12 August 2011

Antarctica 2006 - Beauty

Ice Break-up
Nearly 50 years after my first trip to Antarctica in 1959, Catherine and I divested the kids of some of their future inheritance and took a voyage to the Sub-Antarctic Islands and the coast of the the Ross Dependency with Heritage Expeditions.  We visited the Auckland Islands, Macquarie Island and Campbell Island and made several landings between Capes Adare and Byrd including a couple of offshore Ross Sea islands. The trip was everything we hoped for - history, flora and fauna and scenic wonders.  In contrast to my 1959 trip I saw (probably) millions of penguins! All of this from the luxury of an ice strengthened contracted Russian research vessel.  I guess the highlights were the wildlife, the historical connections, the floating ice in its various forms and a few magnificent few hours amid an break-up of ice in the low polar sun about midnight.  And the company of like minded people was great. Here are some more photos.

Male Hooker Sealion - Enderby Island

King Penguins - Macquarie Island


This region of the world is one the last great unspoiled places on earth.  Mans influence has been minimal with the only exploitation having been tourism.  This has been fairly well controlled but already there are signs of lack of control with tourist vessels becoming damaged and fishing excesses. Everyone who visits the area comes back committed to conserving these polar (and even sub-Antarctic) areas.








Just think that these King Penguins were slaughtered in their millions on Macquarie Island for their oil.  The penguins are now back in their millions. And the entrepreneur orchestrating this slaughter is dead and gone.  Only a few rusting remains of the rendering plants remain.  Penguins rule again!! But beware - we are running short of oil again.