Here we are. Reached our Southernmost point this voyage with the Bark Europa. 65° 21'9 South, 064°07.1 West. Went beyond that Southernmost point with our zodiacs. Through a sculpture park of ice, a collection of arches, a assemblage of glacier parts. The South Pole 25 degrees away – roughly 2500 km, a bit more but not much as the earth is flatter around the poles. Still far. And so much ice. 90 % of all the worlds ice. 70 % of all the worlds freshwater frozen as ice. 4776 meter at its thickest. Oldest ice core taken out of the ice 800.000 years. The continent -89.2°C at its coldest. Average at the South Pole 27.5°C in summer, -60°C in winter. Strongest windgust ever recorded 248.4 km/h – that was at Mawson station.
Here, no wind. A gentle temperature just under and above the freezing point. We spent the day around the Berthelot Islands – once the Southernmost point ever explored – by Charcot and the Francais. In the morning we land on one of the smaller island, a bit of the 0.32 % of the continent not covered by ice. In the afternoon we cruise through Collins Bay. This is our daily life at the moment.
Looking up to the high peaks and the arches of ice, over the smooth islands polished by the glaciers, watching the Adelie penguins and the Crabeater seals, there is a sudden realisation. Antarctica is the only continent that was imagined before it was discovered – the first time it was seen was 1820, the first time it was touched 1821. The sudden realisation : Just over 200 years ago, 202 to be precise, no one had ever seen this. Ever.
Photo by Ricky Simko