Saturday 28 February 2009

Report about Greenland in German TV

The two-part travel report about Greenland, that was shot on MV FRAM last summer will be emmitted on ZDF, one of the biggest German TV channels on February 24th at 20:15 hours and February 28th at 18:15 hours. The report shows the life onboard FRAM, the Greenlandic culture and stunning icy landscapes.

Cuverville Island and Neko Harbour

This morning we landed at Cuverville Island and visited the Gentoo penguin rookery there. Hundreds of moulting birds colonized the beach, and those of us sitting quietly on a rock were approached closely by the curious chicks! As we had lunch, we sailed on through the ice-filled and very scenic Errera Channel. On our afternoon landing at Neko Harbour, we set foot on the Antarctic continent itself, not on one of its offshore islands. In bright sunlight and no wind at all, we climbed up on the hill behind the penguin colony. What a splendid view from up there over all the nearby glaciers!
The picture of the day was taken by Karen McAuley.

Friday 27 February 2009

Half Moon Island

Large flocks of Cape petrels encircled the ship as we reached the South Shetland Islands and passed through Nelson Strait. We spent a quite calm and warm afternoon at Half Moon Island, a Chinstrap penguin rookery. The chicks had already fledged, and we saw mostly parents which after the breeding stay a little longer in the colony in order to moult. Additionally, many Fur seals were hauling out on the beaches. They invade the beaches in late summer when they come down to Antarctica on foraging trips from South Georgia, where most of them breed.

The picture of the day was taken by Karen McAuley.

Thursday 26 February 2009

Drake Passage

Wind and waves of the previous days have calmed down and we spent a clear and sunny day at sea observing sea birds. In our lecture halls, the expedition staff presented interesting talks on the history, geology and biology of Antarctica. In the evening, we were invited by our fellow passenger Antoine Braastad, who's family owns the Cognac destillery Braastad to a tasting of his fantastic Cognac!

Wednesday 25 February 2009


In the early morning, we waved good-bye to our last group of guests. For a change, we were not the biggest ship at the pier, the 'Carnival Splendor' was docked next to us. This ship has 3000 passengers and 1150 crew and made the FRAM look like a small tender boat! Streams of people were pouring onto the pier and into the streets of Ushuaia. Many of these guests came up to the FRAM and asked where we were going. Our answer was that we are heading to Antarctica. Many of these guests immediately wanted to book on the FRAM. But sorry guys, it is fully booked for this trip! Under their envious looks, our own guests arrived and we set sail south. Our trip to Antarctica has begun!

Monday 23 February 2009

Drake Passage

Today Neptune showed his grace to the FRAM by sending us a nice gale, with waves up to 10m high! However, as the wind came full ahead, the FRAM hardly rolled, and thus most of us were ok. We continued with our lecture program and bridge visits, and in the evening, Captain Steinar Hansen hosted the traditional Captain's Dinner. As a surprise to our Chinese guests, he also delivered his welcome address in Chinese, so: kanpei (skål)!

Drake Passage

As we woke up, we had already passed the South Shetland Islands and we were heading out into the Drake Passage. Large flocks of Cape petrels followed the ship throughout the whole day, interspersed with some Giant petrels and every now and then, a majestic Wandering albatross soared by.
We were busy with bridge visits, where Captain Hansen showed us all all the important technical equipment there is for navigation and well-being of the nautical officers (coffee machine!). In the afternoon our lecturing program continued with diverse talks covering the history of Antarctic exploration, sea-ice and glaciers, fish and whales.

The picture of the day was taken by Daman Ranby.

Sunday 22 February 2009

Petermann Island and Vernadsky Station

Again, our day started early, with the passage of the pittoresque Lemaire Channel before breakfast. Right after breakfast, we landed at Petermann Island, where the famous French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot overwintered with his ship 'Pourquoi pas?' in winter 1909. The island is colonized by Adelie and Gentoo penguins. The Gentoo chicks wer just about to fledge and approached us curiously!
After a short lunch break onboard FRAM we continued with a landing at the Ukrainian Station Vernadsky. We got a thorough guided tour through the station by the researchers working there. In order to digest this large amount of information, many passengers finished their visit with a shot of home-made vodka in the southernmost bar in the world! Skål!

The picture of the day was taken by Ernst Gnodtke.

Saturday 21 February 2009

Gerlache Strait and Port Lockroy

What a day! The morning started off perfectly with several groups of feeding humpback whales directly in front of the FRAM. And even better than that, one of them started to jump out of the water several times when he finished his meal!! The weather was fine and we were a bit early on our way to Port Lockroy, and thus around lunch, we went on a spontaneous Polar Circle Boat cruise in between the icebergs in Gerlache Strait.

Later in the afternoon, we finally landed at Port Lockroy, the southernmost post office in the world. Many postcards were sent to all our dears back home, and of course we enjoyed the Gentoo penguins that are literally everywhere around this station! And nobody has told them about the 5m distance rules!

The pictures of the day were taken by Daman Ranby and Ken Tong.

Friday 20 February 2009

Esperanza Station

We woke up in beautiful sunshine, however during our approach to Brown Bluff, catabatic winds down the glaciers picked suddenly up to 10 Beaufort. The winds did not decrease, therefore we decided to land at the Argentine Esperanza Station. We were received heartily by some members of this base and were shown around in their settlement: besides living quarters and workshops they have a nice museum, a church, and finally we were served coffee, tea and cookies in their cafeteria and visited the souvenir shop!
The picture of the day was taken by Julian Bastida.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Half Moon Island

The morning started out foggy, but as the South Shetland Islands came in sight around lunch, the weather cleared up. In the afternoon, we landed at Half Moon Island, a beautiful Chinstrap Penguin rookery. Most of the chicks have already fledged, but hundreds of adults were still present as they molt after the breeding business. In addition, several dozen young male Fur seals populated the beaches of the island, training the fights that they will have when they are grown up and establishing their own harem. The day finished with a memorable sunset!

The pictures of the day were taken by Christian Vinzens and Jane Lee

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Drake Passage

Albatross around the MV FRAM the whole day! Great the see these majestic birds sailing by so effortless! In the evening, the water temperature dropped noticably, as we passed the Antarctic Convergence. Welcome to Antarctic waters!

Tuesday 17 February 2009


Another beautiful voyage has come to an end! We were blessed with fantastic weather, saw many whales, seals and penguins, and made it the furthest South this ship has ever been to! We hope to see you again soon, either in Antarctica, the Arctic or somewhere in between!
In the afternoon our new guests arrived on board. Check-in, get a cruise card, try the nice blue water-proof jackets that every guest gets for free… there is a lot to do at the beginning of a cruise of the FRAM. However, many guests are experienced in this, they are not on board for the first time. In the fading evening light we set sail southbound. We are on our way!
The picture of the day was taken by Margaret Byford

Sunday 15 February 2009

At sea

Also this day at sea was a very busy day: For the last time on this voyage, our university on sea opened their doors. Captain Steinar Hansen welcomed us on the bridge and everybody got all his or her questions about navigation answered. And this was the day to enjoy our sauna, Jacuzzi or gym for the last time!
The bird flocks became denser and denser as we approached Cape Horn in beautiful sunshine! Several kinds of albatross, shearwaters and petrels filled the air, and we had fantastic view of the lighthouse and the famous albatross statue at the southernmost tip of the South American continent! Welcome back to South America!
In the evening, we celebrated the traditional Captain`s dinner and watched the multimedia presentation that our professional photographer Tori Hogan had put together throughout the voyage. She brought back all these ‘golden moments’ of this voyage, that all of us will remember for a long time!

At sea

Even though we had no landings today, time flew quickly with bridge visits, lectures and conversations in the bar or observation lounge. And as it is Valentine`s Day today, we got the most colourful desserts and the decorations that are on our buffet were just wonderful!

Saturday 14 February 2009

Arctowski Station

Time to say good-bye to Antarctica for this voyage! This morning we performed our last landing before heading out into the Drake Passage. We visited Arctowski, a busy Polish research station. On the beaches nearby, many elephant seals were hauled out, and we got to see Chinstrap-, Adelie- and Gentoo penguins again.

The pictures of the day were taken by Margaret Byford and Helgard and Oliver Gimm.

Friday 13 February 2009

Deception Island and Yankee Harbour

This morning we landed at Whalers Bay inside the crater of Deception Island, an active volcano. Landings at Deception Island always have a unique atmosphere, as steam rises from the beaches, and the water that accumulates in footprints close to the shoreline is so hot that you can hardly put your hand into it. We continued towards Greenwich Island where we arranged our afternoon landing at Yankee Harbour. Hundreds of newly fledged gentoo penguin chicks populated the beach, approaching us curiously. There is no other place in the world where you can have these intimate encounters with wild animals!

The pictures of the day were taken by Rosemary Hayward and Helgard and Oliver Gimm.

Thursday 12 February 2009

Fish Islands and Lemaire Channel

Beautiful sunshine woke us up early and straight after breakfast we started our landing at the Fish Islands, an archipelago in the Crystal Sound area. We saw lush Antarctic vegetation: 2 to 3 cm deep mossbeds and lichens, probably some hundreds of years old!
The island is also home to a small colony of Adelie penguins. In the evening we sailed through the magnificent Lemaire Channel, also called Kodak gap. In modern days of digital photography, it maybe should be renamed to Canon (Nikon, Olympus,…you name the brands) gap. Many gigabytes of pictures were taken of the steep walls on both sides of the narrow sound lit in the warm evening light!

The pictures of the day were taken by Margaret Byford (showing the winners of the southernmost pub quiz) and Helgard and Oliver Gimm.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

The Gullet

We made it! We are the first Hurtigruten ship ever that passed through the Gullet, the sound between Adelaide Island and the Antarctic Peninsula! In beautiful weather, the FRAM slowly pushed its way through the ice-filled narrows. Many seals hauled out on the ice-floes and snow petrels encircled the ship. We actually progressed faster than we thought and so we had even time to start a spontaneous Polar Circle Boat cruise among the ice floes! What a great experience to get really close to Weddell-, Crabeater- and Fur seals!

The picture of the day was taken by Helgard and Oliver Gimm.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Horseshoe Island and Stonington Island

Today, we explored Marguerite Bay, way down South at the Antarctic Peninsula, where only very few ships get to every year. In the morning, we visited the British Base Y at Horseshoe Island. After dinner, we started our second landing at Stonington Island, where everybody got a long evening on shore. We got to see a fantastic sunset! However, this far South it doesn`t really get dark, and still at midnight, we observe orange clouds at the horizon.

Monday 9 February 2009

Antarctic Circle and Detaille Island

This morning we were visited by Neptun himself when we crossed the Antarctic circle! He baptized everybody on board with a good dip of cold water and ice cubes and he wished us welcome to his kingdom! A refreshing experience, but Neptun also offered strong drinks to get us warm again. We were all granted the same status as halibut, mermaids and crabs, and isn`t that quite something?
After lunch we landed at Detaille Island and visited Base W of the British Antarctic Survey, which has been in use from 1956 to 1959. We topped this landing off with a Polar Circle Boat cruise in between the spectacular icebergs of all shapes and colours that filled the waters around the island.

The pictures of the day were taken by Lyn McNaught and Mariana von Dobeneck.

Sunday 8 February 2009

Cuverville Island and Almirante Brown

A busy day with two landings! At Cuverville Island, gentoo penguins are all over the beach. As a bonus, we also found a female elephant seal sound asleep in between the penguins. In the afternoon, we visited the Argentinean base Almirante Brown, where we set foot on the Antarctic continent for the first time during this voyage! We climbed up on the hill behind the base and marveled the view over Paradise Bay. It is good fun to slide down the hill on the bottom!

The pictures of the day were taken by Espen Sortland and Peter Byford

Saturday 7 February 2009

Half Moon Island

The morning started off with briefings and lectures, but around lunch, everybody on board became agitated: Land in sight! After a smooth ride over the Drake Passage we finally reached the South Shetland Islands! On our first landing in Antarctic waters we visited the Chinstrap Penguins at Half Moon Bay. The penguin chicks are already big and constantly hungry, and so the parents were busy shuttling between the sea and the colony to provide their offspring with food. The whole scenery was bathed in the warm light of the late afternoon sun and the crests of Livingstone Island in the background shed long shadows on the glaciers surrounding them. What a marvelous day!

The pictures of the day were taken by Helgard and Oliver Gimm

Thursday 5 February 2009

Drake Passage

Drake Lake instead of Drake Shake! The sea is calm and the sailing conditions are perfect! Time flies by quickly with an interesting lecture program and conversations. Albatross instead do rarely fly by – it is simply too little wind for them!


Even the nicest trip has to end at some time! This morning we waved good-bye to our passengers that have accompanied the MV FRAM to the furthest South she has ever been!

In the afternoon, we welcomed our new 226 passengers, this time from 19 different countries. Many of them came home to “their” ship, on which they have traveled already some time before, either in the Arctic or in Antarcica. After having set sail heading into the Beagle Channel, Captain Steinar Hansen invited everybody into the observation lounge to welcome everybody on board. A new exciting voyage with the aim to reach Marguerite Bay has begun!

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Kap Hoorn

Smooth sailing- and therefore we made such a good speed that we could make a detour to Kap Hoorn! Even though we could not land, it was very visible from the vessel. From the distance we even saw the monument of the albatross.
Tomorrow it is time to leave the vessel. We would like to thank all of our passengers for the good mood, enthusiasm and spirit! It was a true adventure tour and thank you very much for joining MV FRAM! We hope to see you back one day again!

Today`s picture is from Malcolm Beasley!

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Drake Passage

What a luck again- and we make good speed over the Drake passage! The lecture halls are full and people have a chance to see the birds around the vessel. Finally there is some time to sort all the pictures taken during this incredible voyage. What did one do before digital pictures??
Today`s picture was taken again by: Franz Zeitlberger! Thank you very much!

Monday 2 February 2009

Neko Harbor

For many staff members, Neko harbor is a favourite spot! It is situated in beautiful Andvord Bay, there are many active glaciars around so there is always plenty of ice and at least one of these huge icebergs you dream about. And finally we had the real Antarctic weather with snow fall! Otherwise nobody would have believed that we were in Antarctica for the last days! You can not come back home and only show pictures with sunshine! On the way north we passed Wilhelmina Bay and there are quite a few whales around us here in the Gerlache strait right now.

Franz Zeitlberger took todays picture!

Sunday 1 February 2009

Petermann Island and Port Lockroy

Petermann Island was named after a german geographer and is situated south of the Lemaire Channel. Two great walks bring you either to iceberg alley or closer to the cormorants, gentoos and adelie penguins. The weather was beautiful once again- it is actually quite amazing how lucky we are on this trip! And now we are still at Port Lockroy where we have a former british base that is today a museum- and the southernmost post office! A double landing was possible and we could also see the whale bones at Jougla Point. In addition there was a chinese fashion shooting ashore- quite a sight to have Miss China 2006 wearing a red evening gown accompanied with rubber boots...
The picture of today was taken by: Rebecca and Albert Achterberg