The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Tag: antarctica

Watch a Sailboat’s Incredible Voyage to Antarctica, from Above

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Screenshot from “Antarctica” by 

If you’re planning–or have ever considered–a trip to Antarctica from South America by sail, the infamously feared and revered stretch across Drake Passage from Cape Horn and back is probably the first thing that comes to mind. What many of us don’t consider, and what is shown in the montage below, are the miles upon nautical miles of stunningly still, breezeless serenity created by an amphitheater of icebergs, glaciers and mountains–through much of which you may have to drop sail and motor-cruise.

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Screenshot from “Antarctica” by 

I don’t know if it’s the musical accompaniment, the tranquility of the setting or the gracefulness of the whales, but there seems to be something utterly relaxing about the voyage (at least, what’s shown)–a sentiment I wouldn’t expect to have when surrounded by hull-crushing icebergs and marrow-chilling seas, even with the temperamental winds of the roaring 40s (the latitudes between 40 and 50 degrees South) aside.

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Pioneering Research at Antarctica’s Totten Glacier Reveals the Melting of the South Pole from Below

 

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Totten Glacier (Photo: Esmee van Wijk)

The Totten Glacier is the largest part of the Eastern Antarctic ice sheet and historically thought to be less vulnerable to climate change and more stable than other areas of the South Pole. Over the last 15 years though, satellite images have shown that the glacier was thinning, but the reason was unclear. The uncertainty was due to the inaccessibility of the glacier for sampling. According to Dr Steve Rintoul, from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, up to now, Totten has been one of the world’s largest and least understood glacial systems. No oceanographic measurements had been made within 50 kilometers of its ice.

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 This Is What a Capsized Iceberg Looks Like

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Photographer Alex Cornell visited Antarctica in December by way of Drake’s Passage aboard a National Geographic research vessel, probably intending to photograph gargantuan snow-capped mountains, sea lions and penguins, but he probably didn’t expect to capture an upside-down iceberg. (Photo: Alex Cornell)

This specimen is relatively small, while larger icebergs — of 6, 7 or 8 miles long — can cause a tsunami simply by turning upside-down, easily capsizing a nearby vessel. According to research published in 2011 by Prof Justin Burton et al. of the University of Chicago, a large enough iceberg has the potential to release as much energy as an atomic bomb.

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An Interview With Danielle Woodward, Currently the US Antarctic Program’s Youngest Diver

At 23, Danielle Woodward is the youngest science diver at the US Antarctic Program this season. She’s aiding Dr. Samuel Bowers, Antarctic research veteran, by collecting samples of forams which could teach us how to create the types of biological “superglue” that sea life uses to create shells. Earlier this month, she took her first dip under the ice.

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Penguins Ride Out High Surf on Icebergs in the Sandwich Islands

Chinstrap penguins of the South Sandwich Islands escape high surf on a large blue-ice iceberg near Candlemas Island. Chinstrap penguins, also known as “Stonecracker Penguins” for their harsh calls, are some of the most abundant creatures of the Antarctic, with a count of about 7.5 million breeding pairs.

The penguins–safe for now–will eventually have to return to the water for small krill and fish, where hungry leopard seals also await a meal.

*natgeo via seamonsterytheanimalfiles*

Maps and Charts: Nimrod Glacier, Antarctica

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Map of Antarctica by the United States Antarctic Resource Center of the US Geological Society. 1964

source file: (3486×3239)

*see also: Pl. LXVI. MAP OF THE GLACIER SYSTEM, MOUNT RAINIER, WASHINGTON

— more on mapsandcharts

Wish You Were Here: Deception Island

Not all romantic islands are tropical.

Deception Island is an active volcano in the South Shetland off the coast of Antarctica. Its unique shape makes it an extremely safe harbor for vessels, and has long served as refuge for seal and whale expeditions. The island was abandoned during the Great Depression due to falling prices of whale oil, but was once again re-occupied by scientific adventurers in the 1940s. All that changed with two massive volcanic eruptions, in 1967 and 1969, when all business was shut down. On a visit to the island today, you can explore the ruins of the island’s previous inhabitants. Imagine living on an Antarctic island for several months out of the year, gutting whales and hoping that the volcano doesn’t burst right under your feet.

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