A team of our journalists have embedded in a science expedition to the white continent. Follow our blog as we forge ahead.
We are at the gateway to Antarctica: Punta Arenas on the southern tip of Chile. It took us three flights over 48 hours to get here from Istanbul. And now with the final preparations done, very soon we’ll be setting sail for Antarctica.
My team and I from TRT World: Producer John Joe Regan, and Cameraman Semir Sejfovic are travelling with the Turkish Antarctic Expedition to the white continent.
The expedition is supported by the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology, which functions under Turkish prime ministry.
More than 20 scientists from universities across Turkey make up the group. We’ll be there for a month, travelling along the western edge of the Antarctic peninsula, watching the team at work.
They’ve got two goals: to do research that will help the international scientific community better understand the Antarctic ecosystem and the effects of climate change, and to scout sites for a possible permanent Turkish base on the continent. Within the next five years, Turkey wants to become the 30th consultative member of the Antarctic Treaty – the international body that oversees Antarctic governance.
But first we have to get there. And it will be no mean feat.
Ahead of us lies the Drake Passage – the 1,000 kilometre stretch of water between South America’s southern tip, and the northern edge of the Antarctic Peninsula. It’s a three-day journey by boat, and we’ll be contending with strong winds and enormous swells. It's one of the most treacherous seas in the world. It’s frequently too dangerous to cross.
The reward is at the end, though. After 80 hours at sea, the islands, icebergs and snow-coated mountains of the Antarctic peninsula will come into view.
We’ll be updating our blog as we go. Wish us luck.