Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Television Shows with Penguins: Jake's Cool New Matey Episode

The "Jake's Cool New Mate" episode of Jake and the Never Land Pirates is about a penguin named Percy coming ashore Pirate Island in search of Chi-Chi-Chilly Canyon (a part of Never Land that is winter all year long) for his penguin colony to move to because their current colony broke apart.  The episode is rather a poor representation of penguins because it seems to try to properly represent them, but then it has the penguin joking about being chased by polar bears, which is so inaccurate of an idea that it rather taints the episode from even being a fun fantasy representation of penguins.  It is one thing to portray fictional penguins as cartoon characters, but I cannot stand the way it seems to imply that polar bears and penguins coexist naturally.

Kate Upton Sports Illustrated Bikini Photo Shoot in Antarctica

Recently Kate Upton did a bikini photo shoot in the Antarctic.  Sure, seems cold for such a thing, especially since it was not related to swimming in the hot water I remember doing on my Antarctic Cruise.  However, she did cover up in warm clothes mostly and only was in the bikini only for a few minutes at a time.  It also appears she was always wearing some nice and warm looking white boots.

It appears this photo shoot was also related to the recent Oreo delivery to Palmer Station, as some pictures released show her with the Oreo man.

Oreo gives cookies and solar penguin cam to Palmer Station to celebrate its 100th Birthday

2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Oreo cookies as well as Scott reaching the South Pole (it was not discovered the same year as Oreos were first made, as this article states, as Amundsen reached it first/discovered the South Pole in December 1911).  To celebrate the centennial, Oreo recently delivered 5,000 cookies to those working at Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula.  Oreo also donated a solar Penguin Cam, which is the first of its kind in Antarctica.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Race to the South Pole WebQuest


In June 1910, the Terra Nova expedition left Wales.  Robert Falcon Scott led the expedition, although he left England separately and joined the crew on the Terra Nova in South Africa later.  The main goals of the expedition were to reach the South Pole and carry out scientific research.  The goal of reaching the South Pole became somewhat of a race to be the first when in October 1910 Scott learned that the Norwegian Roald Amundsen was also making an attempt to reach the South Pole (, n.d.).

On January 3, 1912, Scott and four other men began the final push to the South Pole.  They reached the South Pole on January 17, 1912, only to discover that Amundsen had beat them to the pole on December 14, 1911.  While they did not fail to reach the pole, Scott’s polar party failed to be first and failed to return home, as all five perished on their way back from the South Pole (, n.d.).


You have been recruited to be a team that plans to retrace Scott’s final expedition.  While the expedition plans to stay true to the historic time period of the expedition, the main mission of your expedition is to successfully reach the South Pole and return home safely.  Use the provided information sources to learn about how things went wrong for Scott and how Amundsen’s expedition was more successfully carried out, and then create a proposal of what your expedition will do differently.  Remember to try and stick with what resources were at least potentially available to Scott in 1912.

Information Sources

Cool Antarctica. (n.d.). Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) Norwegian Antarctic Expedition 1910–1912.  Retrieved from fact file/History/roald amundsen.htm

Cool Antarctica. (n.d.). Roald Amundsen - crew of the Fram Norwegian South Pole Expedition 1910–1911.  Retrieved from fact file/History/antarctic_whos_who_fram.htm

Cool Antarctica. (n.d.). Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912) page 2 The Terra Nova Expedition 1910-13.  Retrieved from fact file/History/Robert Falcon Scott2.htm

Cool Antarctica. (n.d.). Robert Falcon Scott – the journey to the pole.  Retrieved from fact file/History/Robert Falcon Scott3.htm

Race for the Pole. (n.d.). Race for the pole: Historical acts of courage and endeavour told as the events unfold.  Retrieved from (n.d.).  Roald Amundsen.  Retrieved from (n.d.). The Terra Nova Expedition 1910-13.  Retrieved from
Step 1: Working in groups of at least two, determine who will research and make notes about Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition (1910-1913) and who will research and make notes about Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian Antarctic expedition (1910-1912).

Step 2a – Robert Falcon Scott: This step is for those in your group that will research and make notes about Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition (1910-1913).  Read through the information about his expedition using the below resources.  As you read make notes about the expedition with particular focus on things that went wrong.  Do not forget to note what the expedition’s strengths were, such as what they did right or well.
Step 2b – Roald Amundsen: This step is for those in your group that will research and make notes about Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian Antarctic expedition (1910-1912).  Read through the information about his expedition using the below resources.  As you read make notes about the expedition with particular focus on what you think helped the expedition reach the South Pole before Scott as well as successfully return from Antarctica.  You should also make note of any weaknesses or mistakes made.
Step 3: After everyone in your group has finished making notes, come back together and decide on a note taker to make notes on each expedition’s strengths and weaknesses that come to light as each member shares their notes from step 2 with the group.  Even if you are not the note taker, you should help ensure the note taker writes has written down the key points from your step 2 research.

Step 4: As a group brainstorm how you the reenactment of Scott’s expedition should be carried out.  In particular, discuss what you would do differently from what Scott did and how you might incorporate strengths you learned from Amundsen’s success.  Browse the Race for the Pole website for more information on Scott’s and Amundsen’s expeditions including their journals.  Before continuing on to step 5, create an outline of what main aspects your group would change and keep the same for the reenactment expedition.

Step 5: Create a proposal outlining what you would do different from Robert Falcon Scott and why.  You can choose to create a video, Word document, or PowerPoint presentation as your final product.


Step 2 NotesStudent has clear and thorough notes for the sources they were assigned to look at for the group.Student’s notes are missing key points from their assigned sources and/or notes are unclear.Student’s notes include only one or two key points.Student makes no notes or too unclearly recorded to understand. 
Group NotesNotes include several key points on strengths and weaknesses about both Scott’s and Amundsen’s expeditions.Notes include key points about both expeditions, but are missing one or two key points from group members Step 2 notes.Notes only features key points from one expedition or are missing many key points recorded in Step 2.No notes are recorded. 
Proposal OutlineOutline features at least 3 examples of what the reenactment will do differently from Scott and what it will do the same as Scott.Outline features only two examples of what the reenactment will do differently from Scott and/or what it will do the same as Scott.Outline features only one example of what the reenactment will do differently from Scott or what it will do the same as Scott.Outline is not done or it is unclear whether the key points are what will be done differently or the same. 
Final ProposalProposal clearly explains how the reenactment should be carried out.  Proposal is also free of grammatical errors.Proposal fails to address one key point about what might be done differently from Scott’s expedition and/or contains a few grammatical errors.Proposal fails to incorporate knowledge learned about both expeditions and/or has many grammatical errors.No final proposal is done, the final proposal does not include what would be done differently, or it has so many errors it is hard to understand. 
Total Points


By successfully completing this WebQuest, you have learned about the Race to the South Pole including the tragedies and successes.  You have also considered how things could be done differently in order for there to be a successful reenactment of Scott’s final expedition.  You may be interested in the below books to learn more about Scott, Amundsen, and early 1900 Antarctic exploration.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin Ride Vehicle Unveiled

Sea World has unveiled a new style of ride vehicle that will be used in their Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin ride scheduled to open in Orlando in the Spring of 2013.  The ride vehicle is a circular simulator car that will allow guests to customize their experience to different levels of motion intensity.  The vehicle is designed to make it be like a penguin sliding on ice.  Each vehicle has two rows of 4.  Learn more about it here.

Related Links:

Antarctic sea ice increasing due to changing wind

In recent years there has been a lot of news about climate change and decreasing sea ice in the Arctic.  In the Antarctic there has also been a lot of talk about climate change including ice shelves collapsing, but interestingly the sea ice has been found to be increasing overall.  It appears that changing winds is causing an increase in sea ice.  Learn more from NASA here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Feature Length Horror Film Shot in Antarctica

South of Sanity is claiming to be the first fictional full feature film to be made in Antarctica and it easily could be.  It is a horror movie made by British Antarctic Survey scientists and other staff in Antarctica.  The movie is about a killer at an Antarctic base. The film is premiering in Aviemore, Scotland on October 31, 2012.

Related Links:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Special Ale Developed to Withstand -90 degrees for Antarctic Researchers

Pole-Axed is a special brew that has been developed so that British researchers in Antarctica can enjoy ale.  The brew is designed to withstand up to negative 90 degree temperatures and retain its taste.  Typically ales cannot really be enjoyed in Antarctica because they freeze and lose their flavor, but this year the British team that will be at the Subglacial Lake Ellsworth in Antarctica will have Pole-Axed to enjoy.

Related Articles:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brazil to Rebuild Comandante Ferraz Base

In February 2012, the Brazilian Comandante Ferraz Base was 70% destroyed by a fire.  Next month as the Antarctic summer season begins they will set up some temporary installations for some research and support to take place.  Additionally, they will begin to work on taking apart the parts of the base affected by the fire.  They plan to begin rebuilding in November 2013.

Related Articles:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scott's Terra Nove Ship Found

The wreck of Scott's Terra Nova ship was rediscovered earlier this year (July 2012) off the coast of Greenland.  The ship was the one used as part of Scott's final Antarctic expedition in which he died on the return trip from the South Pole.  This year is the 100th anniversary of that expedition, but the Terra Nova ship was actually still used for another three decades after the expedition and did not sink until 1943.  The ship was damaged by ice off the southwestern tip of Greenland while it was carrying supplies to base stations in Greenland.  The crew were saved by the United States Coast Guard and they fired bullets into the ship to sink it.  The wreck is said to be deep and in bad condition (somewhat excessively due to the way it was sunk), so no salvage is expected.

Related Articles:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater is a classic children's chapter book.  The book was originally published in 1938 and a film based on it was released in 2011.

The main characters of the book are the Popper family and the penguins.  Mr. Popper is really interested in Antarctica and reads about it a lot and listens to a radio show broadcasted from Antarctica by an Admiral Drake.  In response to a letter Mr. Popper writes to the Admiral, the Admiral surprisingly sends Mr. Popper a penguin.

The Popper's care for the penguin like a pet and eventually the penguin ends up with a mate from a zoo and they have ten penguin babies.  In order to afford to feed and keep the penguins, the penguins begin to perform in a circus act.  The Popper family and the penguins have some adventures as they travel with the circus including ending up in jail.

In the end, it is decided the circus act is inappropriate for the penguins and instead the penguins and Mr. Popper go to the North Pole with Admiral Drake to possibly set up a penguin colony up there.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bells to be rung in Antarctica as part of All the Bells ringing to start 2012 Olympics

Bells will be rung across the UK and around the world to honor the start of the 2012 London Olympics at 8:12 a.m. London Time.  A bell will even be rung at one of the UK's research stations in Antarctica.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

South Africa's New Icebreaker Begins Maiden Voyage

South Africa's new icebreaker the SA Agulhas II began its maiden voyage/shakedown cruise on July 9, 2012.  The cruise is a 26 day one to the Antarctic ice shelf.  The new icebreaker is replacing the 34-year-old SA Agulhas.  The new ship features more features to help with the scientific purposes of the vessel including 8 permanent laboratories and the Moon Pool that helps allow deploying and recovering of sampling devices even when in pack ice.

Related Articles:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Christchurch to host 1st IceFest in September 2012

Christchurch will host its first IceFest in September 2012.  This new festival is to celebrate the 100 year connection the city has with Antarctica as one of the main jumping off points.  The IceFest will turn Hadley Park into an Ice Station.  The event will include a hovercraft, an ice skating rink, recreations of historic huts, and talks on Antarctic topics.

The dates for the first IceFest are September 14 through October 14, 2012.  The festival is expected to be a biennial event (i.e. held every 2 years).

Related Articles:

Monday, May 14, 2012

American Antarctic food waste burned in Seattle

I found this article about the burning of the American Antarctic food waste in Seattle interesting.  I knew that all the waste had to be removed from the continent and was done at the end of every summer season, but I did not realize at least part of the trash was taken all the way back to Seattle to be disposed of/burned.  On the one hand it seems odd to transport it so far, but at the same time it is nice that it is not being outsourced to another country to take care of or have to deal with.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Endless Sea wreck leaking oil in Antarctica

Last month the Endless Sea capsized and sunk in Antarctica.  The weather has been too harsh for them to dive and check on the oil damage, but news has now been released that it is in fact leaking oil.  The extent of the leak remains unknown, though.  Due to winter setting in, there is not much they can do about it until warmer weather arrives in Antarctica.

Related Links:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Warm Ocean Currents Causing Antarctic Ice Melting

Scientists with the British Antarctic Survey carried out new research on how warm ocean currents are mostly causing the ice melting in the Antarctic rather than warm air.   It seems the wind patterns have changed causing warm water to be pushed under the ice.  When the ice melts from below, the glaciers slide more towards the ocean, which can then end up with more ice being melted than when they melt from the top.  The main exception is that the melting on the Antarctic Peninsula appears more linked to warm winds in that region.

Related Link:

New Details on Empire of the Pengun Ride Coming to Sea World Orlando in 2013

Some more details are not available about the Empire of the Penguin Antarctic themed area coming to Sea World Orlando in 2013.  The area will include a new ride that looks like it will be trackless.  The ride is designed to follow the story of a Gentoo penguin in Antarctica.

The Empire of the Penguin area will also provide up close penguin experiences featuring Gentoo, Rockhopper, Adelie, and King penguins.  There will also be a gift shop and restaurant.

Related Links:

Friday, April 13, 2012

1st Emperor Penguin Census taken from Space

For the first time ever Emperor Penguins were counted from space.  The Emperor Penguin census done using satellite images showed that there were twice as many Emperor Penguins than previously thought (source).  Taking pictures of penguins from space was previously possible, but not the high enough resolution to differentiate penguins from other objects like was now possible.

The study used images from 2009 and found there to be about 595,000 penguins (previous estimates were between 270,000 and 350,000).  The images also allowed them to identify 7 new colonies, so there are now 44 known colonies of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica.

Related Articles:

Quark Expeditions offering first carbon neutral Antarctic cruises

Quark Expeditions has announced that they are going to offset the carbon emissions of its newest ship, Ocean Diamond.  This is said to make it the first to offer carbon neutral expeditions to the polar regions.  To offset the carbon emissions of their expeditions to Antarctica and other regions with the Ocean Diamond they will participate in CarbonNeutral projects.  The CarbonNuetral projects include hydro, wind power, and reforestation projects in Turkey, Kenya, India, and China.

Related Article:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

4 Brazilian Filmmakers rescued by Chilean Navy

On Monday, April 9, 2012, 4 Brazilian filmmakers were rescued by the Chilean Navy after their ship became stuck in the ice in Antarctica.  Their boat became stuck in the ice and the 100 km per hour winds caused it to capsize on Saturday, April 7, 2012.  They were working on a documentary about navigation and Antarctica's landscape.  Chilean officials plan to monitor the area for oil leaks and attempt to refloat the ship in the Antarctic summer.

Related Article:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"Winter" Episode of Frozen Planet

“Winter” is the fifth (4th aired in US) episode in the Frozen Planet series about the Earth’s polar regions.  Examples of the Aurora Australis (i.e. Southern Ocean) is shown as the episode transitions to featuring the Antarctic, the Finger of Death, and the Emperor Penguins.

Emperor Penguins are shown huddling together to keep warm through the winter, as the only species that remains in Antarctic on the ice throughout the winter.  The Weddell Seals are also briefly shown as the only mammals that winter in Antarctica.  They remain mostly underwater and work to keep breathing holes open.

The underwater sea life that remain in Antarctica year round are also featured.  Some of the fish have a type of antifreeze to keep them from freezing.  Some of the sea life like sponges are thousands of years old.  These species are often shielded from the extremes above, but the winter extremes do sometimes affect them in the form of brinicles.  These are ice stalactites that form quite quickly and the sea life cannot always more away fast enough to escape the brinicles, which are nicknamed fingers of death.

The Weddell Seals are again briefly featured near the end of the episode.  The different sounds they make are played and the seals are shown fighting over breathing holes.

Winter is shown ending with the arrival of the sun in the Antarctic and the female Emperor Penguins returning.  Chicks are transferred to their mothers' care, so the males can go feed in the ocean.  Some of the chicks do not make it and the returning mothers are shown trying to kidnap chicks that wander away from their mothers.

Frozen Planet

Frozen Planet is a series that was co-produced by the BBC, Discover Channel, and The Open University.  It first premiered in the UK with episodes airing between October 26 and December 28, 2011.  Frozen Planet began premiering episodes in the United States on the Discovery Channel on March 18, 2012.

Frozen Planet features footage from both the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions.  The series focuses on the different seasons at both ends of the world as well as other natural history topics such as climate change.

The BBC Version of Frozen Planet is narrated by David Attenborough and the US version is mostly narrated by Alec Baldwin, although the seventh episode retains its narration by David Attenborough due to the controversy of it originally not being planned to air on the Discovery Channel.

Episodes of Frozen Planet
  1. "To the Ends of the Earth" - premiered in UK on October 26, 2011 and in the US on March 18, 2012
  2. "Spring" - premiered in UK on November 2, 2012 and in the US on March 18, 2012
  3. "Summer" - premiered in UK on November 9, 2012 and in the US on March 25, 2012
  4. "Autumn" - premiered in UK on November 16, 2012
  5. "Winter" - premiered in UK on November 23, 2012 and in the US on April 1, 2012
  6. "The Last Frontier" - premiered in UK on November 30, 2012
  7. "On Thin Ice" - premiered in UK on December 7, 2012 and in the US on April 15, 2012
  8. "The Epic Journey" - premiered in UK on December 28, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Summer" Episode of Frozen Planet

“Summer" is the third episode in the Frozen Planet series about the Earth’s polar regions.  The episode begins by discussing the sun never setting during the summer in the polar regions.
The first mention of Antarctic animals in this episode is the Antarctic fur seals breeding on the South Georgia Islands.  The Antarctic fur seals give birth and within a week mate again.  There is footage of bulls (males) fighting for control of a harem (group of female seals).

The King Penguins of South Georgia are featured next.  Cooling off in the summer heat of 60 degrees is discussed.  The penguins cool off by lying down to let the breeze cool their feet.  They also show elephant seals covering themselves in black sand to cool them off and use as a sun screen.  To avoid overheating the penguin chicks cool off in shallow water and mud.

Near the end of the episode, fall arriving in Antarctica is discussed starting with how the ice begins to increase surrounding the continent.  Emperor Penguins are then featured.  The penguins are shown taboggoning to reach their colony inland.  The females pass the eggs to the males before heading back to the sea.  The males huddle together through the winter.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Spring" Episode of Frozen Planet

"Spring" is the second episode in the Frozen Planet series about the Earth's polar regions.  The episode begins with footage of Adelie penguins in Antarctica as the breeding season begins.  It shows male Adelie penguins collecting rocks to build nests including males stealing rocks from others' nests.

The "Spring" episode also features King Penguins and Southern Elephant Seals in the South Georgia Islands.  It includes showing the bull seals fighting for role as "beachmaster."

The end of the episode comes back around to Antarctic and the Adelie Penguins.  This part features the Adelie Penguins finding mates and female penguins going fishing while the males incubate the eggs.  The Adelies are scared out of the water when Orca whales arrive.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"The Ends of the Earth" episode of Frozen Planet

"The Ends of the Earth" is the first episode in the Frozen Planet series about the polar regions.  The first half of the episode is mainly about the Arctic while the second half features the Antarctic.

The Gentoo penguins are discussed and featured in this episode with discussion on bodysurfing.  There is also discussion of penguins in general with the Gentoo penguin footage.

The Southern Sea Lion is introduced to the narrative as it threatens the penguins ability to go fishing and the sea lion struggles to catch the penguins in the water.  The footage includes the sea lion chasing a Gentoo penguin on land.

The next animals shown in the episode are whales.  The whales featured include Minke, Southern Humpback whales, and Orcas.  The orcas (i.e. killer whales) are shown hunting seals (crab eater and Weddell) including the whales working together to make waves to crack the icebergs the seals are on and knock the seals off the ice.

After the killer whale footage, there is footage of the continent including discussion of its isolation and lack of mammals and reptiles.  It briefly mentions the two plants native to the continent before going on to discuss giant sea animals such as jellyfish.  Mount Erebus, a volcano in Antarctica, and the arrival of humans and early explorers like Amundsen and Scott are also mentioned.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Norwegian Jarle Andhoy Faces Trouble in Antarctica Again

Earlier this year Jarle Andhoy was in the news for taking an unsanctioned trip to the Antarctic to try to find any clues to what happened to the yacht and crew lost while he was on the continent the year before.  He has been criticized for being unprepared that trip as well as the current trip.  He did end up in trouble with the yacht heading back to Antarctica to make repairs at an Argentine base.  Whether he was really unprepared or not, it is not too uncommon for damage to occur with storms, especially with winter approaching in the Antarctic.

Related Articles:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Antarctic Blue Whales found to be surprisingly diverse

A genetic survey has found that the Antarctic blue whale population is surprisingly diverse.  An estimated 99% of the Antarctic blue whales were killed before the 1966 ban on whaling.  The population was down to less than 400, but is now recovering and possesses a surprising genetic diversity.  The diversity is key to the continued success of the population recovery.

Related Links:

Grocery Stores take Ross Sea Pledge

Three grocery stores in the United States have taken the Ross Sea Pledge.  The pledge is related to the recent call for a Ross Sea marine reserve in the Antarctic.  By taking this pledge the grocery stores are agreeing to not buy or sell seafood caught in the Ross Sea.  The three grocery stores that have made this pledge include Safeway, Wegmans, and Harris Teeter.

Related Links:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Malaysia releasing Antarctic Research Programme commemorative stamps

POS Malaysia (i.e. Malaysia's postal service) is releasing Antarctic commemorative stamps on March 8, 2012.  These stamps honor Malaysia's Antarctic Research Programme.  The release includes 3 different stamp designs (2 worth 90 sen and one worth 60 sen).  The two 90 sen designs are featured on the same stamp sheet while the 60 sen has its own stamp sheet.   The first day issue envelope features images of researchers working in Antarctica.

90 Sen Malaysian Antarctic Research Programme Stamps - These stamps will be available as a sheet of 16 with 8 being 35 mm x 35 mm and 8 being 70 mm x 35 mm.  The design on the square 35 mm x 35 mm features a world map with areas highlighted.  The rectangle 70 mm x 35 mm design features Emperor penguins in Antarctica and a scientific researcher.

60 Sen Malaysian Antarctic Research Programme Stamps - These stamps come as a sheet of 20 with each stamp measuring 35mm x 35 mm.  The design for this stamp features the Antarctic continent with the Malaysia flag in the center.

Learn more about the technical specs of these stamps and find links to images of them on the POS Malaysia website here.

Penguins in Antarctica

While all 17 species of penguins are only native to the Southern Hemisphere, only 7 species are native to the Antarctic.  Of these species the Adelie has the widest range appearing on much of the Antarctic coast.  The Emperor penguin also is native to many parts of the Antarctic coast.

Both the Chinstrap and Gentoo penguin species are found on the Antarctic Peninsula and some sub-Antarctic islands.  The Chinstrap is also found on part of the Antarctic coast on the non-peninsula side of the Weddell Sea.  The Gentoo is present on more sub-Antarctic islands than the Chinstrap.

The Macaroni penguin is mostly found on sub-Antarctic islands, but is also native to the northernmost Antarctic peninsula region and southern coasts in South America.  The Rockhopper penguins have similar distribution being found on many sub-Antarctic islands and southern coasts of South America.  They are not native to the Antarctic peninsula region.

Penguins in Antarctica
  • Adelie Penguin
  • Chinstrap Penguin
  • Emperor Penguin
  • Gentoo Penguin
  • King Penguin
  • Macaroni Penguin
  • Rockhopper Penguin
Related Links:
Distribution Map of Penguins

Brazilian Navy Refloats Fuel Tanker in Antarctic

Last week there was a lot of hoopla about the Brazilians possibly not adequately reporting the sinking of a fuel barge in December 2011.  The tanker has now been successfully refloated and will return to Brazil.  The state-controlled Petrobras helped salvage the fuel from near the recently destroyed Commandante Ferraz base and is transporting it back to Rio de Janeiro.  It has been reported that no environmental damage has occurred (i.e no leaking).

Related Links:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brazil Belatedly Reveals Fuel Barge Sinking in Antarctica

The Brazilian Commandante Ferraz base fire has been a major Antarctic news story the last few days, but the base is also in the news with the revelation of a potential Brazilian government cover up of a fuel barge sinking in the Antarctic back in December 2011.  The fuel barge sunk near the Commandante Ferraz base.  The barge contains about 10,000 liters of diesel and is in ~40 meter deep water.  After a delay of several months the Brazilians have informed other Antarctic treaty partners and report that there has not been any leakage.

Related Articles:

2 Brazilian Sailors die in Antarctic Base Fire

While tragedy in the Antarctic seems to happen rather regularly, it is often more related to regular medical emergencies being a bigger deal due to remoteness or ship accidents.  However, the most recent major news story out of the Antarctic is the Brazilian Comandante Ferraz base being damaged by a fire.  The fire is reported to have destroyed much of the base.

The fire began in the engine room and the sailors attempted to put it out.  Two died and one was injured.  The rest of the personnel were evacuated to a Chilean base and a C-130 Hercules was sent to return them to Brazil.

Related Articles:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Antarctic Lake Vostok Water Finally Reached

For decades the Russians have been drilling through the ice to attempt and reach the liquid water part of Lake Vostok.  Last year they came quite close, but had to stop due to the end of the summer season and their air supply link being stopped by the winter weather.  The first water samples have now been retrieved and eventually the Russians plan to share samples with other researchers to allow for more analysis on this long isolated lake under the ice.

Related Links:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Norwegian Jarle Andhoey Making Unsanctioned Yacht Trip to Antarctic

Norwegian Jarle Andhoey is heading to the Antarctic without the approval of the New Zealand authorities, who actually tried to stop him until he reached international waters.  It is perhaps understandable that he thinks going without permission is not illegal.  However, the real problem does come down to legality, but common sense.  He already has been known to have gone to Antarctica with poor planning leading to the support Berserk II yacht sinking while he was on the continent with a companion.  He has already been criticized for having to be rescued then.

Maybe, going once unprepared can be understandable, as everyone makes mistakes, but it appears he is doing it again and has not learned much from the disaster last year.  He is going out of grief with clear intentions of trying to figure out what happened to the Berserk II, but it seems he is not any more prepared than last time and perhaps worse so with the reports of him unknowingly ending up with an extra crew member (see this story).

The Antarctic is harsh even for well-prepared expeditions.  There is already a lot of controversy of fishing in the Antarctic and the rescues occurring this season (Sparta and Jung Woo 2).  I for one would at least think Jarle Andhoey would be taking greater precautions not just based on his personal experience with tragedy in the Antarctic, but also with these very recent major incidents.  Lets just hope his voyage does not get added to the Ship Accidents section of the Antarctic Wiki.

Related Articles:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Felicity Ashton

On Monday, January 23, 2012, Felicity Aston became the first women to successfully ski across Antarctica solo. She was also the first person to ski solo across the continent using only using muscle power (i.e. no kites or machines used to help).

Felicity Aston's journey across Antarctica began on November 25, 2012 from Leverett Glacier with her pulling two sledges.  By the time her journey ended on January 23, 2012 at the Hercules Inlet, she had skied 1,744 kilometers in 59 days.  Her only assistance was prearranged drops of supplies at the South Pole and on the way between the pole and Hercules Inlet.  The supply drops allowed her to have to pull less.

Related Articles:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fishing Vessel Fire in Antarctic: 3 dead, 37 rescued

The Jung Woo 2 fishing vessel had a fire break out in the living quarters on January 10, 2012.  25 of the men initially evacuated to a life boat while the other 12 survivors had to wait for help because the fire affected the other life boat.  3 of the 40 crew died on board due to the fire and the remains were not evacuated.  Nearby fishing vessels including the sister ship Jung Woo 3 came to help and the crew was safely aboard other ships within 3 hours.

The Nathaniel Palmer research vessel with its medical facilities arrived on January 11, 2012 to take the injured survivors to McMurdo Base.  From the base the seven men that suffered burns were airlifted to Christchurch, New Zealand on January 13, 2012 after weather delayed any earlier of a medical evacuation.   Three of the men are said to be in serious condition.

Every summer season in the Antarctic there are news of medical evacuations and ships in distress of various incidents.  Usually it is more related to research and support staff with some tourist and fishing vessels thrown in as well.  Just a few weeks ago there was the long drawn out Sparta incident involving the fishing vessel being damaged and stuck in pack ice.

Related Articles:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Damaged Sea Shepherd Vessel Done for Season

One of the Sea Shepherd's vessels, the Brigitte Bardot, was damaged by rough seas.  The Steve Irwin escorted it back to port where it will undergo repairs for about 3 months.  Thus the boat is done for this season of Whale Wars, but the Steve Irwin will rejoin the Bob Barker after refueling and resupplying.  The Bob Barker has remained near the Japanese whaling fleet while the Steve Irwin and Brigitte Bardot returned to port.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wild Antarctica 3D Begins Production

A new Antarctic documentary has begun production with a National Geographic film crew traveling from Ushuaia on the Pelagic Australis sailboat.   The new film will be made in 3D and will be called Wild Antarctica 3D.  The filming expedition is expected to visit Deception Island, the Gerlache Strait, the Argentine Islands, the United States' Palmer Station, and a rendezvous with the National Geographic Explorer.

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