Day-6 (23 November 2018) – Terra Australis Incognita

Sunrise: 03:17 | Sunset: 22:38
Note: the actual writing of this journal happens onboard Hurtigruten’s MS Midnatsol ship the same day, but published later

Today, we were supposed to land at the mainland through Neko Harbour, but it’s all depends on the weather. I’ve witnessed it myself, the weather here is so unpredictable and can change within minutes or hour!

But after looking at the weather around 9 am when the wind was gusting, my confidence faded away. And it continuously gusting for hours until I heard an announcement that the whole landing will be shifted and they will see how it goes.

So the whole day I just wandered in the ship. I also went to the presentation class titled “Fat and Protein in the Antarctic: the Seal-whale-krill bonanza”. The material was pretty interesting. It explained the whole food supply chain in the Antarctica.

Phytoplankton is consumed by Zooplankton, which then consumed by Krill. Krill is consumed by many organism from penguins, squid, fish, seals. Penguins eat krill and squid, fish eat krill and other fish, seals eat krill, fish, squid, and leopard seals eat krill, squid, fish, and penguins.

The presentation also details how can a bird eat plastic. Marine algae has DMSP (Dimethyl Sulfide) in their cells. When they die or eaten by krill, DMSP will break down and form DMS. Some of seabirds has a strong sense of smell or olfaction and some attracted to the smell of DMS. When they smell DMS, they are alerted that foods nearby (krills that are eating the algae). As plastic wastes inundated the sea, algae will coat the plastic and produce DMS. This DMS smell attract the bird, and thus confuse it with the smell of krill (the real food for these birds), and mistakenly consume this plastic debris. This presentation was giving me a kick and enlighten me like never before. It made me realize how our plastic waste is really a serious issues to our environment.

Source: https://www.coolantarctica.com/

After that, in the afternoon we were called for landing. I was worry because the weather still looked not convincing, with the gusting snow and winds.

Not knowing where we went, i just sit tight in the tender boat enjoying the ride and the quite-calm weather that i knew was going to be over soon . Not long we arrived an island, and soon i realized i was landing on an ice!! and the landing area was so narrow. We were only given several minutes before going back to the ship again. Turns out, the landing point was shifted from originally in Neko Harbour to Paradise Bay.

On our way to the floating ice

Almirante Brown Antarctic Base

approaching the landing site

I was excited that i was standing on a moving ice. Yes, it was moving!!!

​At 18:00 pm session, the expedition team presented a plan for the next day (24 November 2018). She said what she presented is Plan B, because With the weather forecast, Plan A looks grim. So what’s the plan A? The plan A is to pass the Lemaire Channel and land on one of those island. But it seems the icebergs and icesheets would likely be in our way, so instead, we will pass the Neumayer Channel and go to the Dorian Bay.

That’s how dynamic Antarctica is… see you at Day-7 🙂

Asana Kusnadi
I'm Asana Kusnadi from Semarang Indonesia. Some of my friends call me Mei, it is taken from my Chinese Name. I was born in Semarang, capital city of Central Java and lived there until I graduated from University. After graduated i worked in Sumatera island and it's been almost 9 years now i live in Riau Province

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