Captain's Report: Our Journey Ahead

Thursday, 11 Jan, 2024

Commentary by Captain Bart Schulting

Captain Bart Schulting. Photo by Flavio Gasperini/Sea Shepherd Global.
Smallboat drills on the Allankay. Photo by Youenn Kerdavid/Sea Shepherd Global.
The crew on the deck of the Allankay. Photo by Youenn Kerdavid/Sea Shepherd Global.
Deckhands Jesus and Hugh on deck during a storm. Photo by Youenn Kerdavid/Sea Shepherd Global.
Spotting icebergs on the way to Antarctica. Photo by Youenn Kerdavid/Sea Shepherd Global

As I write this from the bridge of the Allankay, we are about 100 miles northeast of South Georgia. Our current destination is Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost town in the world, where we'll take on additional crew. After Ushuaia, our course will set towards the frozen continent, where we expect to encounter the Krill Fishing Fleet.

The southernmost point we will reach depends entirely on the movements of these predatory vessels. Last year, during our previous campaign, we ventured as far as 64 degrees and 50 minutes south, near the Antarctic Peninsula. Unless the krill fishing vessels venture further south, we anticipate reaching similar latitudes in this campaign.

We are bracing for a significant storm during our transit. The atmospheric pressure is expected to drop sharply in the coming days, from 1006 to 970, signaling a severe storm at the end of our journey to Ushuaia.

Once we continue our trip to Antarctica, we anticipate encountering the infamous 'furious fifties' and 'screaming sixties', the latitudes known for their rough and challenging sea conditions. Between South Georgia and Argentina, we can expect seas of up to 10 meters. During our mission in Antarctica, bad weather and large waves can arise suddenly, sometimes making activities on the boat nearly impossible.

The biggest challenge awaiting the crew, as Captain Peter Hammarstedt once said, is the price of journeying to Antarctica. The crew will face storms and extreme cold weather, which at times could make conditions onboard very uncomfortable. However, our mission is crucial. We need to document this plundering and maintain political pressure to push for a zero krill fishing quota. This comes at a cost, but I am confident it's a price my crew is willing to pay to save the Antarctic ecosystem.

Learn more about Operation Antarctica Defense

The crew spots hourglass dolphins on the bow. Photo by Youenn Kerdavid/Sea Shepherd Global.
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