SA Agulhas II departs on 2019 relief voyage to Gough Island

The S.A. Agulhas II departed from the Port of Cape Town at around 10pm, 02 September 2019 and will return on 07 October 2019. Click here to view the voyage schedule.

Who is onboard:

  • The 65th Gough Island overwintering team – this team will be joined by the Gough64 field assistants forming part of Gough65.
  • Scientists from South African Weather Service, University of Pretoria and Nelson Mandela University.
  • Advanced party of the Gough Island Restoration Team led by Andrew Callender (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).
  • Team to deploy the new Gough Island emergency hut led by Dr Guy Preston.
  • Team of the Department of Public Works.
  • Logistics and coordinating team from the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF).
  • Passengers on their way to Tristan da Cunha.
  • Read more here.

Meet Gough65:

Team MemberPosition
Mr Errol Julies Communication/Electronics Engineer and Team Leader
Mr Thendo Sikhwari Senior Meteorological Technician and Deputy Team Leader
Ms Michelle Risi-Jones Field Assistant and Deputy Team Leader- Scientific
Mr Dylan SeatonMeteorological Technician
Ms Siyasanga MphehleMeteorological Technician
Mr Thabiso MaphumuloElectrician
Mr Bubele NongwejanaMedical Orderly
Mr Gilbert KgangDiesel Mechanic
Mr Christopher JonesField Assistant
Mr Alexis OsborneField Assistant

L-R: Bubele Nongwejana, Thabiso Maphumulo, Gilbert Kgang, Errol Julies, Thendo Sikhwari, Siyasanga Mphehle and Dylan Seaton.

Field assistants: Michelle Risi-Jones, Alexis Osborne and Christopher Jones. Photo Credit: Michelle Risi-Jones.

 

Meet the team leader and deputy team leader of Gough65

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 04 September 2019

 

Sound & Vibration research currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II

It is the last week of the SCALExperiment Winter Cruise of 2019. Here’s what the engineers of Stellenbosch University are currently doing onboard the S.A. Agulhas II.

Observations of stern and bow slamming done from the SAAII bridge.

During the SCALE Voyyage to Antarctica, the Sound and Vibration Group has been conducting full scale measurements using accelerometers placed on the S.A. Agulhas II. Wave observations have been conducted to estimate the height and frequency of the waves encountered by the vessel. With this, slamming observations have been conducted. When the vessel is experiencing slamming the team is tasked to rate the slam according to the comfort experienced.

The team has conducted ship manoeuvers in open water while stationary and moving at various speeds. This was done to investigate under which wave states the vessel experiences slamming.

The team is also investigating human comfort onboard the vessel. Passengers fill in daily motion sickness and slamming surveys. In addition to this a head acoustic dummy, Mike, has been measuring the sound experienced in a passenger cabin.

Information received from: Prof Annie Bekker, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University,  05 August 2019

Photos: supplied by Sound and Vibration Group 

Why is the Maties TracEx-group currently on the SCALExperiment Winter Cruise of 2019?

Jean Loock and Johan Viljoen, Stellenbosch University doctoral candidates currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II, gave some insight on why the TracEx -group is so interested in studying the Southern Ocean during winter and the particular interest in the seasonal sea-ice.

“Phytoplankton are microorganisms that help regulate global climate through carbon dioxide uptake as they photosynthesise. To do this they require nutrients but in the remote oceans food is scarce, resulting in fierce competition and poor growth of these plankton. However, within the seasonal sea-ice that grows during winter and extends northwards from Antarctica, a thriving little community of microorganisms exist.

Our team is looking to analyze the snow layer on the ice, the ice itself and the water below the ice in an attempt to understand how these nutrients are concentrating within the ice. It may be that during the summer melting phase, these nutrients are expelled from the ice and provide the food required for large scale blooms of phytoplankton and thereby improved carbon dioxide uptake. These curious cases are crucial to improving our understanding of the climate system in a changing environment”.

Follow the TracEx Group on Facebook and Twitter.

Preparing the Mini Geotraces CTD Rosette before the cruise:

On the day of the first launch, during the #SCALExperiment #WinterCruise2019 .

Team TracEx getting ready to deploy their new mini CTD rosette in ice conditions to collect water samples to study the trace metals in the water column below ice. Photo Credit: Johan Viljoen.

 

For more information on #SCALExperiment #WinterCruise2019  – click here.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 01 August 2019

 

Current event: SCALE Winter Cruise 2019

SCALE, WinterCruise2019

Cruise Date: 18 July 2019 until 12 August 2019.

Do you want to know more about this year’s SCALE (Southern oCean seAsonal Experiment) Winter Cruise, which is multi-disciplinary, multi-institution, multi-national research conducted in the Southern Ocean?

Click on the media brief below for more information:

For more information on this year’s scientific programme and to meet the national and international partners part the cruise – click here.

Check out the following hashtags on social media:

#SCALExperiment and #WinterCruise2019

 

SEAmester IV – photos and more

SEAmester2019, SEAmester, SEAmester IV

On the 1st of July 2019, 41 students from various universities across South Africa have set sail from the Port of Cape Town, onboard the S.A. Aghulus II, as part of the annual SEAmester course run by Prof Isabelle Ansorge from the Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town. Assisting her onboard is Tahlia Henry, programme coordinator; watch this interview with Tahlia just before departure.  Students who are in the marine field of study and who make it through the hundreds of applications get the fantastic opportunity to participate in this 11-day South African class afloat. The cruise travels up the coast to Port Elizabeth where the vessel turns into the deeper oceans in order to travel along the ASCA line. The line plots its course at certain intervals, where CTD (conductivity, temperature and depth) tests are done.

While students are onboard the days are filled with a selection of lectures and practicals, run by leaders in the field of marine science. The practicals give students some hands-on experience within their field of interest, for example students get to partake in CTD observations where the CTD is lowered to different depths at different points along the cruise to measure depth, salinity and temperature. These observations are done in order to gain a better understanding of the Aghulus current. The South African Weather Service also has a meteorological technician/forecaster onboard, demonstrating the release of a weather balloon, while informing students on the data gathered from the radiosonde (box attached to the balloon gather certain data) – view this video to  learn more about weather observations from the S.A. Agulhas II. Other practicals onboard include; dissections on marine mammals, parasitology studies, seafloor sediments studies, mammal observations and micro plastic sampling.

Surrounded by the blue ocean looking left, right, backwards and forwards reminds one of the vastness of the ocean.  Sunrises and sunsets are most definitely a highlight for students as they are able to watch the sun break through the horizon from the monkey deck.

The cruise has thus far experienced some great weather in the first few days, but we did end up face to face with a cold front. It was a slightly bumpy ride to say the least as the vessel had to navigate its way through 9m swells and 40 knot winds.

The vessel is expected to back in the Port of Cape Town by morning, 11 July 2019.

S.A. Ahulhas II moving through calm waters. Photo Credit: Alex Oelofse.

All photo supplied by the photographer onboard the vessel: Alex Oelofse.

Author: Alex Oelofse, Photographer onboard the vessel. Edited by: Anché Louw, 09 July 2019.

Departure: SA’s Class Afloat – SEAmester IV 2019

The 4th SEAmester cruise departed from the port of Cape Town on the 1st of July 2019.

This year’s class consists of 41 students in total, including postgraduate students from all over South Africa and a few international students.

During this 11 day cruise along the coast of South Africa, on the S.A. Agulhas II, students will learn all about marine science through theoretical classroom learning and applying this knowledge through ship-based and hands-on research. Find out more about SEAmester here.

We would like to wish all the students and lecturers onboard the vessel another successful programme.

VIDEO: Meet the programme coordinator, Tahlia Henry.

Note: SEAmester is a Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation funded SANAP (South African National Antarctic Programme) project.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 03 July 2019

SANAP researcher travels to NYC to communicate science during oceans week

Katherine Hutchinson (Postdoctoral Researcher, Oceanography at L’Ocean University of Cape Town) was one of the 48 expedition members, part of the Weddell Sea Expedition of 2019. During this expedition scientists did the first ever sampling on the A68 ice berg, that broke off of Larsen C ice shelf in July 2017. 

Meet all the South Africans that was part of the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019: click here.

Her research ‘explores the role of the ocean in possibly driving basal melting and thus destabilising the ice shelf making it more prone to loss via massive calving events’ like the event mentioned above.

She is currently in New York sharing her knowledge on ocean conservation (click here for more information on this event). She compares the size of ice berg A68 with Manhattan, which is 180 times the size of this part of the city and most probably the best way to create a sense of scale.

Weddell Sea Expedition

Top photo: Katherine Hutchinson, second from the left.

Tomorrow, 8 June, is World Oceans Day and is also a Commemorative event in South Africa. We need to protect and conserve our oceans. Read more about World Oceans Day here.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 June 2019.

Welcome home Marion75 and take-over personnel

The S.A. Agulhas II arrived in Cape Town yesterday, 15 May 2019, after being away for 34 days.

The vessel returned with the 75th Marion Island overwintering team, all take-over scientists (land-and ship based) and take-over personnel.

Marion75 departed last year on 06 April 2018 and they are now reunited with family and friends after approximately 13 months.

Click here to see who was on this team and more about the different scientific groups (land-and ship based).

Note that there are more institutions involved in take-over science on the island, not mentioned in this video such as the Biocomplexity Project (University of Johannesburg) and Observing Dawn in the Cosmos (University of KwaZulu Natal). These projects does not have personnel overwintering on the island.

Marion75 and take-over personnel, addressed by the Deputy Director-General Oceans and Coasts, Judy Beaumont:

 

Marion75, M75, Marion Island, Overwintering Team

L-R (front): Dakalo Gangashe (Base Engineer), Maliviwe Mnengisa (Medic/Team leader), Zinhle Shongwe (Assistant meteorologist), Stephan Keys (Birder), Dani Keys (Birder), Dineo Mogashoa (Winder/Botanist); (middle) Oyena Masiko (Birder), Vhulahani Manukha (Space Engineer), Mavis Lekhesa (Radio Technician), Michael Taunyane (Diesel Mechanic / Deputy Team Leader). Sechaba Nyaku (Senior Meteorologist). Michelle Thompson (Birder). Monica Leitner (Assistant ECO), Liezl Pretorius (Sealer/Deputy Science Team Leader), Elsa van Ginkel (Winder/Botanist), Bongekile Kuhlase (Botanist); (back) Abuyiselwe Nguna (Geomorphologist/Science Team Leader), Jabulani Thabede (Chef), James Burns (Assistant meteorologist), Charlotte Heijnis (Senior ECO), Sean Morar (Birder). Welly Qwabe (Sealer), Michael Voysey (Killer whaler/sealer), Marike Louw (Botanist).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 16 May 2019.

Marion Island take-over coming to an end

Time on the island is rapidly running out for all passengers returning to Cape Town, this includes everyone except the 76th Marion Island Overwintering Team. The take-over scientists are wrapping up field work and packing containers for back-loading  started at this research station.

The first containers were transported to the research and supply vessel, S.A. Agulhas II. Watch the video below to see how a container is transported by helicopter.

These last few days are bitter sweet on the island. The 75th overwintering team returning to Cape Town have to say goodbye to the place they called home for 13 months. A place that was at first maybe something to get used to, and now a very special memory that will last a lifetime. For many this might be the last time they get to visit this pristine island in the Southern Ocean, but for the 76th overwintering team the departure of the vessel is something to look forward to, as they will be able to unpack their personals in their own rooms and settling in, preparing for the year ahead.

The vessel is expected to depart from Marion Island on the 9th of May and the expected time of arrival at East Pier, Cape Town Harbour, is 16 May 2019. The longer return voyage will be used toward oceanographic research on transects between the Prince Edward Islands and Cape Town.

Bon Voyage, see you soon!

 

Photo Credit: Daniela Monsanto (PhD Candidate, University of Johannesburg)

Video Credit: Ultimate Aviation Group

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 May 2019

Marion76 and take-over personnel about to depart from East Pier

Marion Island, M76, Marion76

Meet the Marion Island Overwintering team here.

See below some photos of the departure, more detail regarding the take-over to follow.

Videos

Meet the M76 Team Leader

Meet the M76 Deputy Team Leader

Meet the M76 Science Team Leader

 

All photos and videos taken by Ria Olivier, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 12 April 2019

Welcome home S.A. Agulhas II

Welcome to Cape Town SANAE57 team, take-over personnel, Weddell Sea Expedition crew, Department of Public Works personnel and Nolitha Construction (responsible for the refurbishments of the SANAE IV base), the Ultimate Helicopter Crew and the S.A. Agulhas II’s Captain and Crew.

The 57th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team has returned to Cape Town, after 15 months away from home (see photo below). This team had to stay a bit longer at SANAE IV than usual, due to the longer take-over in order to accommodate the Weddell Sea Expedition, that was incorporated in the 2018/2019 Antarctica Cruise.

L-R (Back): Stephanus Schoeman (RADAR Engineer), John Skelete (Diesel Mechanic), Bo Orton (Electrician), Will Jelbert (Doctor), Forster Mashele (VLF Engineer), Sabelo Biyela (Diesel Mechanic); (front) Hloni Rakoteli (Communications Engineer), Lux Tanyana (Base Engineer), Elias Seabi (Meteorological Technician) and Cobus van der Merwe (Neutron Engineer).

This Weddell Sea Expedition was funded by the The Flotilla Foundation and the S.A. Agulhas II chartered a team of scientists into the Weddell Sea, for extensive scientific exploration on and around the LarsenC ice shelf and the A68 Iceberg. Click here to meet the South Africans that was part of this expedition.

The Weddell Sea Expedition also involved the search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance (click here for more information), but due to unfavourable weather conditions and the loss of the AUV (automated underwater vehicle) the search was ended where after the ship headed back to Penguin Bukta where overwintering members (S57) and take-over personnel of SANAE IV boarded the ship.

The welcoming ceremony was led by Mathibela Selepe (Department of Environmental Affairs, Chief Engineer: Telecommunications and Instrumentation) and welcoming speech delivered by Mbulelo Dopolo (Department of Environmental Affairs, Branch: Oceans and Coasts, Director: Earth Systems Strategies).

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 15 March 2019

ETA of the S.A. Agulhas II – 15 March 2019

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

The S.A. Agulhas II is currently on her way home, after being in the Antarctica waters for 3 months. Onboard is the returning 57th SANAE (South African National Antarctic Expedition) overwintering team, 2018/2019 SANAE take-over personnel, Weddell Sea Expedition members and ship based scientists of different South African universities.

Expected time of arrival (ETA): 15 March 2019, around 08:30

MORE DETAIL:
The S.A. Agulhas II will arrive in Cape Town at 2am, tomorrow morning.

The vessel will then proceed to Landing Wall 1 for inward clearance and shifting in to east pier around 08:30.

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 14 March 2019

SANAE57 Team – meet the Comms Engineer (Video)

SANAE57, Overwintering Team, Antarctica, Team, Communications Engineer, SANAE IV

Following up on this article: SANAE57 Team -currently on their way home

Meet the Communications Engineer of the 57th South African National Antarctic Expedition Team – Hloni Rakoteli. This is not the first time Hloni heads home on the S.A Agulhas II from an overwintering expedition, his first expedition was on Gough Island as part of the 61st Gough Island Overwintering Team (Gough61 team photo). Get to know Hloni a bit better, before watching the video, by downloading the June Edition of the SANAE57 team newsletter.

Excerpt of SANAE57’s first team newsletter – December 2017 (Click here to view this newsletter)

VIDEO

 

This team is heading home on the S.A. Agulhas II, currently sailing through the roaring 40’s (now at 43°South). Track the S.A. Agulhas II by clicking on the icon below.

Track the S.A. Agulhas II here...

Track the S.A. Agulhas II

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 12 March 2019

 

 

Current Cruise: Glider deployment, data collection and retrieval

SOCCO, Gliders, CSIR, UCT

The S.A. Agulhas II is now on its homeward journey having finished all logistical and scientific work at SANAE and in the Weddell Sea (track the ship here). The work is not yet over for all aboard, however. Scientists from the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the South African Weather Service (SAWS) continue to collect oceanographic and meteorological data. UCT and CSIR are both sampling seawater as the ship sails, measuring chlorophyll, nutrients, ammonium and phytoplankton community composition, to name a few.

Over and above this, CSIR—more particularly, CSIR SOCCO—and Martin Mohrmann of the University of Gothenburg and ROAM-MIZ deployed oceanographic instruments on the voyage south to Antarctica (see photos below). CSIR SOCCO, or the Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observatory, is a South African research programme focused on the Southern Ocean. ROAM-MIZ, according to their website, “is a multi-institutional initiative to observe the full seasonal cycle of the upper ocean in the marginal ice zone near the Greenwich Meridian”. CSIR SOCCO deployed two wave gliders, a Seaglider and a Slocum glider. ROAM-MIZ deployed two Seagliders and a Sailbuoy, christened SB Kringla. These instruments continuously record oceanographic data while they move through the water. The wave gliders and the Sailbuoy remain at the surface, harnessing wave and wind power, respectively, to propel them through the water. The Seagliders and Slocum glider alter their buoyancy to dive and sample sea water during their journeys to the deeps (deep parts of the ocean) and back to the surface. All these vehicles transmit their data to satellites at regular intervals or when they surface after a dive.

Deployment of Gliders

With the S.A. Agulhas II now making for home, the time has come to recover these instruments in order that they can be serviced and used again in future deployments. The wave gliders, in a true feat of engineering, are being piloted home to Cape Town. This is due to reducing sunlight available for the solar panels of the southernmost glider as the receding summer light wanes at these high latitudes. This will entail a journey of 1200 km and 2500 km for the respective wave gliders (click here for the update on the position of the gliders). Two Seagliders, the Slocum glider and the Sailbuoy will be recovered on the voyage home. The third Seaglider is to be recovered by another vessel, the Norwegian RV Kronprins Haakon, sailing from Punta Arenas in Chile.

On the 1st of March, the Sailbuoy and a ROAM-MIZ Seaglider were both safely recovered in fair weather at 60°S 0°E. The speed and success of the recovery were entirely down to the skill of the S.A. Agulhas II’s crew and the prevailing calm weather. Next, the Slocum glider will be recovered at 54°S 0°E and then CSIR SOCCO’s remaining buoyancy glider at 43°S 8°E. The S.A. Agulhas II is now making for 54°S 0°E after having sailed to South Thule and South Georgia for SAWS deployments and commitments.

Retrieval of Gliders

For more information on CSIR’s SOCCO programme, click here and for further information on ROAM-MIZ, click here.

Cover Photo: ROAM-MIZ’s two buoyancy gliders making satellite contact in preparation for deployment.

 

Written by: Hermann Luyt, Oceanography, University of Cape Town

Edited by: Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 March 2019

Photo Credit (all): Hermann Luyt

Currently on the S.A. Agulhas II – Sea Ice Observations

Weddell Sea Expedition, Southern Ocean, Sea Ice, Sea Ice Observations

Sea Ice Observations currently conducted onboard the S.A. Agulhas II by Stellenbosch University and University of Cape Town.

As the S.A. Agulhas II is currently returning from the Weddell Sea Expedition and the SANAE IV take-over voyage (current position about S 61°12′ E 000°00′), scientist onboard the vessel are still hard at work…

Check out this video and learn more…

 

Click here to see who is onboard, returning form the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019.

Want to see more video’s? Go to Facebook (click here).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 01 March 2019

Meet the Meteorological observer on the S.A. Agulhas II

SAWS, South African Weather Service, SA Agulhas II, Souther Ocean, Weather

Click on the video video to meet Thapi. She is the meteorological observer of the South African Weather Service (SAWS), currently in the Southern Ocean on-board the S.A. Agulhas II.

Check out how she releases a weather balloon and what data is gained from this operation.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 20 February 2019

SEAmester 2019 Applications now open

Call for student and lecturer applications

Applications are now open for LECTURER and STUDENT participation on the 2019 SEAmester-South Africa’ Class Afloat Programme.

The Department of Science and Technology requires platforms to “attract young researchers to the region and retain them by exciting their interest in aspects of global change”. SEAmester introduces marine science as an applied and cross-disciplinary field to students. Its long‐term vision is aimed at building capacity within the marine sciences by co‐ordinating cross‐disciplinary research projects through a highly innovative programme. The strength of SEAmester is that postgraduate students combine theoretical classroom learning with the application of this knowledge through ship-based and hands-on research. The state‐of‐the‐art research vessel, S.A. Agulhas II, provides the ideal teaching and research platform for SEAmester; its size, comfort and shipboard facilities allow large groups of students and lecturers to productively interact over a period of 10 days.  The 2019 SEAmester Voyage will team up with SAEON’s ASCA (Agulhas System Climate Array) scientific programme on  a 10 day voyage extending across the Agulhas Current.

The tentative dates for SEAmester IV are 1-11 July 2019.  Please find enclosed application forms for either LECTURER or STUDENT participation as well as a brief description on SEAmester. For further information please refer to www.SEAmester.co.za or contact Prof Isabelle Ansorge on Isabelle.Ansorge@uct.ac.za

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS : 5 APRIL 2019

 

SAEON’s ASCA (Agulhas System Climate Array) scientific programme

SANAP Project News: SOCCO

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern Ocean

SOCCO: Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observatory

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern OceanSOCCO. Glider, Southern Ocean

SANAP Project name: How storm characteristics in the Southern Ocean influence inter annual variability of CO2 fluxes

This summer SOCCO conducted the second SOSCEX-Storm glider-based experiment in the Southern Ocean as part of its 3 year science plan. We deployed two carbon wave gliders equipped with our SA-RobOTIC designed and built and pCO2 sensors, which have behaved flawlessly under the most dire conditions that the Southern Ocean could throw at them, which included weekly storms of 80-140km/h winds, waves of 10+m, snow storms and sea temperatures of -1 to 2°C.  During this 2 month period they have taken over 3000 pCO2, pH, temperature and salinity observations. It was a rigorous test for the pCO2 sensors, which have a design feature that is specifically made to cope with Southern Ocean storms. It can be submerged by a wave which will mean that it taken a bit of water through the air intake but when the detectors pick this up it uses it pressurized gas to expel the moisture and continues to provide high quality data.  This deployment was a significant achievement for our SA-RobOTIC engineering and an indication of how our expertise to operate in these conditions has matured and become globally recognized.  This deployment was important for two reasons, it allowed us to start to examine the role of storms in driving the carbon – climate feedback in the Southern Ocean and it is a preparation phase for the SCALE experiment that starts in July 2019.  The hypothesis, which is core to our NRF-SANAP and DST funding, that we are exploring is that climate-linked changes in storm characteristics will play an important role in the century scale carbon – climate feedbacks. Ocean robots and high precision sensors make this science possible.

We have however encountered a problem with the glider deployed at 54°S which is, that while it generated enough power during the peak of summer with nearly 24 hours of daylight, this is no longer the case in February with the sun setting for increasingly long periods – night is arriving in Antarctica.  Wave gliders use solar panels to power the sensors.  The second glider was deployed at 43°S where there is still plenty of sunlight.  In a normal year the gliders would have been picked up by the S.A. Agulhas II coming back from SANAE at about this time but this year the ship is coming back nearly 5 weeks later because it is chartered by a British team to find the Endurance, Shackleton’s ship.  As a matter of interest we are collaborating with some of our aeronautical engineering colleagues at CHPC (Centre for High Performance Computing) to develop an underwater power generator to enable us to make winter (no sunlight) deployments in July 2019.

For this reason we have made the decision to pilot both wave gliders home to Cape Town without the ship.  This will be a journey of 2500km for WG-052 and 1200km for WG-027.  We think this has the added advantage of reducing the risk of damage during retrieval by the ship, which has happened a few times due to the normally difficult conditions on retrieval.  So, wave glider 052 has now left its long term observation position at 54°S on the prime meridian and is heading home towards wave glider 027 which is at 43°S.  It is travelling at a speed of about 100km per day.  The sensors are all working and we will take advantage of this opportunity to conduct an experiment that needs 2 gliders while they are on the way home.  We expect them home in a month, mid-March and we will pick them up in Granger Bay in front of our SA-RobOTIC centre.

SOCCO, Southern Ocean, Gliders

Route of the WG052 and 027 gliders (2019)

The wave gliders were paired with a buoyancy glider each that are making observations down the water column to 1000m 4 – 5 times a day.  This pairing of wave gliders and buoyancy gliders is a SOCCO innovation under the SOSCEX series of experiments since 2013/14.  The two buoyancy gliders will remain on station waiting for ship retrieval in mid-March.

 

– Dr. Pedro M. Scheel Monteiro & SOCCO & SA-RobOTIC team, 18 February 2019

 

SOCCO on Social Media

http://socco.org.za/news/riding-the-waves-home/

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:

SANAE58

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.
Gough64 Team Training

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/#/