27 Jan 2017

SHOKALSKIY: Sailing Over the South Magnetic Pole

After an ocean crossing south to write home about with only 12 hours of rough seas as we departed Macquarie Island for Antarctica, it has just got better and better and better each day. We sailed from one high pressure system to the next and have made great speed south.


At 1510hrs on 26 January 2017 the cry of 'ICEBERG AHEAD' came across the intercom system, we all rushed out on deck to get our first sightings of an Iceberg and man it was an amazing one at that, tall, big and deep blue colours as Captain circled with the vessel at 1745hrs, yes it was that big that we picked up the iceberg 26nm away.


We kept sailing south towards Antarctica with anticipation in the air that we were getting close to Antarctica.  Our Expedition Leader Nathan Russ had informed us that we were changing course a few degrees to Port to set a new course for one of the world’s great Poles, Yes we were going to sail across the South Magnetic Pole, more people would have claimed to the top of Mt Everest’s than visited the South Magnetic Pole.  At 0030hrs on the 27 January 2017 we sailed across the South Magnetic Pole, we were all out on deck as we crossed the pole with the staff holding up flags from all nations onboard.  


We are now sailing thought light pack ice with Humpback whales around us, from 0830hrs until 0945hrs when I push sent on this blog we have had over 8 Humpback whales close to the vessel.


Background details on South Magnetic Pole:

By the beginning of the neighteeth century, the German mathematician Gauss, assigned a probable position of the South Magnetic pole at 66°S and 146°E. Different expeditions where send South to try to locate it such as the French with Dumont d’Urville, the American with Wilkes and the British with James Clark Ross. In January 1841, Ross pushed his two ships Erebus and Terror through the ice and enter and discover the later named Ross Sea. He sailed as far as a ship could go discovering the “Great Barrier”, Ross Island and other features in the regions. The British Leader tried for two summer seasons go approach the South Magnetic Pole, before he realized and carefully assigned the position of the pole at 75°5’S and 154°8’E.  In October 1908, three men, parts of the Nimrod Expeditions lead by Ernest Shackleton, left their hut at Cape Royds for an attempt to the pole. On the 16th of January 1909, Alistair Mackay, Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson, took a photo of themselves at the pole calculated at 72°25'S 155°16'E.


©SBlanc East Antarctica

Photo (from file): SBlanc



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