Exposed Antarctic Sea Floor – never seen before
At DSNM, we are fully aware of course that Antarctica isn't one of the most popular yachting destinations, however it is travelled waters and we ensure that all charts, wherever in the globe, are up to date. So news of any changes to the sea floor are top of our agenda. Major seabed shifts can often occur and recently German scientists have inspected an area of seafloor newly exposed by the calving of mega-iceberg A74 in Antarctica.
How can you map the sea floor?
Research groups frequently try to probe waters below freshly calved ice shelves, to better understand how these unique ecosystems operate, but this is not always an easy thing to do.
Recently a research ship Polarstern, run by the Alfred Wegener Institute was already in the Eastern Weddell Sea on a pre-planned expedition when the mega iceberg, split from the main section. To give you an indication of the size of the iceberg think Manchester, London or any other sprawling major city. Satellite measurements puts it at about 1,290 sq km. Polarstern were able to slip behind the iceberg and look at an area of seafloor that is now free from icefor the first time in more than 50 years.
Why Antarctica by yacht?
With a surge in explorer yachts being built, voyages to remote destinations like Antarctica are becoming increasingly popular. It is one of the most incredible cold weather destinations in the world, where there are no shortage of amazing locations and sights to see.
For example, the Weddell Sea on the eastern side where you can see emperor penguins, visible in the winter and on the western side there are numerous islands, and you may get the chance to see the gentoo penguin colonies.
Further south on the western side, towards the Antarctic Circle you can see the deserted British base on nearby Detaille Island which has remained untouched since it was abandoned in the ‘50s. Also visible are seals, whales and many birds, as well as excellent climbing, fishing and diving. The best time to visit is November to March when you get the most sunlight (for up to six months of the year the sun shines 24 hours a day at the south pole). Most yacht explorations to Antarctica leave from Argentina or Australia/New Zealand, if you are looking for the yacht adventure of a lifetime, this is it.
More change to come
On the 20th May it was announced by the European Space Agency that another iceberg has broken free known as the A-76, which is 109 miles (175km) long and 16 miles (25km) wide. Changes like this are attributed to climate change crisis.