Emma Stibbon ‘Rough Crossing to Deception Island’ blog 2 from HMS Protector
Emma Stibbon ‘Deception Rockface’ Ink on paper
After a fairly rough crossing where I became familiar with my bunk we sighted the South Shetland Islands. Sailing into Deception Island is an experience. The island’s collapsed volcanic cone forms one of the safest natural harbors in the world. To reach the inside of the cone however the ship must navigate a narrow break in the volcano’s walls, known as Neptune’s Bellows due to the fierce winds that blow through the strait. The terrain of the island is a striking monochrome, with the black sand and rocks contrasting against the snowline above.
Arriving at the Peninsula via the Gerlache Strait, the impact of the scale of the ice begins to hit. Antarctica is a unique natural environment; it contains about 90% of the ice and 70% of the fresh water on the planet. Whilst drawing I am conscious of the dynamics of the ice movement.
Emma Stibbon ‘Bergs’ Ink on paper
As snow accumulates in the interior of Antarctica it consolidates to form ice. Due to the pressure of its own weight the ice flows from the higher interior towards the coast where large slabs break off to form icebergs. The mass balance of a glacier or ice sheet is where the amount of incoming ice formation equals the amount flowing or melting out. Significant retreat has now been observed in the ice shelves and glaciers of the Peninsula. In turn the loss of ice shelves on the coast often leads to the acceleration of inland glaciers and contributes to sea level rise. I am hoping that during my residency I can capture something of this process of change.