Heritage Expeditions celebrated a historical milestone during its Ross Sea Antarctic voyage “In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton.”
Guests aboard the Heritage Adventurer marked the 183-year anniversary of the discovery of Franklin Island, home to about 66,700 breeding pairs of Adélie Penguins, according to a press release.
Expedition Leader and Director Nathan Russ commented on the unique experience: “All landings in Antarctica’s Ross Sea are special, but being able to visit Franklin Island on the anniversary of its discovery turns an already unforgettable experience into an iconic moment for everyone onboard.”
This sailing was part of a journey that also celebrated the 129-year anniversary of Carsten Borchgrevink’s landing at Cape Adare on Jan. 24 1895, another significant event in Antarctic exploration history. Cape Adare is known for hosting Antarctica’s largest Adélie Penguin colony, with a last count of 504,332 breeding pairs believed to have existed for around 5,000 years.
During these landmark visits, guests engaged in citizen science initiatives alongside Professor Steve Emslie and Kate Sutherland from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, assisting in the collection of penguin bones.
Russ said: “Conservation and citizen science go hand in hand on all Heritage Expeditions voyages, and the opportunity for our guests to be actively involved in authentic scientific research is all part of the Heritage Expeditions difference.”
This research aims to provide insights into the historical occupation and diet of penguins, correlating these findings with past population movements and climate change episodes in the region.