- Bangladesh diaries: tales of a trainee tiger conservationist
- Okapi camera-trapping
- Introducing the Tiger Team
- The big picture of tiger conservation
- Visiting my Chagossian heritage – Yannick Mandarin
- Bulletin ZSL Cameroon July-September, 2013
- Poaching Across The Generations
- Black Rhino Expedition in Zambia Part 2 (Elephants at lunch!)
- Black Rhino Expedition in Zambia Part 1 (Hyenas in the kitchen!)
- A Farewell from the Tobago Expedition 2013 Team
- Jack: thank you for sharing. I am a keen follower of the...
- NGALAGOU Charles: fauna conservation in our country has a long way ...
- Rob van Loon: Interesting project,the best of luck in conserving...
- Jo: Mangroves are also important fish nurseries....
- Darshan Patel: Exciting stuff! All the best in saving the okapi -...
En route to the Peninsula
Posted on February 20, 2012
ZSL scientist Ben Collen heads down to Argentina to join Penguinologist Tom Hart for their trip down to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Tom and I have just met up in Ushuaia – referred to on the posters as ‘the end of the world’. Feels strange then, that it’s our starting off point. Ushuaia sits right on the edge of the Beagle channel, nestled among the mountains at the far Southern end of Tierra del Fuego. Despite it being the height of summer, the wind whistles over the glaciers making it bright and cold.
Tom was looking a bit jaded from his long trip hiking around South Georgia, but has had some time to rest in Ushuaia. To our amusement, a good dose of proper English breakfast tea, smuggled in from the UK, has brought him round. We have had 5 days in Ushuaia, and today we catch our ship for the trip down to the Antarctic Peninsula, and are raring to go.
We’ve been preparing kit for the trip, making sure that all the cameras are up and running, and that we have all the appropriate bits and pieces for genetic sampling. We have also been designing a new more secure mounting system for the tripods which hold the cameras. Despite our realisation that the rigors of an Antarctic winter would profoundly test the fixings for the cameras that we deployed last year, we had no idea that they would suffer so much from the freeze-thaw cycles of temperature change that are present in South Georgia. A couple of changes should fix that.
During our stay in Ushuaia, we’ve been hosted by the Centro Austral de Investigaciones Cientificas. We have had a series of meetings with the scientists here, and given a talk on the work that we are conducting on this trip. The talk went down really well; someone even bought their mum along (no, seriously), such was the draw of having ZSL’s premier penguinologist in town.
News from the peninsula is that the pack ice has been slow to break up this year, which may slow our progress south. We’ve met up with Duncan, one of the Expedition Leaders we worked with last year. He described his last crossing of the Drake Passage, one of the more infamous stretches of water in this region, as ‘the worst he has ever had’. Oh good. Let’s hope the wind calms down as we head out of port.