Donnerstag, 24. Februar 2011

the voyage with Polarstern to Jubany

Once again by ship, we left the continent to our next expedition to Jubany. For Hilke it would be the first trip to the Antarctic and we were both very excited, also because we were now travelling on board of the Polarstern. Facilities there are amazing, the food really good and since the weather actually started out with calm sea, low winds and a lot of sun due to high pressure systems that accompanied us to our next destination South Georgia, it felt more like being on some sort of a cruise rather than coping with the hardship of an Antarctic expedition. On board were a whole lot of different Biologists and it was really interesting and fun to watch other's scientists work as well as the very colorful life on board.

South Georgia is one major breeding region of Wandering Albatrosses, and it was fascinating to see those huge and elegant birds sailing around the ship and above the water with their wide spread wings just about to touch the water  surface. There also are colonies of King Penguins and Rockhoppers as well as Maccaroni Penguins. We saw several whales like Fin, Humpback and Minke Whales but also a lot of seals and birds. The next stop was somewhere in front of the South Orkneys that unfortunately were not spotable from the ship due to the heavy fog and low cloud cover, sometimes less than 100m above the sea. Low pressure systems finally had caught up with us and we went through some storm with winds of about 10 Beaufort. But for a ship as big and stable as Polarstern this had not that much influence on our well-being and in the whole we really had a long  but very nice journey and a warm welcome to our research area at Jubany.

Montag, 7. Februar 2011

Our second expedition to King George Island - 2011

Friday February 04, Hilke (IMCOAST diploma student) and I left for our next campaign to King George Island. This time our route was a stopover in Madrid and Santiago de Chile to Punta Arenas, the southern tip of Chile. This way we would be able to board the research vessel Polarstern which will drop us off in Jubany. Our departure from Germany was accompanied by fizzle rain and a wet cold that gets underneath every sheet of clothing; a weather very common to the Rhineland. The next stopover in Madrid we barely recognized besides long walks to one end of the airport (to get through security check) and back to the other end (to get back to the gate we left), and finally we arrived in Santiago 30 degree and sunny. We spent some one or two hours just enjoying the sun in the otherwise very unappealing surroundings of an international airport. But the sun made up for everything and we just stood enjoying and watching the planes' departure or landing.

The flight to the Southern end of Chile was very remarkable by the different shaping of landscape and the gradual changing, but dramatic landscape. We flew by salty deserts and smoking volcanoes, agriculture landscape mosaics, glacier tongues and fiords in heavy covers of clouds. I hope some of the pictures we took from out of the planes' window will show.

The arrival in Punta Arenas was pretty smooth and we had a nice sunny Sunday to get a little accustomed to the Southern summer, the long days and the different environment. It still feels very strange though...

Tomorrow we will fo on board the Polarstern and again everything will change on our way towards our destination, the Antarctic research station Jubany. We are already looking forward to meeting friends and colleagues but also to work some more on our stations and do some improvements.

Our second expedition to King George Island - 2011 - Departure from Bonn