Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Antarctic Whale Watching

One Ocean Expeditions has developed a new marine mammals itinerary for this coming season that offers a unique opportunity to join an Antarctic expedition to study humpback, Minke and killer whales.

The 10-day trip, embarking in Ushuaia on the March 16, will be accompanied by Dr Ari Friedlaender, a research scientist at Duke University, who has been to the Antarctic nearly 20 times on scientific voyages and whose work focuses on the feeding behaviour and movement patterns of marine mammals around the world.

Dr Friedlander, who is actively studying how climate change and global warming are affecting whales and other krill predators, is currently leading a project to track the long-term movement patterns of humpback whales around the Antarctic Peninsula to understand how they are being affected by changes to their environment.

Humpbacks are the most abundant whales around the Peninsula and there is growing evidence that, while many migrate to tropical breeding grounds, some remain in ice-free areas for longer periods due to warming climates. One Ocean will survey several bays that are the focus of long-term research projects to determine how the abundance of humpbacks changes throughout the course of the Antarctic summer.

Participants will learn how to record whale numbers, help to conduct photo surveys, determine movement patterns and identify individual animals. They will also locate and document behaviour of whales that have previously been fitted with satellite tracking devices.

Els Vermeulen, international marine consultant and founder of the Marybio Foundation, which aims to contribute to the conservation of marine mammals in Argentinean Patagonia, will also join the voyage. He is scientific advisor to the Belgian delegation in the International Whaling Commissio, and is the perfect companion to have on board during this special interest expedition.    

NB: Photo, Marius Coetzee.

For more on adventure cruising, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's cruise specialists. For One Ocean, see www.oneoceanexpeditions.com.