As the expedition team had reported on Twitter on February 16, the region where Shackleton’s Endurance sank on November 21, 1915, has been reached. Immediately afterwards, the remotely operated SAAB AUV Sabertooth was made ready and released into the depths. In the Weddell Sea section, this means overcoming around 3,000 meters of water to the bottom.
The following day, the team also succeeded in launching the Sabertooth and sending it into the depths, as shown on a video posted on Twitter. “On Nov. 21, 1915, the Endurance made history when she sank here in the Antarctic,” said Dan Snow of HistoryHit, a history channel providing coverage of the expedition. “Today we are making history as we send down that vehicle to see if we can find her (the Endurance, ed.).” With that, the search for the legendary ship or its remains had begun.
The expedition departed Cape Town on February 5 aboard the South African research icebreaker S.A. Agulhas II. After 11 days of sailing through the Southern Ocean, the ship reached the edge of the pack ice of the Weddell Sea. The trip there was characterized by quite a lot of wind and waves. Nevertheless, the ship could travel at up to 16 knots (29.6 km/h). The ice conditions there are close to minimum extent, which was conducive to the ship’s travel. Ice maps show that the density of sea ice there is only about 50%.
Along the way, another sub-goal, scientific studies of sea ice by Dr Stefanie Arndt, Jakob Belter and Christian Katlein, of AWI, could also be carried out, as posts by expedition photographer Esther Horvath on her Instagram account had shown. These data are very important because there is little sea-ice data from this part of the Weddell Sea. Meteorology, oceanography and marine-engineering research projects are also being conducted. The expedition team will continue to provide updates on Twitter and on the website. We will stay tuned and inform accordingly also via our channels on Facebook and Twitter.
Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal
Link to the expedition website of “Endurance 22”
Link to Twitter page of “Endurance 22” for live updates
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