Current Search for Endurance Called Off

Antarctica, Weddell Sea Expedition, Weddell Sea, Larcen C, A68

Official Communication from the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019 on 14 February 2019

 

Following pioneering Antarctic scientific research, Expedition reaches wreck site, but deteriorating weather and ice conditions force searchers to abandon quest for now.

 

The Weddell Sea Expedition, which conducted a highly successful multi-disciplinary scientific research programme in Antarctica, has been forced to conclude its current search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s iconic ship, Endurance, which was crushed by ice and sank in 1915. The Expedition’s remarkable journey has shed new light on the challenges Shackleton, his men and their wooden sailing ship faced over a century ago.

Earlier this week, the Expedition successfully reached the wreck site, as plotted 104 years ago by Frank Worsley, the Captain of Endurance. However, the historic expedition, the first to attempt to locate the Endurance, was hampered by the extreme weather conditions. The weather closed in and the sea ice conditions deteriorated, leading to the loss of AUV7, one of the state-of-the-art specialist submersible Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, which was being deployed to locate the wreck. Despite round the clock efforts to recover AUV7, and with the risk of the Expedition vessel, the South African polar research vessel, S.A Agulhas II, becoming trapped in the ice, the Expedition leaders decided to abandon the current search for Endurance.

AUV7 was on the final leg of its mission scope, nearing the end of its extensive under-ice operation, when it entered a section of sea under a vast ice floe and contact was lost with the S.A Agulhas II. AUV7 had conducted what is believed to be the longest and deepest dedicated under ice survey ever, lasting over 30 hours. It is not known whether AUV7 captured images of Endurance on the seabed before contact was lost.

The search for Endurance was part of a ground-breaking scientific research programme in the waters around the Larsen C Ice Shelf and the A-68 Iceberg. The international team of glaciologists, marine biologists and oceanographers involved in the Expedition have surveyed the seafloor and the rich and little-studied biological systems that lie beneath the ice infested sea. In addition, the Expedition has measured sea ice freeboard and snow depth in the Weddell Sea, which will help better understand Antarctic sea ice thickness and its implications for climate change and global ocean circulation.

The Expedition is funded by the Netherlands-based marine charity, The Flotilla Foundation.

Mensun Bound, Director of Exploration on the expedition, said:

“As a team we are clearly disappointed not to have been successful in our mission to find Endurance. Like Shackleton before us, who described the graveyard of Endurance as ‘the worst portion of the worst sea in the world’, our well laid plans were overcome by the rapidly moving ice, and what Shackleton called ‘the evil conditions of The Weddell Sea’.

“We are pleased to have brought the story of Shackleton and Endurance to new audiences, and to the next generation, who will be entrusted with the essential safeguarding of our polar regions, and our planet more broadly. We hope our adventure will have engaged young people about the pioneering spirit, courage and fortitude of those who sailed with Endurance to Antarctica. We pay tribute to the navigational skills of Frank Worsley, the Captain of the Endurance, whose detailed records were invaluable in our reaching the area where she was lost. I would like to thank The Flotilla Foundation for enabling this extraordinary expedition to take place, as well as Ocean Infinity for their technology and technicians, and the whole team of dedicated experts who have been involved in this important scientific and exploratory expedition.”

Oliver Plunkett, CEO of Ocean Infinity, said:

“Everyone at Ocean Infinity is deeply disappointed that at the eleventh hour, we were not able to produce the images of what is without doubt the most challenging shipwreck in the world to locate. We understood the risks of pushing the boundaries of what’s been done before with technology operating in the harshest environment on the planet. Our team worked tirelessly throughout and are rightly entitled to celebrate what they achieved in advancing knowledge and understanding. Not only were Ocean Infinity’s AUVs deployed in the search for Endurance, but also over the previous weeks, we have played a central role in gathering the critical data which will be used by scientists as part of their important work understanding the polar regions and the impact of climate change.

“These varied uses of our technological tools within a single project demonstrates the power of Ocean Infinity’s approach. Having participated in the world’s largest subsea searches in 2018, we have now spent more time operating under the ice than any other organisation. This pioneering spirit is at the heart of Ocean Infinity’s desire to be the world’s leading underwater autonomous robotic company.”

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, the Expedition Chief Scientist and Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge University, said:

“Through the scientific data gathered during the Expedition, we have deepened our knowledge and understanding of Antarctic oceanography and ecosystems, and our observations on the glaciology and geology will play a critical role in our understanding of Antarctic ice shelves and sea ice and, importantly, the changes that are occurring here today.

“The world-wide interest in Shackleton’s Endurance will also serve to convey the importance of the Expedition’s scientific and educational work. This is something we will be taking forward in our Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, where we already display the sextant used by Worsley to fix the final position of Endurance in 1915.”

Dr John Shears, polar geographer and Expedition Leader, said:

“The Weddell Sea Expedition team are truly disappointed that after such a huge effort, and overcoming several major setbacks, we have not been able to find Endurance. We are, however, very proud of our other achievements over the past weeks in Antarctica. We have greatly surpassed our primary Expedition objective of undertaking pioneering scientific research at the Larsen C Ice Shelf. We have also conducted an unprecedented educational outreach programme, allowing children from around the world to engage in real time with the Expedition and our adventures from the outset.

“We will shortly begin our return leg to Cape Town, after an expedition which has been my great privilege and honour to lead. The Expedition team, and the officers and crew of the S.A. Agulhas II, have been simply outstanding. I would also like to thank The Flotilla Foundation, and all of our partners who have all played a key role in supporting this incredible expedition.”

For further information / resources:

Photographs from the expedition are available for download at www.weddellseaexpedition.org

A video clip of Director of Exploration, Mensun Bound, speaking from S.A Agulhas II can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/317146403/dd8de74aa7

Background footage of the Expedition can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/317151349/b77f1f919a

The Expedition daily blog can be viewed at https://weddellseaexpedition.org/expedition-blog/

 

Celicourt Communications

Mark Antelme / Joanna Boon / Ollie Mills Tel: +44 (0) 207 520 9264

info@weddellseaexpedition.org

 

List of partners involved in The Weddell Sea Expedition 2019:

African Marine Solutions (AMSOL)

Atlantic Productions

Celicourt Communications

Constantia Consulting

Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)

Deep Ocean Search Ltd

DP & Marine Assurance Norway AS

Eclipse Group Inc

Flotilla Foundation

KEA Projects Group (Pty)

Kongsberg Maritime

Nekton Foundation / University of Oxford

Nelson Mandela University

Netherlands Institute of Marine Research (NIOZ)

Ocean Infinity

Reach the World

Royal Geographical Society (RGS)

Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

Shears Polar Ltd

The Explorers Club

The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)

University of Canterbury, NZ

University of Cape Town

University of Stellenbosch

White Desert

 

Official Communication, Weddell Sea Expedition 2019, 14 February 2019

The S.A. Agulhas II visits King George Island

During the first week of February 2019 the S.A. Agulhas II, which is currently chartered for the Weddell Sea Expedition, made a stop at King George Island. This island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands. This stopover was necessitated by the need for extra mechanical and electronic parts for the ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) team involved in the search for the Endurance wreck after an implosion of the electronics housing during a test dive. The parts were to be flown in from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the airstrip on King George Island.

One of the views while entering Ardley Cove, King George Island.

The stopover provided an opportunity for the expedition members to stretch their legs on land—a unique opportunity for the South African contingent who never get to visit these parts on the usual SANAE relief voyages. The island hosts a large number of research bases operated by Chile, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, as well as China, Russia, South Korea and Poland. A tour of Base Prof. Julio Escudero was arranged with the Chileans where all the scientific and recreational station facilities were displayed. The team was also invited in for tea at the Russian Bellingshausen station while waiting for the zodiacs to return the expedition team to the S.A. Agulhas II. The favours were then returned to the Chilean and Russian teams and they were invited aboard the S.A. Agulhas II and toured through the vessel. A joint Chilean-Argentinian naval patrol’s officers were also invited aboard and treated to some finger snacks with the S.A. Agulhas II’s officers in one of the vessel’s lounges.

King George Island also holds the Antarctic Treaty Monument which commemorates the signatories of the Antarctic Treaty and displays a plaque commemorating South Africa’s involvement as one of the original signatories. The monument is listed and protected as an Antarctic Historic Site or Monument.

Unfortunately, weather conditions prevented the designated plane with supplies from landing while the expedition was waiting at King George Island. The aircraft took off three separate times and had to turn around each time. The expedition couldn’t afford to lose more time and had to leave for the Endurance wreck site without the spares.

The team S.A. Agulhas II reached the wreck site on 10 February 2019 (read more here). The fact that the ROV will not be used for any further exploration did not stop the team, as they built a new frame fixed with lights and a camera which can be ‘trawled’ above the seafloor.

More Photos

South Shetland Islands. Photo Credit: www.travelwild.com

Written by: Hermann Luyt, Oceanography, University of Cape Town, 14 February 2019

Photo Credit (all): Hermann Luyt

South African scientists on the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019

Antarctica, Weddell Sea, Weddell Sea Expedition, Science, Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Fawcett Lab

Meet Dr Sarah Fawcett

Antarctica, Antarcticlegacy, Weddell Sea

Dr Sarah Fawcett on the S.A. Agulhas II (CTD in the background). Photo Credit: Hermann Luyt

Dr Fawcett is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town. She is a P-rated scientist (National Research Foundation Rating), who is the Principal Investigator of a South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) project titled “A nitrogen cycle view of atmospheric CO2 sequestration in the Antarctic Ocean“. She was also elected to the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) towards the end of last year (Read more here).

We are very proud that Dr Fawcett is part of the scientific team on the Weddell Sea Expedition that is currently underway. She represents South Africa as part of the UCT/SAEON/NMU team. Other institutions involved in this expedition includes the Scott Polar Institute (Cambridge, UK), the Nekton Foundation (UK) and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). Read more about the Weddell Sea Expedition here.

Watch this video (low quality as it came directly from the Weddell Sea) where Dr Fawcett tells us more about the physical oceanography sampling conducted during the scientific leg of the exhibition and the use of this specific type of sampling.

Also listen to Dr Fawcett on Cape Talk radio and read this for more information regarding the physical oceanography leg of this scientific exploration in the Weddell Sea.

Cover photo and video credit: Hermann Luyt

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 February 2019

 

Meet the South Africans on the Weddell Sea Expedition, Antarctica

Antarctica, Weddell Sea Expedition, Weddell Sea, Larcen C, A68

The international Weddell Sea Expedition to one of the most remote regions of Antarctica has entered its fifth week. The expedition reached the Larsen C Ice Shelf on 10 January 2019 and commenced sampling of the ocean (video coming soon), surrounding ice floes, bathymetry and seafloor sediment to better understand one of the least explored ocean regions of the world.

The expedition chartered the S.A. Agulhas II and over and above the all South African crew, a large contingent of South African scientists is also onboard. The scientists include Dr Sarah Fawcett (Chemical Oceanography – University of Cape Town) and UCT students Raquel Flynn, Jessica Burger, Riesna Audh, Shantelle Smith, Kurt Spence and Hermann Luyt; Dr Katherine Hutchinson (Physical Oceanography – University of Cape Town); Prof Tommy Bornman (Biological Oceanography – South African Environmental Observation Network and Nelson Mandela University); Prof Annie Bekker (Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering – University of Stellenbosch) and her students James-John Matthee and Christof van Zijl; Tahlia Henry (Scientific operations – Nelson Mandela University/University of Cape Town); Thapi Makgabutlane (South African Weather Services) and Dr Colin de La Harpe (on behalf of the CSIR).

South Africans on the Weddell Sea Expedition posing on the helideck of the S.A. Agulhas II with the trillion tonne Iceberg A68 in the background (photo by Holly Ewart)

Stay in touch for more on this expedition team – who will only return to Cape Town middle of March 2019.

Written by: Prof Tommy Bornman, Biological Oceanography – South African Environmental Observation Network and Nelson Mandela University, 30 January 2019

Thanks to Tahlia Henry, Prof Tommy Bornman, Hermann Luyt and Dr Sarah Fawcett for coming in contact with Antarctic Legacy of South Africa.

Also visit – www.weddellseaexpedition.org | For more information also read this article.

VIDEO: SANAE58/Weddell Sea Expedition currently underway

S.A. Agulhas II, Captain Bengu

Earlier this year Prof Annie Bekker of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, also director of the Sound and Vibration Research Group, organised and hosted the S.A. Agulhas II mini-seminar. This seminar covered the full scale measurement capabilities of the S.A Agulhas II and the measurements to be taken this Antarctic season.

Captain Knowledge Bengu, who will be the Captain of the S.A. Agulhas II for the 2018/2019 Antarctic Expedition, attended this seminar. This gave him some insight of what is planned by the scientists for the season and how to prepare for the SANAE58/Weddell Sea Expedition and all the operations involved.

South Africa’s ice breaking vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II, is currently on her way to Antarctica on a 96 day cruise (almost a month longer than usually) – what does the captain say about this? Anche Louw of the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa interviewed Captain Knowledge Bengu – see interview below.

The first stop for the S.A. Agulhas II is Penguin Bukta. Here the SANAE58 team, cargo and other research personnel will be offloaded and then transported to SANAE IV.
The ship will then depart to the Weddell Sea (after fuel pumping) for the 45 day Weddell Sea Expedition 2019, on search for The Endurance and also if possible scientific exploration.

For more information about the Weddell Sea Expedition – click here.

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 18 December 2018

S.A. Agulhas II with SANAE58 onboard heading South

The S.A. Agulhas II has departed from the East Pier of Cape Town harbour on 6 December 2018. The ship then docked at customs, where passports of all passengers onboard were stamped. The ship officially left Cape Town 7 December 2018 en route Antarctica.

Track the S.A. Agulhas II here.

The voyage schedule is as follows:

SANAE 06/12/2018 19/12/2018 Annual relief voyage Cape Town to Antarctica (Penguin Bukta)
20/12/2018 31/12/2018 Offloading, fuel pumping
01/01/2019 14/02/2019 Weddell Sea Expedition
15/02/2019 23/02/2019 Back-loading, fuel pumping
24/02/2019 11/03/2019 Return to Cape Town (via SS Island if required)

 

Onboard the vessel is the 58th SANAE Overwintering team that will stay in and maintain South Africa’s Antarctic research station (SANAE IV), while gathering weather and space weather data for a period of 14 months.

The Weddell Sea Expedition will also form part of this voyage – click here for more information.

 

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 December 2018

Antarctica Day – 01 December 2018

– Commemorating the agreement of the Antarctic Treaty –

On the 1st of December 1959, 12 Nations (including South Africa, the only African signatory) signed the Antarctic Treaty agreeing to 14 commands, including that Antarctica will be used for peaceful purposes only. Today, Antarctica is seen as “a natural reserve, devoted to peace and SCIENCE”.

South Africa has been part of scientific exploration in the Antarctic since 1960, the year of the first South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE). Scientist travel annually with South Africa’s research vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II, to the Antarctic. Once the vessel has reached the ice shelf, cargo and passengers are swung over with the ship’s crane. The helicopters onboard also assist in this regard. Passengers then travel about 200km to SANAE IV, which is situated in Dronning Maud Land (71°S, 2°W) where an overwintering team consisting of 10 people are housed.

South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) – this is the name of the South African government’s programme for research in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions.

You might be wondering how we will be celebrating Antarctica Day/Month – keep an eye on Antarctic Legacy of South Africa’s Facebook Page or Instagram as from Monday (3 December 2018).


The Antarctic Treaty document can be downloaded  here.

Also check out this book: Celebrating Antarctica; A Treaty Protecting a Continent. Authors:  Julie Hambrook Berkman & Allen Pope

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 01 December 2018.

58th SANAE team departing next week

SA Agulhas II, SANAE58

The 58th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team is almost done with 3 weeks of training. As from tomorrow this team will be prepared for their 14 month expedition to South Africa’s Antarctic base, SANAE IV.

They will depart today in a week’s time, 06 December 2018, and return around middle February 2020.

Watch this video to learn more about Antarctica, South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic Continent and South Africa’s research vessel (S.A. Agulhas II) built by STX Finland.

 

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 29 November 2018.

Meet the SANAE58 team

SANAE58, Overwinter Team, Overwintering Team, Antarctica

The 58th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team training has kicked off yesterday, 12 November, onboard the S.A. Agulhas II.

Meet S58, our SANAP ambassadors who will spend just more than a year on the ice:

The first day of team training included a number of informational sessions. In between these sessions Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) also had the opportunity to share the history of South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic region with the new SANAE overwintering team (S58). This puts emphasis on the team’s responsibilities as South African Antarctic Ambassadors for the coming year. The team was also briefed about the importance of their photos, videos, narratives etc. which needs to be archived by the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa for future generations.

 

Anche Louw (ALSA) talking about the team’s responsibility towards the ALSA archive and the SANAP website.

Ria Olivier (ALSA) introducing the team to South Africa’s Antarctic Legacy.

Floid Chauke, DEA Deputy Director (Health and Safety), addressing the new SANAE team. Topics: SANAP Adventure Policy, fire emergency plan, search and rescue type of operations and cold weather training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further team training will include:

  • Cold Weather Training
  • Rope Work and Rescue Techniques
  • Fire Fighting
  • First Aid
  • Cooking
  • Team Development activities
  • Dental Examination
  • Clothing Fitment and issuing
  • Occupational Health and Safety Talks
  • Environmental Talks
  • Pre-departure arrangements
  • Protective Clothing
  • Warehouse Procedures & packing of containers
  • Asset Management
  • Tasks & Projects
  • Responsibilities
  • A. Agulhas II – voyage to Antarctica
  • Logistics and voyage information
  • Stock take and Orders, Food Management
  • Monthly and annual reports, Newsletter
  • Team Leader & Management
  • Employee Health and Wellness & Labour Relations Talk

Team training will be until the 30th of November, which will give the team a few days with family and friend before they depart to Antarctica on 6 December.

Click here to view the S.A Agulhas II Voyage Schedule.

Featured Image: L-R (Back): Anche Louw (ALSA), Mpati Boleme (SANSA VLF Engineer), Jufter Munyai (DEA Electrical Engineer), Marvin Rankuda (Senior Meteorological Technician), Bongisipho Kuali (DEA Mechanical Engineer), Ria Olivier (ALSA), Sanele Mkhize (DEA Diesel Mechanic); (Front) Travis Duck (SANSA Radar Engineer), Ewald Ferreira (Communications Engineer), Jacques Robbertze (DEA Diesel Mechanic).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 13 November 2018

Day 2 of the S.A. Agulhas II Mini-seminar

SA Agulhas II

Today is the second and last day of the S.A. Agulhas II Mini-Seminar, held in Stellenbosch.

We aim to dig deeper into the technical side of things today, looking at: ice measurements and navigation, vibration and vessel motion. The proposed Polar Observatory as well as robotics and related topics will also be tackled.

Follow ALSA on social media (#DIGSAA2)

S.A. Agulhas II Mini-seminar

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, 18 October 2018

Weddell Sea Expedition planning meeting

The Weddell Sea Expedition planning meeting is currently underway (9 & 10 October) at the Scott Polar Institute, Cambridge, UK.
South Africa should be extremely proud that our polar vessel, the S.A. Agulhas II, will be used for this voyage. A major part of this expedition will involve the search for Shackleton’s lost ship, the Endurance, which sank in the Weddell Sea in 1915. For more information on the Weddell Sea Expedition, click here.

L-R: Tommy Bornman, Sarah Fawcett, Terence Padayachee, Freddie Lighthelm and Annie Bekker (front). Photo credit: Annie Bekker

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 10 October 2018

The 63rd Gough Island team on their way home

63rd Gough Island Overwintering team ready to leave the island. Photo received from: Michelle Risi

The S.A. Agulhas II has departed from Gough Island, yesterday afternoon.

The 64th Gough Island overwintering team will now do the honours of taking care of the South African weather station and the collection of various field and meteorological data.

We would like to wish the team a successful year on the island. May you prosper and achieve all the goals set for you during this take-over.

The S.A. Agulhas II is currently on her way to Tristan da Cunha, where a 48 hour stop-over will made to back-load cargo and passengers. The expected time of departure (ETD) at Tristan da Cunha is 06 October 2018 and the expected time of arrival (ETA) in Cape Town is 11 October 2018.

The 64th Gough Island Overwintering team excited to take over the responsibilities of managing and maintaining the Gough Base for the next 13 months. Photo credit: Michelle Risi

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 02 October 2018

UPDATE: The S.A. Agulhas II has departed this morning

SA Agulhas II

SA Agulhas II

All passengers and crew on-board the S.A Agulhas II have gone through customs and the ship departed from Cape Town harbour mid-morning today, 07 September 2018.

Destination: Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island.

Please click here to view the original voyage schedule – dates might change due to late departure.

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 07 September 2018

 

UPDATE: Sailing time for the S.A. Agulhas II not finalised

The S.A. Agulhas II will not be leaving the harbour today.

This sailing schedule will be amended as soon as we have more information.

 

Gough Island/ Tristan da Cunha S.A. Agulhas Voyage Schedule 2018

DESTINATIONETD CPTETA BASEETD BASEETA CPTREMARKS
Tristan da Cunha06/09/201814/09/2018Voyage to Tristan da Cunha.
60 Hour stop-over to discharge cargo and passengers
Gough Island15/09/2018Voyage to Gough Island
Offload passengers/cargo/fuel
Buoy run21/09/20186 Day buoy deployment
Gough Island27/09/201802/10/2018Back-load cargo/passengers
Tristan da Cunha03/10/201806/10/201811/10/201848 Hour stop-over at Tristan, back-load cargo/passengers.
Voyage to Cape Town
S.A. Agulhas II Voyage Schedule - Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

 

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 06 September 2018

Gough 64 departing tomorrow, 6 September 2018

Gough Island 64
Gough64 Team, Team Buff and Team Logo

64th Gough Island Overwintering Team

NamePosition
Xolani NyawoCommunications Engineer - Team Leader
Michelle Risi Birder - Deputy Team Leader
Alexis Osborne Birder
Catherine Mokotji MbazwanaMedic
Christopher JonesBirder
Kabelo MoabiMeteorologist
Karabo Mokwena Meteorologist
Michael NgengangimbiMeteorologist
Innocent MthetwaDiesel Mechanic
Patrick Hlongwane Electrician
Click here to meet the team.

Photo Credit: Michelle Risi (Gough64 Birder).

Author: Anche Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 05 September 2018

64th Gough Overwintering Team – Training

Team training for the 64th Gough Island Overwintering Team commenced on the 13th of August and today the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) joined the training.

During this session the team received historical background (in the form of a timeline) on South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic (SANAE base), sub-Antarctic (Marion base), but most importantly Gough Island – where this team will depart to in 3 weeks’ time.

This team will now become part of South Africa’s Antarctic Legacy and we wish them all the best for their journey on the island.

Click here to download the Gough64 team training schedule.

Meet the 64th Gough Island Overwintering team:

Author: Anché Louw (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 20 August 2018

South Africa’s class afloat – SEAmester

SEAmester, class afloat, floating university, SA Agulhas II

“It seems almost yesterday that I approached the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) to consider funding a Floating University that would be open to all University and Technikon postgraduate students” says Associate Professor and Head of Oceanography Isabelle Ansorge “and here we are planning our third year”!

SEAmester aims to introduce marine science as an applied and cross-disciplinary field to students who have shown an affinity for these core science disciplines. It combines traditional class-room lectures with hands-on ship-based deck activities for the students, while providing them with opportunities to network with and support specialist scientists in recognised marine research activities. The programme strives to gain greater awareness of the oceans’ physical and ecological response to climate change. To date, since the first cruise in 2016 over 120 students from 23 universities and technikons around South Africa as well as over 54 lecturers have participated in SEAmester. As an example – the lectures range from space weather to ocean plastics to marine microbiology to ocean instrumentation. Going hand-in-hand with the lectures are specially designed experiments which are linked to the mornings classroom lecture – so for plastics the students then spend a few hours towing a net over the side, after a lecture on the seafloor we tow a dredge to see what comes up from over 400 m deep, students learn to count seabirds, study and forecast weather patterns and get to grips with calibrating oceanographic data.

What makes SEAmester so unique is that its open to any national postgraduate student. In the past access to the SA Agulhas II was only possible if your supervisor had a grant through the South African National Antarctic Programme – Naturally this was limited to only a few Universities who undertook polar research – so this meant that students studying mangrove swamps at the University of Zululand for instance would never have a chance to go onboard the SA Agulhas II – SEAmester removes those restrictions! The participating students come from a range of backgrounds and for majority of these students it is their first time out at sea – a truly life changing event! SEAmester is funded until 2020 but its hoped to become a flagship DST project in marine education.

The next cruise: 16 July – 27 July 2018 (click here for more information).

 

Professor Isabelle Ansorge and Tahlia Henry, Oceanography Department University of Cape Town, 02 July 2018

S.A. Agulhas II Open Day

The Department of Environmental Affairs invites you to bring your entire family to come and experience a fun-filled day at the SA Agulhas II Open Day:

Date: 09 June 2018
Venue: Port of Durban
Open 09h00 – Close 15h00

You and your family will have the unique opportunity of taking a tour of the SA Agulhas II research vessel. We also have our partners from the marine and maritime industry who will showcase their environmental work and scientific work.

The event is suitable for all ages, and our venue is wheelchair friendly.

Download your  FREE ticket from:

https://www.quicket.co.za/events/47107-sa-agulhas-ii-open-day/#/