30 Jan 2024

Heritage Expeditions Guests Celebrate the 183-year Anniversary of the Discovery of Antarctica’s Franklin Island with Rare Visit

Guests on pioneering small-ship expedition cruise company Heritage Expeditions Ross Sea Antarctic voyage In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton celebrated the 183-year anniversary of the discovery of Franklin Island with around 66,700 breeding pairs of Adélie Penguins during a rare visit at the weekend.

An early morning announcement from Expedition Leader and Director Nathan Russ confirmed the New Zealand family-owned and operated company’s flagship Heritage Adventurer would be visiting the remote Ross Sea island discovered on 27 January 1841 by Sir James Clark Ross.
Nathan said excited guests spent the morning walking in the footsteps of Ross and his crew as they explored the rarely-visited island named after noted Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin.
“All landings in Antarctica’s Ross Sea are special, but being able to visit Franklin Island on the anniversary of its discovery turns an already unforgettable experience into an iconic moment for everyone on board.”
The Franklin Island landing followed another milestone with guests also celebrating the 129-year anniversary of famed explorer Carsten Borchgrevink’s landing at Cape Adare on 24 January 1895.
On both landings guests had the opportunity to take part in citizen science initiatives with the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Professor Steve Emslie and Kate Sutherland, assisting in the collection of penguin bones. Cape Adare is Antarctica’s largest Adélie Penguin colony with 504,332 breeding pairs at last count and is thought to date back some 5,000 years.

“Conservation and citizen science go hand in hand on all Heritage Expeditions voyages,” said Nathan, “and the opportunity for our guests to be actively involved in authentic scientific research is all part of the Heritage Expeditions difference.”

The samples collected would further Professor Emslie’s 15-year study into the paleoecology of penguins in Antarctica providing information on the occupation history and diet of penguins, and would be correlated with past population movements and episodes of climate change in the region. Most recently, this research has been expanded to investigate carbon and oxygen isotope records preserved in penguin eggshell from fossil and recent penguin colonies.

Images: © Fiona Wardle, Heritage Expeditions




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