On Friday morning, we left the harbor. With the South African ice breaker SA Agulhas II, I am on my way from Cape Town southwards. We are following the Greenwich meridian. Currently, we are between 30°S and 40°S, it is summer on the southern half of the globe and I enjoy the light and the warmth after the Swedish winter darkness. The ship is loaded with antarctic supplies for the base station. Snow cats, fresh food, and new technology that makes the life on this remote place possible for the scientist and engineers. The southern ocean is the roughest and most dangerous ocean. Everything has been fairly calm yet, we are traveling through the long slow swell, that is making the ship going up and down slowly. Half of us scientist is sea sick anyway, but that will get better over time. We brought our measurement instruments also, tomorrow we will reach our first deployment station. More about that later.
We almost reached the 0-meridian. Then we will only continue southwards. First we are going to cross the “roaring forties” only to proceed into the “screaming fifties”. After that the sea should calm down again. In the moment, it is summer on the southern side of the earth, but we expect to get into sea ice at around 60°S. From there, it will be few more hundred kilometers to the antarctic continent. In winter, the Weddell Sea is covered by thick sea ice but now in summer we can make our way through. The SA Agulhas II is one of the worlds biggest advanced ice breakers, and with the help of current satellite images and our experienced captain Knowledge we will arrive eventually the ice shelf to supply for the South African Antarctic base station.
On Christmas eve, we will already be in Antarctica. That is going to be a weird Christmas, with 24 hours of daylight, but white Christmas is almost guaranteed for the first time! The whole journey is going to take three and a half month for me. So long, it has been quite hectical. Some of hour scientific instruments were misbehaving in the very last hours of preparation, but as soon as we are coming closer to Antarctica it will get calmer for us oceanographers. Then I can finally spend more time with admiring the awesome nature, taking photos and enjoying the environment. I hope we will meet some curious penguins along the way!