we spent almost one hr walking around before chosing our first landing site as the primary one, for our passengers. the site was swarming with elephant seal, lying around burping and making sounds. these animals are huge, up to 2-3 tons.
i spent the day at the landing site, welcoming passengeres and sending them of to the ship again. the waves and swell picked up during the day and it got more and more difficult to load people into the boats. in the end we had a good landing, but a very cold one to our feet at least.
before sailing back to have lunch we checked out possible landing zones on the nearby Penguin island, some of us were "lucky" enough to spend 10 min there. soaking wet we came back to the ship and had lunch. the weather deterioated so a landing in the afternoon was aborted, instead we set course for the Drake passage.
the Drake passage has very little wind now but a lot of swell, which at least made both Anna and me sea-sick, forcing us to lie down and sleep a lot. But duty call so i had a lecture yesterday and already had one today and one more to come tomorrow...
Monday, 29 November 2010
Today we sailed all day until hrs 1700, when we arrived in Brown Bluff, Antarctic Sound on the northern part of the peninsula. on our way the weather cleared up so we could see land in the distance and eventually many tabular ice-sheets, which most are larger than skyscrapers...
We passed the Argentine base at Esperanza, meaning hope in spanish. this base is fully manned year round and they even have children there, which is quite unusual.
We landed at Brown bluff, which is a small outcrop of volcanic rocks, a moberg in icelandic or a tabular mountain, created by a sub-glacial eruption (volcano under a glacier) some time ago...
here there are 20 000 adelie penguins and some gentoo penguins. the landing went well, but it was -0.3 degrees in the water, a cold wind and around 0 in air temperature.
Now we are sailing across the strait and will make two landings tomorrow on the South Shetland islands and the we cross the Drake passage again...
Sunday, 28 November 2010
This morning i has been snowing, low fog and clouds but almost now wind. but it hasn´t been much of a scenery for our passengers to see today. we had a good landing at Peterman Island, where amazingly an other 100 000 Gentoo penguins and a few others roam around...
Now we are in the Lemaire channel north-bound to the old British base at Port Lockroy for some more Gentoo penguins and some souvenir shopping...
The landing at Port Lockroy went well, the weather was calm and the sun was almost there. we were greeted by thousands of Gentoo-penguins and some of the girls at the station. This station is only manned for the four summer months and is run by the British Antarctic Heritage foundation, that is restoring old bases and huts from the British claims in Antarctica.
I spent my time at tha landing zone, helping more or less disabled cruise guest on and off our small boats.
Now we are sailing to the northern part of the peninsula, to Brown Bluff in the Antarctic Sound, where i hope we will have some good weather???
The landing will be in the evening, so most of the day will be sailing and i will take care of the reception for a few hours
Yeasterday we sailed to Cuverville island, which is a Gentoo penguin colony of around 100 000 small individuals. these fellows are not afraid of anything and are quite curious and will come close to you!
heavy drift ice started to tie up our operations in the end, but we all managed to get away from land. a big Leopard seal even visited us. i was trying to take pictures of jumping penguins in the water, but that is easier said than done...
After lunch we got stopped with heavy ice from going to a deserted Argentine base at Admiralte Brown and instead we went to Neko Harbour, (were we got stuck for 7 hrs last trip by ice), but this time there was almost no ice. we visited the Gentoo penguins here also around 100 000, from 2015 to 2230. then 8 members of our staff, Anna included slept in tents on land to try out a new project, while i stayed on the ship (Anna got my spot)
on the 19th of November my father flew home and i met up with Anna which was joining me for the second trip. As a matter of fact i met her in a penguin store i passed on my way around in Ushuaia, which in fact is a beautifull situated tourist town.
we left Ushuaia the same evening and entered the Beagle Channel and later on we entered the Strait of Magellan. the fjords in the southern part of Chile look a lot like the fjords in Norway.
Arriving in Punta Arenas late in the evening the 20th we had to wait more than 2 horus for more than 10 customs officials to stamp our passports and go threw papers...go figure;0)
the next day i had to follow some of the passengers on a excursion, a hike, but these people try to cheat you all the time. it all started out really bad but ended up quite well. Anna was walking around in town in the mean-time. Anna and I met up at lunch whereafter we walked around in the city, that has the most craziest wirering of electricity i have ever seen, strangely enough the town hasn´t burned down...
we found Shackleton bar and stayed there a while, enjoying the atmosphere of this old place where Shackleton came asking for help when his men were stuck on Elephant island.
in the evening we tried to get something to eat and drink in town, but again the locals didn´t care about us so after 1 1/2 hrs we left the place without getting anything to eat. shame on them.
the ship left port in the early hrs of dawn and we had a landing at hrs 0530 at Magdalena Island, where 100 000 Magelanic penguins are spread all over...
Then we continued to Puerto Williams, an old chilean naval base on opposite to Ushuaia. here we had a good hike and spent some time in the jacuzzi at deck 7!
From Puerto Williams we went towards Cape Horn, but aborted a landing as we had between 25 and 32 m/sek winds and 7 m waves. so the course was turned towards Antarctica and here we are.
the first day we had two landing at Deception Island, an old caldera (volcanic crater) that is still active, meaning the sea-floor is growing by 30 cm pr year and warm water flows around some places. the first landing was at Whalers Bay, an old whaling station and British base. some groups where walking over the mountain to a penguin colony, but got hammered by around 30 m/sek winds and snow and had some difficulties getting back. around half of the passengeres didn´t even get on shore. After lunch we went to Telefon Bay in the northern part of the Caldera where everyone got on land and around 14 people went for a swim. the water temp was -1 and we had a strong breeze...