16 February 2016
RECORD BROKEN FOR FURTHEST SOUTH SAILED - NEW INSIGHTS ON ICE SHELF RETREAT REVEALED
Heritage Expeditions’ Polar Class Expedition Vessel the Akademik Shokalskiy reached 78°43.971’S at the Bay of Whales, in Antarctica’s Eastern Ross Sea, earlier today.
Carrying 48 international expeditioners aboard, this is the furthest south any vessel has ever sailed. It also demonstrates just how much the Ross Ice Shelf, at this particular location, has receded since it was first documented by the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott in 1901. His calculations put the ice edge in the Bay of Whales at 78° 36’ S.
In 1911 the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen recorded the ice edge as being at 78° 37’ S. He built his base “Framheim”, from which he made the first journey to the South Pole on the ice shelf at 78° 38’S.
Recent records from the few vessels that have made the journey to this remote part of Antarctic also highlight the retreat of the ice shelf. In Jan 2001 the Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov recorded the ice edge at 78° 41’S and in February 2015 the vessel Arctic P claimed a new furthest south record of 78° 43.0336’S.
48 adventurous passengers are celebrating this milestone aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy along with an expedition team made up of historians, biologists and two descendants of Sir James Clark Ross, who first discovered the Ross Sea 175 years ago.
Heritage Expeditions plans another expedition to Antarctica’s Bay of Whales in February 2017. Owner and founder of Christchurch based expedition company Rodney Russ is currently aboard the Shokalskiy as expedition leader and will be very interested to see whether the Ice edge has receded any further next year.