Week 1-2 : The Journey to Antarctic Peninsula

The journey to Antarctic Peninsula started from Punta Arenas, Chile, where I met the KOPRI’s team, and we departed for Antarctica using a chartered flight on 16th December 2012. The journey took just 2 hours. Flight stopped at the runway close to Russian and Chilean stations. From there, we went across the Marian Cove to King Sejong Station.

 

A chartered flight used for taking Korean and Chinese teams to Antarctica Preparing to take passengers and goods from the beach next to Chilean station to the King Sejong Station

The newly-arrived team was given a warm welcome by the Overwintering members (those who stay at the station for 1 year doing various tasks and maintenance). After briefing and pledge signing, I was showed the room where I would stay for the upcoming 2 months. As a visitor, I am lucky to stay on my own while the Korean scientists stay in shared room.

 

In front of the main building at King Sejong Station that housed the, among others, library, clinic, cafeteria, entertainment room and a few dormitories.

In the first 4 days, no outdoor activities involved due to bad weather condition. Therefore, we filled our days with discussions on the sampling plan, reviewing literatures as well as discussing on data analyses.

We carried out our first sampling on Friday the 20th (in the afternoon). It was a blessed that the weather was very good on that day. Initially we wanted to sample the area next to glacier, but the sea with too many floating ice just made it impossible and too dangerous for the boat to get further. Hence, we have to change our plan and did the sampling at the area far from glacier. Sampling was carried out by the aid of SCUBA divers who collected benthic animals and took photographs of the animals encountered. Two dive occasions involved and after about 2 hours, the sampling was finished. The collected samples were than taken to the ‘igloo’ for the next processes.

Divers getting ready
Selecting and sorting out some of the collected organisms comprising mainly sea stars, ribbon worms, segmented worms, sea squirts and sponges.

Tuesday, 24th December. A fairly rough sea condition actually was a bit of advantageous for us as we managed to get all the way to the near-glacier as there was no more floating ice like the other day. The same sampling processes were conducted to collect and observe the benthic animals living near glacier area.

Floating iceberg near the sampling are

The following days were filled with routine works in laboratory to preserving the specimen as well as some reading and discussions for our next planned works.

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