ALL ABOUT THE MV FRAM & RECAP OF THE EXPEDITION
Drake Passage Travel Blog› entry 19 of 23 › view all entries
This was day of sadness for me. this is the last night on the MV FRAM. This was another fantastic voyage. This is my second time using this company. I will be using this company again when I travel to Greenland and Spitsbergen.
Our group was the first group to take the bridge tour. The MV FRAM is only a year old. It is very sophisticated ship. The bridge tour was fascinating. I wanted to know how the stabilizers work. The captain’s quarters were just a few steps from the wheel house. it was on the same deck as our cabin. it was very close.
After the bridge tour, mum and I had breakfast. We had heard that there was a ship malfunction in Antarctica. I only way I knew about it was one of the passengers, Joe who was with me at the Vernadsky landing shared his email from his son. I have not been online since I arrived in BA or rather login in FB or TB. I am sure everybody that thought I was in that boat. I did not login at all on the boat. I am sure my friends were not watching the news anyway.
Here is what NY TIMES wrote:
Cruise Boat Runs Aground Off Antarctica
Article Tools Sponsored By
By ANDREW C. REVKIN and LIZ ROBBINS
Published: December 4, 2008
It has been a bad week to take a cruise in exotic places.
Another Antarctic Tourist Ship in Trouble (December 4, 2008)
On Tuesday, the M.S. Nautica, a luxury liner on a 32-day “Odyssey to Asia,” was shot at by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Through quick thinking and quick turning by its captain, however, the Nautica was able to outrun six pirates with a collection of small arms in two skiffs.
But on Thursday, the M.V. Ushuaia, an Argentine-registered vessel carrying 82 passengers and 40 crew members, was not so lucky. The Ushuaia ran aground off the coast of Antarctica at 10 a.m. local time and suffered a puncture in two diesel fuel tanks, according to Steve Wellmeier, executive director of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators.
In a report that was viewed by The New York Times, Mr. Wellmeier wrote that “it was believed only a small amount of leakage has taken place before the flooding seawater sealed the tank.”
He added in a telephone interview from his office in Providence, R.
Several boats in the area were contacted, but the closest, M.V. Antarctic Dream, at seven nautical miles away, made its way to collect the passengers and crew �" all reported to be in good health �" from the grounded ship.
According to Bloomberg News, Adm. Daniel Martin of the Argentinian navy told the television channel C5N in Buenos Aires that “there aren’t any injuries.”
Argentine Navy officials said the research vessel-turned-cruise boat became stuck on rocks in the Antarctic Peninsula, a long arm of land jutting north toward South America from the heart of the frozen continent.
“The cause of the grounding is something we’ll look into later,” Admiral Martin said. “Our priority is to help the people on board and control any contamination from the small amount of fuel loss.
The peninsula, with its dramatic icy vistas as well as its colonies of penguins and marine mammals, has become a popular destination for wealthy tourists.
The Ushuaia, formerly a research vessel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and now operated by Antarpply Expeditions, is considered an “ice class” vessel at 278 feet long, with 33 cabins. It was built in 1970 in Toledo, Ohio.
Jon Bowermaster, a writer and filmmaker traveling on the National Geographic Explorer, another tourist ship, described the situation in an e-mail message to The Times. “We had hurricane winds yesterday �" 103 miles per hour and gusting �" which may have contributed to the grounding,” he said Thursday afternoon.
According to e-mail messages Mr. Bowermaster said he received from those on another vessel that responded to the incident, the main risk was the potential for an oil spill in the pristine region.
“Oil-soaked penguins will finally make the Antarctic Treaty folks do something about the uncontrolled boom in tourism down here,” he said.
Activities in the Antarctic are governed under the treaty, and there has been rising concern about the rapid expansion of ship traffic. Last December, the M.V. Explorer struck ice off the Antarctic Peninsula and sank after passengers and crew was evacuated to other cruise ships.
THAT WAS INSANE!!!!!
After breakfast, I wanted to take some photos of the MV FRAM. I did that all morning then attend the lectures of the day. it was still quite rocky. I saw many people that I have not seen for a past 3 days.
11am �" ALBATROSSES by Simon Cook
2PM �" “DO WE CHANGE THE POLES?” A DISCUSSION ON CLIMATE CHANGE” by Steffen Biersack
5:30pm �" Q&A with the expedition team (Chinese)
I wanted to attend this because I missed the previously one. the expedition team was funny. There was question regarding the south pole if a person would feel different if one stands near it, meaning if your equilibrium changes. HAHAHHA I can feel the smart ass comments on this one.
When I was standing on the equator, I did not feel any different. I could breathe and walk stand. That was a pondering question. I hung out briefly then I left to look at the albatrosses flying for hours and the to rest they just simply land on the water to rest.
6:30pm �" MV FRAM CHARITY AUCTION
It was a bottle of bourbon made for the MV FRAM, signed by the officers of the MV FRAM, the captain’s jacket, and signed by the captain and the map of our expedition signed the navigator of the MV FRAM. I wanted to see how high the bidding goes for on the map.
The bourbon went up to $100 and the captain’s jacket went up to $200 with a kiss on the cheek from Anja and dinner with Simon Cook. It was just to raise the stakes HAHAHAHA. the map went up to $500, it was sold to a geologist teacher from China. Then they presented the prize of the winner of the “FIRST ICEBERG SIGHTING” CONTEST, the “house size” iceberg appeared at 2am on Monday. The closes guess was 12am Monday goes to a man from Germany.
After wards it was the Farwell dinner, we had brie over toast, rack of lamb, and for dessert, baked Antarctica HAHAHHA. I say that because baked Alaska is with cherries. They made it with prunes HAHAHAHHA. The food on the boat I was happy with. There was plenty of Norwegian type of food and brands of it. the dinning crew sang to us to bid us farewell. The XO stood up and introduced the managers of the boat in the each departments.
WOW what a long day. I even went to the gym between the lectures and such. I got a cup of tea then hung out on deck 7 with a few passengers I have met. I waited for my mum to finish packing then it was my turn to pack. We had to disembark the boat before 8am. Which means I need to wake up at about 6am. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK
HISTORY OF THE MV FRAM
Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930)
was the inspiration behind the polar ship Fram, which he had specially designed to withstand the ice pressures in the Arctic Ocean. He is one of Norway's most famous and all-round gifted men.
He was born in what today is Oslo, with ample opportunity for outdoor life and skiing. Studying zoology, he spent four months in 1882 on an Arctic sealing vessel. Finds of silt and drift logs in the ice supported a new theory of an east-west current in the Arctic Ocean.
In 1888 he successfully made the first crossing of Greenland, with five companions including Otto Sverdrup who was later to captain Fram twice.
Nansen married the singer Eva Sars (1858-1907), but left wife and young daughter 1893-96 for the revolutionary drift across the Arctic Ocean with a crew of 12 in the Fram to prove the theory of the current. Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen tried in 1895 to walk from the ship to the North Pole, reaching 86°14'N before having to turn south and winter on Franz Josef Land. Happily the Fram and Nansen and Johansen arrived back in Norway almost simultaneously in 1896.
Nansen was an international hero and polar icon. He became an important diplomat for the new Norwegian nation and became deeply involved in work for the League of Nations.
He died at his home outside Oslo, leaving 4 surviving of his 5 children and his second wife Sigrun Munthe, whom he married in 1919.
Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (1872-1928)
was born in south-east Norway and made his name within polar exploration. He is assessed today as perhaps the most successful of polar travellers. He used Fram to get to and from Antarctica for his South Pole expedition.
Amundsen decided early to become a polar explorer and worked single-mindedly towards this. He felt it necessary to be able to command both on ship and on land, and therefore took his captain’s certificate.
Summer 1896 he was chosen as unpaid able seaman and ski expert on the Belgian Antarctic Expedition with Belgica, being promoted to second mate before departure. During the expedition he gained his first real polar experiences, with doctor Frederick Cook as mentor. They tested equipment, such as sleeping bags, tents and sledges, and proved the effect of seals and penguins as a cure for scurvy. Amundsen learned survival techniques and leadership, and took his first ski trip on the Antarctic continent.
Amundsen’s list of accomplishments is impressive: The first complete navigation of the Northwest Passage 1903-06 on the Gjøa, the first attainment of the South Pole 14th December 1911, a navigation of the Northeast Passage in the Maud 1918-20 (thus being the first to circumnavigate the Arctic), and the first flight over the North Pole �" on the Amundsen-Ellsworth-Nobile Transpolar Flight in the dirigible Norge 1926.
When Umberto Nobile crashed on the ice with his dirigible Italia in 1928, Amundsen set out to look for him in a French aircraft with five others.
Amundsen was decorated by many countries for his feats as a polar explorer, and numerous book and films have been produced about his life.
Otto Neumann Knoph Sverdrup (1854-1930)
was born in Helgeland, northern Norway. He was captain on the 1st and 2nd Fram expeditions.
Fridtjof Nansen chose Sverdrup to participate on the first crossing of Greenland in 1888 as he was a proven outdoor man and ship’s captain. Sverdrup’s calm effectiveness over Greenland led to him becoming captain on Nansen’s famous drift with Fram across the Arctic Ocean 1893-96. Sverdrup helped to design the polar ship to withstand the deadly ice pressures in the Arctic. He took over command of the expedition for the last year when Nansen left with Hjalmar Johansen on an attempt to ski to the North Pole.
Almost immediately after their triumphant return, Sverdrup left on the 2nd Fram expedition, to northwest Greenland and the north Canadian islands. The expedition 1898-1902 mapped c. 150 000 km² uncharted land which Sverdrup annexed for Norway. This was never followed up by the government, but just before his death, Sverdrup was paid a sum of money by the Canadian government for his work there. A large amount of scientific work was also done by the 5 scientists onboard.
After this Sverdrup tried his luck on a sugar plantation in Cuba, before going north again. Although a non-assuming man, he was internationally known for his Arctic experience and was asked by Russian authorities 1914, 1920 and 1921 for help in rescue operations north of Siberia. Later in life he devoted himself to saving Fram as a museum ship, which she now is at Bygdøy, Oslo.
�" Fram Home �" was Roald Amundsen’s base camp by the Bay of Whales, Antarctica 1911-12 for his successful attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole.
Amundsen engaged his near neighbours, brothers Hans and Jørgen Stubberud, to make the house on his property at Svartskog, just east of Oslo. At the time Amundsen’s expedition was thought to be going towards the North Pole, and the solidly-built “observation house” caused many wondering remarks.
The house was in fact designed for 9 people to live in relative comfort through 12 Antarctic months (end January 1911-end January 1912). It was 8 x 4 m x 4 m and with 2 rooms, a 6 m long sleeping and dayroom, and the kitchen 2 x 4 m. Above the rooms there was a loft for storage. Both insulation and ventilation were carefully thought out.
After completion at Svartskog, all the parts were numbered and the building was taken apart and shipped on the Fram. In Antarctica it was reconstructed and anchored solidly into the ice with wires.
The wintering group extended their indoor working space by digging a maze of tunnels and rooms in the snow around the house, where the various equipment for the South Pole journey was made, adjusted and packed.
After Amundsen’s expedition left, Framheim was never seen again. It would in a fairly short time have been covered by ice and snow. In the late 1980s a large piece of the Ice Shelf at the Bay of Whales broke off and took the remains of the house out into the ocean.
�" The Polar Height, referring to Nansen’s furthest north record in 1895 �" was Fridtjof Nansen’s house at Lysaker, just outside Oslo. He started planning the house in 1897, after his great success with the 1st Fram expedition 1893-96 which firmly established him as a leading polar expert of his time. Nansen designed the house himself, and it was built in 1900-01.
Nansen’s friend and neighbour, the famous Norwegian painter Erik Werenskiold, decorated the walls of the dining room with Norwegian folk-song illustrations, which still exist today.
When Nansen died in 1930, his ashes were buried in a grave in the garden.
After Nansen’s death his heirs transferred the property for a nominal sum to a group of business men who then offered it as a gift to the University of Oslo. It was stated that the University could offer the property to the Norwegian Academy of Science or the Nansen Fund for the Advancement of Science. In 1947 it was transferred to the Norwegian Geographical Society to be used as residence or offices in a way that best served interests which were close to Nansen’s life and work. Nansen’s tower office was to be kept as untouched as possible.
Today the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is established in the house. FNI concentrates on international research cooperation, with a prominent orientation
towards the polar areas. The ground floor of Polhøgda and Nansen’s tower office are kept as near as possible to the original appearance.
Colin Archer (1832-1921)
was born in Larvik, south Norway. He was Norway’s foremost boat designer in the late 1800s, and he designed the Fram.
Colin Archer’s parents came from Scotland, emigrating to Norway in 1825 with 8 children. Five more children were born in Larvik, and Colin was the second to last.
It became a tradition for the brothers to travel to their uncle in Australia, and Colin went in 1849, reaching Australia via Panama and California the following year.
This was a pioneer time in Australia and Thomas, Charles, William and Colin Archer became well-known and respected.
Colin turned to ship design, particularly concentrating on the connection between form and speed. He became famous for his regatta boats and for improvements in pilot boats, selling his designs and many boats both in Norway and around the world. In 1893 his first new construction of a rescue boat was launched, which he continued to improve until he stopped ship-building in 1909. Colin Archer boats are today an internationally known and respected type, famous for their seaworthiness. Many boats are still built around the world based on his designs.
In 1892 Colin designed and built the polar ship Fram, with help from Otto Sverdrup and of course Fridtjof Nansen. The design of the Fram to withstand the huge ice pressures in the Arctic Ocean was a triumph for them all. Colin Archer was highly decorated for his various works.
Ushuaia to Antarctica
November 28 - December 06, 2008
Friday, November 28th, 2008 Ushuaia, Argentina
Sunset: 21:47 hours
Welcome aboard the MV Fram for our voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula.
17:00 Embarkation and Check-in
Approx. 20:00 MV Fram will set sail from Ushuaia.
Saturday, November 29th, 2008 Drake Passage
The Antarctic Convergence is the place where the warmer waters of the north meet the colder, denser, less saline waters of the south. As the colder water sinks beneath the warmer, a mixing occurs that brings nutrients to the surface.
Sunday, November 30th, 2008 Deception Island
Sunrise: 03:43 hours
Sunset: 22:30 hours
In February 1819, British merchant William Smith was rounding Cape Horn in his brig Williams when he was blown south by a storm and first sighted the South Shetland Islands.
A portion of the wall of the volcanic caldera of Deception Island (62º 59’S, 60º 34’W) has collapsed, flooding the interior and creating an amazing natural harbour known as Port Foster. Access to the interior is through the 200 meter-wide (660 feet) entrance known as Neptune’s Bellows. There is a rock in the middle just under the water and the area to one side is foul. Therefore the ship will have merely 100 meters (330 feet) with which to navigate. If you hear the announcement “Neptun`s Bellows ahead”, please come to the outside decks or the Observation Lounge as you do not wish to miss this view! Once safely through the Bellows, Whalers Bay will begin to appear off the starboard side of the ship. Whalers Bay was home to factory whaling ships as early as 1905 and a Norwegian shore station named Hektor from 1912-1931 as well as British Base B built in 1941.
Monday, December 1st, 2008 Neko Harbor/ Almirante Brown
Sunrise: 02:43 hours
Sunset: 23:16 hours
Andvord Bay penetrates deep into the Antarctic Peninsula; from here the Weddell Sea side is a mere 50 kilometers (30 miles) away.
Nestled at the bottom of the bay is Neko Harbour (64º 50’S, 62º 33’W), named for a whaling ship which anchored there in the early 1900’s. Neko features an Argentine refuge hut and a gentoo penguin colony onshore. It is also one of the rare places in the Antarctic Peninsula area where one can come ashore on the Antarctic mainland. Please do not enter the refuge. Hike up the hill to the penguin rookery and an amazing view of Andvord Bay but do not continue onto the glacier as it is heavily crevassed. The glacier across the tiny harbour is very active and creates very impressive but dangerous waves when it calves �" please stay off the beach.
It is almost impossible to write about Paradise Harbour without referring to it as “the aptly named” Paradise Harbour. The name was given by whalers who would head here in a storm as the harbour offers protection from winds of almost any direction.
The Argentine base of Almirante Brown (64º 53’S, 62º 52’W), is located on the Antarctic Peninsula mainland near Skontorp Cove in Paradise Harbour. It is named for William Brown, an Irish immigrant who became a national hero in Argentina and is known as the father of the Argentine Navy.
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 Petermann Island/ Vernadsky
Petermann Island (65º 10’S, 64º 10’W) was first discovered by German whaler Eduard Dallman and named for geographer August Petermann. It is perhaps more famous for its 1909 resident Jean-Baptiste Charcot. His ship Pourquoi Pas? wintered in a tiny cove on Petermann that Charcot named Port Circumcision. There is a cairn and plaque from the expedition on a hill near the ship’s old anchorage. There is a 1950’s era Argentine refuge that in recent years has been kept up and visited regularly by the staff from Vernadskiy, the nearby Ukranian base.
Ukraine`s Academician Vernadskiy (65º 15’S, 64º 16’W) station is located on Galindez Island in the archipelago of the Argentine Islands. Transferred from the UK in 1996 for £1,- it was previously called Faraday. The station now commemorates Vladimir Vernadskiy, first president of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Long- running weather records kept at the station show that mean annual temperatures along the Peninsula’s west coast have risen by about 2.5C since 1947. The Ukrainians still keep the bar intact that was left by the British. They have a huge selection of bras here! In order to come to the station, the Expedition Team promised them a few new ones if we can go for a visit!!!
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 Neko Harbor/ Cuverville
05:30 We did not give up on our Continental landing yet! There are only two possibilities on this side of the peninsula and we want to give it another- rather early- shot! So here we are, back at Neko!
Weather and ice permitting, we will begin our landing with group number 5.
As a reminder: Nestled at the bottom of the bay is Neko Harbour (64º 50’S, 62º 33’W), named for a whaling ship which anchored there in the early 1900’s. Neko features an Argentine refuge hut and a gentoo penguin colony onshore. It is also one of the rare places in the Antarctic Peninsula area where one can come ashore on the Antarctic mainland. Please do not enter the refuge.
The Errera Channel is a scenic, narrow waterway between Rongé Island and the Arctowski Peninsula on the mainland. It was discovered by the Belgica expedition and named for Professor Léo Errera of the University of Brussels, a benefactor of the voyage. Errera is home to Danco and Cuverville Islands.
Cuverville Island (64º 41’S, 62º 38’W) supports one of the largest known gentoo penguin colonies.
The mountains and high glacier walls of the Antarctic Peninsula around Wilhelmina Bay ensure that there is plenty of dramatic scenery, interesting ice in the water, and the possibility of witnessing a calving. Enterprise Island in Wilhelmina Bay has the partially submerged wreck of the whaling ship Guvernøren near Foyn Harbour. The 3433 ton ship caught fire in 1915 and was run aground in order to rescue men and supplies. There were no fatalities. The bay is a choice feeding place for whales and therefore was a choice hunting ground for whalers. As Shackleton was marching his men across the ice of the Weddell Sea, his final destination was to be Wilhelmina Bay where he anticipated whalers could be found for rescue. As well as the possibility of whales, Weddell, Crabeater, and leopard seals can be found here and Antarctic terns nest on some of the bare cliff faces.
Thursday, December 4th, 2008 Half Moon and Drake Passage
Ca. 05:30 Our “last try”: Landing at Half Moon Island! If possible, we start a landing here starting with group number 5!
As usual, please listen to the announcements of your group’s departure.
Half Moon Island (62º 36’S, 59º 55’W) is a two-kilometre long (1.2 mile), crescent-shaped island in the shadow of the picturesque mountains and glaciers of nearby Livingston Island. It is a favored expedition stop for its large chinstrap penguin rookery. Other than a short hill, walking is generally easy. The serrated and crevassed cliffs are also home to Antarctic terns, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, and Wilson’s storm petrels. Landings are usually made on an easily accessible, wide beach where an abandoned dory lies decaying. Once up the hill, there are magnificent views of Livingston Island and humpback whales have been spotted breeching in the water between the two islands. Down towards the western end of the beach is Teniente Camara station with its huge Argentine flags emblazoned on
the orange buildings.
Friday, December 5th, 2008 Drake Passage
Human eyes did not see Antarctica until 1820 yet it had been known to exist since the time of Aristotle. Although it has been on our maps and charts and satellite photos for less than two hundred years, it survived in our imaginations for two thousand years before that. Among all the mythical and magical places of the world - Atlantis, El Dorado, the Fountain of Youth - Antarctica is the only one we have found so far. Its very existence is proof of magic. The history of Antarctica is however one of resource rape; first the seals and then the whales. Will there be a third era? We encourage you to keep Antarctica a part of your life always. The people who visit Antarctica may be the continent’s best hope for its pristine survival, as they become advocates and emissaries.