These questions have come from Clifton School, York through Emma Layfield who is a future crew member on Leg 10 (Rio-Azores). They are from her daughter’s class in Year 2 who are currently doing a project on the Antarctic.
How long did it take you to get to Antarctica? (Phoebe)
From Puerto Williams in Chile its taken about four and a half days. If we are really fast and the wind is in the right direction we can do it in 2 and a half.
What does it feel like being in the cold for so long? (Joshua)
We eat lots of hot food and drink lots of hot drinks so we never get too cold. We also have our friends around for hugs when it’s freezing. I think the worst bit is getting into a cold sleeping bag at night, it take ages to warm up so some of us take a hot water bottle to bed to warm our feet. The cold is just something you have to put up with to see the Antarctic.
How many penguins did you see? (Imogen)
Hundreds of chinstraps and gentoos, and we even saw 2 adelies (they live much further south where its colder).
Do you have husky dogs on the ship? (Callum A)
Sadly no. Our ship is too small for dogs. Our friends who went to the Arctic took husky dogs with them to look out for polar bears. They used them as guard dogs because they bark to warn them when the bears are getting close.
Did you like being on the ship? (Beatrice)
The ship has been our home for nearly 6 months now and yes we like it. We have everything we need on-board, food, water, friends and even some films and games. On a small ship like ours you can explore places that the big ferries and cruise ships can’t go.
How many people did you take to Antarctica? (Iris)
We went twice with 14 people on-board each time. Clare and James and 12 new people each time.
How cold was it in Antarctica? (Jake)
The air temperature was around – 1 degrees Celsius most of the time which is colder than your fridge. It could get much colder when there was a lot of wind ( – 20 ish). The water temperature was always around – 2 and one day the sea started to freeze a little bit.
How much food did you put on the ship? (James)
Enough food for 14 people for 6 weeks! We have so much food I have to climb over 2 boxes of apples to get to my bed.
Did any of your experiments go wrong? (Monty)
Not yet. At the moment we are collecting some information for the people who make weather forecasts. They use the information to help make their forecasts more accurate.
How many experiments did you do? (Harry H)
We record the temperature, weather, air pressure and wind and wave strength twice a day and send all the data back to the UK by email.
What did it feel like to be in Antarctica? (Ed B)
It feels very strange, like being on the moon. There are no trees or plants at all, just ice and penguins. My favourite thing about Antarctica is the light and the colour of the snow. It’s not just white, it’s blue, pink and purple. The icebergs are bright blue under the water!
Did you run out of food on the last leg of your journey? (Florence)
No but we did run out of all the fresh veg and fruit and fun stuff like peanut butter and chocolate.
Did you see Captain Scott’s grave? (Isabelle)
Captain Scott died quite a long way inland so we didn’t get to see his grave. Because we have a ship we can only explore the coast of Antarctica. On South Georgia next month we are going to visit the grave of another famous explorer though: Ernest Shackleton. He was an explorer at the same time as Scott. He lead two really famous expeditions (the Endurance and Nimrod) and he was also on Scott’s first expedition (but not the one he died on).
Did you ever get stuck in the ice? (Ben)
We had to push though a lot of ice but we never got stuck. We have to slow the boat down and very slowly push icebergs out of the way. This is lots of fun and some of the ice bergs were as big as the boat. We don’t do this very often though, mostly we look for a way around the ice.
What did you find out? (Gabriel)
That Antarctica is really noisy! You hear the penguins near the shore, and the ice in the water crackles like rice crispies, and you hear glaciers calving around you. I expected it to be quiet and peaceful.
What was your fastest speed on the way there? (Cameron H J)
Our fastest was on the way home the last time when we did 12 knots (nautical miles per hour). That is not fast for a car but it is very fast for a sailing boat. Our normal speed is about 7 knots.