In expedition cruising itineraries do change depending on the local conditions. Same happened in my Antarctica expedition when after breakfast my expedition leader announced change of plan. Now visiting Petermann Island took precedence as ice conditions were found good there. I donned in my outdoor polar outfit with safety vest. Stepped into my zodiac, along with other members, and headed for Petermann Island.
In matter of next few minutes, I was about to discover new species of penguin in Antarctica, the Adelie penguin. Petermann Island is home to Adelie penguins. Weather was favourable, with clear sky and sun shining brightly, spreading its warmth all over the island. A little relief from icy cold winds.
Landing was along the shoreline of a small bay called Port Circumcision. Due to its irregular topography everyone was instructed to follow expedition crew.
And again I found the splendour of Antarctica at its best. Picture perfect shots. Gazed at nesting colony of Adelie penguins with marvellous backdrop, picture perfect. Then I spotted Antarctic bird Skua enjoying in privacy, picture perfect. Even me got clicked in fabulous settings of Petermann Island, all picture perfect.
As far as I could stretch my vision, I saw tranquil nature at its best.
There were many breeding areas occupied by Adelie penguins on higher rocks. Few nesting points were restricted areas and not accessible from close counters.
Of all the wild places left on earth, continent Antarctica remains the most challenging. Due to white continent’s virgin beauty, unspoiled terrain and extreme isolation, Antarctica is the absolute natural laboratory for scientific researches. A perfect setting for heroic explorations and discoveries.
The euphoria of Antarctica attracts researchers to embrace the hostile conditions of the continent. The reward they receive is in the form of enriching mankind. And in their pursuit of discoveries many have lost their lives in the white continent Antarctica. Similar fate engulfed three scientists of British Antarctic Survey, in the year 1982. But their lives had not gone waste. They stood immortalized as their spirit of bravery motivated all, to carry on with more discoveries in Antarctica.
As a memorial to those three scientists, one divine cross stands tall at Peterman Island. As mark of respect, I bowed my head in front of that monument. They still inspire everyone not to dread Antarctica. I dedicate this story to those scientists.
I have compiled my story based on information I gathered from different sources. Three scientists named John Coll, Ambrose Charles Morgan and Kevin Paul Ockleton, members of British Antarctic Survey, were on their scientific mission in Antarctica. While out from their station, they were presumably caught in terrible weather conditions. They could not get back to their station. All three hiked long distance in search of some refuge. At last they spotted one hut and took shelter in that.
The hut on Petermann Island was built by Argentina in the year 1955. That hut is still there as part of historic monument. It is said that the refuge hut contained ration and eatables to serve as survival package for those who took shelter. The evidence of stranded scientists staying there was found by rescue team who reached there. Unfortunately scientists could not be rescued as they had left after many days of refuge in hut. Understandably they tried to hike back on sea ice but could not survive.
Refuge hut in Petermann Island
Beauty in abundance but fragile conditions of the continent make it inhospitable to human life. This extreme attracts explorers to the land of Antarctica. This extreme drew me, too, like a magnet, to be in the lap of Antarctica.
MY ANTARCTICA ODYSSEY continues ….