Thursday, 16 February 2006

Antarctic Fur Seal

The last trip to Antarctica was pretty grey weatherwise. Non the less, on our first landing we came upon some really nice antarctic fur seals on Half Moon Island. This guy was posing for me while his friend was pretty indifferent to me. The fur seals is extremely adaptive and are thriving in the Southern Ocean. On the Island of South Georgia there are now millions of them, in the 1970´s there were virtually non left there. The fur seals was harvested for their delicate underfur that waterproofs them. They were hunted almost to extinction. Then the whales faced a severe toll in the same area and some now speculate if it is actually the marginalized number of whales in the Southern Ocean that are the reason fur seals are multiplying so fast the last decade or two. They are after all feeding on the same "cornerstone" spiecies; krill. Summed up; less whales to eat krill gives more krill to our friends the fur seal, and they are better off. The big question is; Is the whales going to come up in the competition with these guys? And when?

Sunday, 5 February 2006

Fathom Expeditions charter 2006

The last expedition with Polar Star to Antarctica was a full time charter with a Toronto based company called Fathom Expeditions. Our 12-day itinery took us to Elephand Island, Danger Islands, Paulet Island, Snow Hill Island, Devil Island, King George Island, Cuverville Island, Paradise Harbour, Danco Island, Petermann Island, Port Lockroy, Neko Harbour, Cierva Cove and Deception Island. These places would we known to seasoned Antarctic guides – I just list them up here because I think these names contains a certain athmosphere themselves.

However, Antarctica again showed all her sides; howling winds in the Weddel Sea, making it impossible to land on Heroina Island, flatt calm and super in amongst the South Shetlands the day after, reflections – double of everything as we sailed north the Neumayer Channel and big waves again coming north the Bransfield Strait towards Deception Island at the end. Smooth crossing of the Drake Passage both ways!

People often ask me; …what do you prefer; the arctic of the antarctic?

I often answer; …don´t be unfair to me – I grew up and have a special relationship to the arctic, it´s my home. On the other hand, Antarctica is beyond words…

Have a great time wherever you are in the world – and remember – all the penguins in down here depend on YOU!!

...behind the scenes continues

Photo reportage; Polar Star behind the scenes

Most people who are onboard M/V Polar Star see things from a passenger perspective. Working and living aboard a small expedition vessel is something quite different. Most of the Philipino crew are onboard for 9 months, home for 3 months and onboard again for 9 months. Some of our crew have been with Polar Star since the vessel came into service in 2001.

Common for all crew is that they are hard working and smiling. No matter what an enthusiastic expedition team throws at them, they are up to the challenge and super keen on cooperating giving the passengers the best possible experience while onboard.

Even when I intruded some of their back stages to shoot this reportage they kept smiling, no matter what situation they were in. I will continue working on this little project until I have a portrait of everyone onboard M/V Polar Star.