Day 3 - Hello Antarctica! Sailing in political Antarctic waters
track: 60 degrees South, entered the political area of Antarctica
notes by the Oceanwide expedition team from
the Ortelius official logbook
Position: 60°36.6’S, 063°19.5’W
Wind: SW 7
Air Temperature: +2
travel log of the day by JurciTravel
Antarctica is in many ways an unique place. It is a demilitarized, non-commercial zone that is purely devoted to 'Peace and Science', as stated in the Antarctic treaty. It's signed by 53 nations, representing about 80% of the worlds population.
Popular said: "Antarctica is of Nobody and Everybody".
Tourism is very limited and strictly regulated. The passengers of the Ortelius are well aware of our privileged opportunity to visit Antarctica. So with a big smile on our faces, we vacuum cleaned our coats, scarfs and camera bags in the bar. This to avoid we bring 'Alien Species' = seeds to Antarctica.
Highlights of the day
We are in Antarctic sea waters. Hello Antarctica, part 1: we crossed the 60 degrees south, meaning we are in the political area of Antarctica. See 'Antarctic Facts' for more details about this.
Watching the waves break on the bow of the boat. Spectacular to see!
Seals, whales, albatross, dolphins – we saw quite some animal life. To far away for photos, but so great to just enjoy! We also saw an unexpected Shark and Panda, but these don't count as Antarctic species...
We saw the first Floating Iceberg! ¡¡ YAY !! It looked like... a Huge Mars Mellow. Bring out the sticks, heat the BBQ and melt the chocolate : )
Cissy back on happy feet, the patch seem to work well! Thanks Jacco (the on-board doctor) and bye bye sea sickness!
Antarctica Facts: 'Antarctica is of Nobody and Everybody'
Twelve nations signed the Antarctic Treaty at its funding in 1959. By 2017, in total 53 nations acceded to the Antarctic Treaty governing Antarctica, representing 80% of the world’s population. Treaty countries agree that Antarctica is peaceful, free and demilitarized place of international cooperation and scientific research, open to all, with a minimum of human impact. The area is defined as all below South of the S60 degrees.
Right – that as it’s officially on paper. However, it seems to be working. In 1991 the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty is adopted. Meaning that Antarctica now has the status of a natural reserve. Any activity relating to mineral resources is prohibited; only scientific research is allowed.
Due to this 1991 protocol, in 1994 the last sledge dogs left Antarctica.
Antarctica is preserved by the Antarctic Treaty, and that protects the home of some of the worlds most extraordinary species. So far, no commercial-size deposits of oil or natural gas beneath Antarctica’s shelf have been found, although it is theorized those are likely to be there. However, luckily – even if a deposit will be found, exploiting those would be highly uneconomical. In one’s scientist words – it would be the equivalent of ‘mining on the moon’. (Source – Lonely Planet Antarctica).
Not to be pessimistic, but the high exploitation cost might be a core/ real reason the Antarctic Treaty works out… Let’s hope scientists won’t find big oil or natural gas reserves and if they do, no smart way can be figured out to make it commercially feasible to exploit…