The team (onboard the SA Agulhas II) officially crossed into the Antarctic Circle yesterday afternoon (nine days into their journey South), with no ice in sight when they did so. The pack ice has been almost non-existant this year, mostly due to the ship traveling through a huge bit of open water (a polynya). The polynya opened up on enroute and the ship has been really lucky to be able to travel through the open water with virtually nothing impeding its way. To keep themselves occupied (and ready for the fieldwork awaiting them on the Antarctic continent) the team also completed further rope training on Friday afternoon on the heli deck (see photos below).
Nevertheless, the ice eventually will appear and the ship reached heavy pack ice early last night (or early this morning, depends what you determine as sufficient ice to warrant ‘reaching the ice’). This morning the team woke up to some real ice (see photos below) and at that time (early morning) the ship was still app. 100 nautical miles form the shelf, thinking to reach the ice-shelf by Sunday. At the moment this looks completely different: the ship has made excellent headway and Trolltunga is almost in sight! Fantastic going by the captain and ice pilot!
#LPiAE #Antarctica #2016dieldseason #TrolltungaAntarctica #almostthere #soexcited