S.A. Agulhas II in National Geographic Pictures of the Year 2022 (1)
Today, 05 March, marks the one-year anniversary of the discovery of the Endurance, the sunken ship of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton. Two images taken on the Endurance22 expedition were included in the National Geographic Pictures of the Year (2022).

In February and March 2022, a major international scientific expedition explored one of the coldest, harshest and most remote places on earth, to find Sir Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship, the Endurance. The Endurance22 expedition was the first to locate and investigate Sir Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship, which sank in the Weddell Sea in Antarctica in 1915.

What a privilege it is for the South African research and supply vessel, with ice braking capacity, the S.A. Agulhas II, to have been selected as the main infrastructural support for the Endurance22 expedition. The S.A. Agulhas II and its crew is part of this very special day in history and to top it off, National Geographic has included an image of the S.A. Agulhas II in its 2022 Pictures of the Year selection (see image below). The image was taken by Esther Horvath, the official photographer aboard during the Endurance22 expedition. The image shows the S.A. Agulhas II maneuvering among ice floes in the Weddell Sea in stormy weather. National Geographic states that “out of millions of images, just 49 were selected as the best photos of the year”. 

Photo of the S.A. Agulhas II maneuvering among ice floes in the Weddell Sea in stormy weather. Credit: Esther Horvath (supplied).

 Esther Horvath’s story behind the photo:

The ship was busy for 24/7 as time was tight for the search. I took the photo on the night of February 26, 2022 on the S.A. Agulhas II in the Weddell Sea while the ship was navigating between thick ice floes. Navigation was possible using satellite imagery over the ice floes. During the night after completing one search, the ship was moved to the next search area. I was standing in the snowstorm above the bridge outside on the deck called the “monkey island.” It was very difficult for me to open my eyes because the snow was poking my eyes like needles. I could only stand there for a few minutes because the wind and the very cold temperatures bit into my bones.

Another image selected for the National Geographic 2022 Pictures of the Year is the image of the stern of the Endurance wreck, taken by Nico Vincent and his autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) team. 

The Endurance

Stern of the Endurance wreck taken by Nico Vincent and his AUV team. Source: https://endurance22.org/endurance22-news/endurance22-gallery.

Meet Esther Horvath, the official photographer aboard the S.A. Agulhas II during the Endurance22 expedition

Esther Horvath. Credit: Stefanie Arndt

Esther Horvath is a contributor photographer for National Geographic and a photographer for the German Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. Since 2015, her work has focused on documenting climate research and scientific expeditions in the polar regions with behind-the-scenes science stories. By documenting the work of scientific groups and the lives of scientists who provide important climate data, Esther hopes to help people better understand what is actually happening in the polar regions and, in collaboration with scientists, raise public awareness of this fragile environment. In 2020, Esther won 1st prize at the World Press Photo Awards in the Environmental single category. In 2022, she received the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in New York for her work raising awareness about conservation, environmental justice, and climate change. She is the author of “Into the Arctic Ice”, which chronicles the largest scientific expedition to the Arctic Ocean of our time, called MOSAiC.

Watch: Endurance podcast by National Geographic about Endurance22

 

Check out the Endurance22 expedition team (including 23 South Africans)

If you have a National Geographic subscription, have a look:

2022 Pictures of the Year

2022 Pictures of the Year: Behind the scene stories

 

Text by: Esther Horvath, contributor photographer for National Geographic and a photographer for the German Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. 

Edited by: Anche Louw, South African Polar Research Infrastructure (Data, Products & Society Node), 05 March 2023. 

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