I am voyaging to the Antarctic Peninsula with HMS Protector, a Royal Navy icebreaking and patro[ vessel. Having joined the ship at Montevideo, Uruguay, we are travelling South through the Atlantic along the Bay of Argentina.
During the residency I aim to chart my journey South through drawing and the camera. Recording has always been an important part of Polar Science; most pre-photography expeditions would have included an artist. I am interested in whether there is a role for the contemporary artist working in the field. Whilst scientific research provides critical, measurement based evidence of how our planet is changing, can the artist offer other ways of perceiving and visualising our surroundings?
To reach the South Shetlands the 5 day voyage passes through Drake’s Passage, a notoriously rough sea. During the crossing swell reaches 4 metres, although I was reassured this was fairly moderate for these waters. As we track further South a wandering albatross joins the ship, tracking in our wake – the 3m wingspan is impressive.
sextant and gyro
Despite the latest onboard technology I am interested to see that visual observations are still taken by gyroscope and, as the evening stars appear, the GPS is used to fix the ship”s position but a sextant is still used in training junior officers.