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Expectations and challenges

It’s been a week since we left home and we are getting used to the blue sky and the sunshine. We left Montevideo on January the 4th and we are approaching the Falkland Islands where we will refuel and refill freshwater. It will be a special experience to visit this island that received so much attention when Argentina invaded it in 1982.

Above: An albatross stretching its huge wings just aft of the ship.

Refueling will take place offshore which means that we will not be able to visit Stanley.
Unpacking the gear and getting it ready for use has kept us busy. Already, we have started data collection through sampling of organisms in the vessel’s cooling water and the deployment of two Argo floats. After refueling we will continue to a Paleodrake-station where we will collect core samples from the ocean floor. Towards the end of the week we will reach South Georgia where we will start calibrating the acoustic equipment and conduct target strength analysis on krill and mackerel ice fish.

Jostein Bakke, Øyvind Paasche and Bjørn Christian Kvisvik (left to right) will soon start the Paleodrake project. Here being photographed by Helga Gill.

It will be exciting to see if we find sufficient quantities of these species. At this stage there is no reason not to be optimistic.
Given the great distances in this area, it is a challenge to economize with time and fuel so that we will reach the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Bouvet Island and eventually Cape Town, South Africa, and at the same time perform the planned research. Luckily, we have skilled navigators, and competent crew and researchers.

Sunset off the Argentinian coast.

G.O. Sars keeps in regular contact with the Norwegian fishing vessel Saga Sea which is fishing in the area around the Elephant Islands. Fishing is reportedly slow at the moment. That’s where Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 22 ended up after their ship Endurance was destroyed in the ice in the Weddell Sea.


By Svein Iversen, cruise leader



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