Tag Archives: Antartide

SV L’Astrolabe

   

The L’Astrolabe is the French 65 meter multi purpose supply vessel used to support the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. Her home port is Brest but shes’s normally based in Hobart (Tasmania) from where sails toward South from end October till March in order to transport materials and persons.

Built in Canada, launched in 1986 as “Fort Resolution” and later renamed “Austral Fish”  was a typical Supply vessel for offshore works. 

Canada - SV Fort Resolution

Canada - SV Austral Fish

in 1988 was acquired by the French company FISH and modified in order to become the support vessel for french operation in Antarctica: closed cargo area was added with the helideck on top as well  accomodations for 50 passengers. Actually is managed by P&O.

France - SV L'Astrolabe (FISH)

France - SV L'Astrolabe

Fatal helicopter crash in Antartcica

The AS350 Squirrel helicopter went missing on October 29 after taking off from the French research ship Astrolabe, carrying a pilot, a mechanic and two staff from the Dumont d’Urville French Antarctic research base. Australian and US air force planes have spotted three bodies and debris strewn 150m around the site of the crash of helicopter in Antarctica.
The helicopter, flying in poor visibility and rough weather was carrying staff and supplies between the French research vessel and supply ship, l’Astrolabe and the country’s Dumont d’Urville research base in Adélie Land, in south-east Antarctica. The US and Australian planes picked up a distress beacon signal, and flyovers over the zone – the planes also dropped survival equipment at the site. Meanwhile l’Astrolabe and an Australian ice-breaker, the Aurora Australis, are making their way to the scene .
On October 30 better weather, allowed a helicopter and rescue team from the Dumont d’Urville to take off at 12:45 local time (UTC +10h) and reach the crash site. The team found no survivors, and repatriated one body to the base, before a second flight repatriated the remaining three bodies. Aerial support for the rescue operation was provided by a Hercules C130 aircraft, dispatched to the zone by Australian authorities.
I flown several times from and to the L’Astrolabe’s helideck (shown also in the picture on top of my blog) and it is very difficult to add any comment.
Just few days ago I was checking the position of L’Atrolabe nearby Macquarie Island and I was thinking that the “2010 Rotations” were started… unfortunately very bad.

Mt Melbourne

Flying after dinner (about 22:00) from Mario Zucchelli Base (Baia Terranova)  toward Mt. Melbourne,  an active volcano, to install a seismograph.

On top of Mt. Melbourne

Solstice at 75°S

I just received this picture from Dome C showing the solstice on December 21st, 2009.

(Dome C – Temp=-30.6°C WindChill=-44°C RH=71% P=644.3hPa Wind=5.5m/s W)

Camels in the ice

All my picture about Antarctica (more than 1000) are “old” color slides and so I asked for some digital ones to a friend who was “in Ice” last year.

Here are the Ice Camels of Concordia Base (normaly called Dome C) located at an altitude of 3,233 m above sea level on the Antarctic Plateau ( 75°06′ S – 123°21’E). It is a base jointly operated bu Italy and France located inland 1,100 km inland from the French research station at Dumond D’Urville and 1,200 km inland from the Italian Zucchelli station at Baia Terranova. The Russian base Vostock is 560 km away while Casey Station (Australia) is 1100 km away.

Between icebergs

A new picture from Ice…

I was on the roof of the main deck of the French Icebreaker L’Astrolabe routing South to Dumond D’Urville base.

I was about 10-12 meter above the sea level and icebergs (the emerging part) were much more higher than 30-50 meters!

December 14th, 1911

December 14th, 1911

On December 14th, 1911 Roald Amundsen with  Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel and Oscar Wisting becomes the first to reach South Pole.

The expedition arrived at the eastern edge of Ross Ice Shelf at a large inlet called the Bay of Whales on January 14, 1911 where Amundsen located his base camp and named it Framheim.

Using a route along the previously unknown   Axel Heinerg Glacier they arrived at the edge of the Polar Plateau on November 21 after a four-day climb. On December 14, 1911, the team of six, with 16 dogs, arrived at the Pole (90°00’S). They arrived 35 days before Scott’s group. Amundsen named their South Pole camp Polheim (Home on the Pole). Amundsen renamed the Antactic Plateau as King Haakon VII’s Plateau. They left a small tent and letter stating their accomplishment, in case they did not return safely to Framheim. The team returned to Framheim on January 25, 1912, with 11 dogs. Amundsen’s success was publicly announced on March 7, 1912, when he arrived at Hobart, Australia.

Amundsen’s expedition benefited from careful preparation, good equipment, appropriate clothing, a simple primary task (Amundsen did no surveying on his route south and is known to have taken only two photographs), an understanding of dogs and their handling, and the effective use of skis. In contrast to the misfortunes of Scott’s team, the Amundsen’s trek proved rather smooth and uneventful.

In Amundsen’s own words:

“I may say that this is the greatest factor — the way in which the expedition is equipped — the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.”

–from The South Pole, by Roald Amundsen.

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Looking Icebergs

An evening in Dumont D’Urville looking at icebergs after a catabatic storm (wind blowing up to 100 km/h)