Preparing for the Ross Sea

I  believe it was about 18 months ago that we decided to take part in M/V The World’s expedition to the Ross Sea in Antarctica. Now, incredibly, our departure is imminent! We fly to Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, on January 12th, to board the ship on January 14th.

These last few days were spent preparing and packing for our trip. All expedition related gear and clothes have been packed into 2 duffel bags; today and tomorrow we’ll finish the suitcases for life on board.

The World will sail from Hobart on January 15th at 6pm. After 4 days at sea, on January 20th, we expect to reach the Ross Sea Pack Ice. On January 21st we will cross the Antarctic Circle. After a 1,700 nautical miles (1,955mi / 3,148 km) crossing of the Southern Ocean we will reach our destination . The next 10 days will be spent exploring the Ross Sea. Landing locations and activities will totally be weather dependent. Amongst the possibilities are: Inexpressible Island, Drygalski Ice Tongue, Cape Evans (Captain Scott’s hut) and Cape Royds (Schackleton’s ‘Nimrod’ hut), McMurdo & Scott bases, Bay of Whales, Cape Hallett,… We hope to be able to see lots of wildlife (birds, whales,…), and hope to visit Adelie and Emperor penguin colonies. Just to mention a few things. On February 1st The World will start to journey north again, across the Southern Ocean, to Christchurch (Lyttelton), NZ where we expect to arrive on February 6th.

This expedition is organized by EYOS Expeditions, who have, over numerous expedition collaborations with The World, proven that they are the best at what they do. It will be great seeing some familiar faces again.

Communications during this expedition will prove a tad more challenging than normal. Anytime we can we will update our blog. ‘No news’ in this case will mean ‘no internet’. Here is the message from The World regarding what to expect communication wise:

As the Ship approaches Antarctica, it will be sailing on and past the edge of the satellite beam and can experience very slow speeds, frequent drops as well as no coverage at all. The following is a list of dates when we expect the quality of the service to decline:

  • 23 – 24 January – Ship is approaching the edge of the beam and will have reduced bandwidth service. Marginal service quality is expected, including network drops and slowdowns. There is a high possibility of iceberg satellite blockage and a weather-related network coverage outage.
  • 25 – 29 January – Ship is passing the edge of the beam. There is a high possibility of losing total coverage due to loss of the signal or weather impact.

When the Ship loses the satellite signal, the Internet and external phone system will not work.

To ensure that there is no loss of telephone communication during this time, several Iridium satellite telephones will be available 24 hours a day for incoming and outbound calls from 21 January to 1 February. 

Since this number is for emergencies only, we have given this to a few contacts only. It will also be impossible for us the leave the ship for the duration of this expedition.