22.03.2016: Puerto Williams

Penguin project

The penguin project has been completed - unfortunately not successfully.

The continuing stormy weather in the whole Cape Hoorn region caused our plans to land on the Isla Noir, Ildefonso (photo) and Diego Ramírez to fail. Although, despite the rough weather, the "Dagmar Aaen" was able to reach the Ildefonso Islands with the biologist Dr. Klemens Pütz on board, rough seas of up to four meters and strong winds made a landing out of the question. Even setting out the dingy was too dangerous.

The islands lay south-west of Cape Hoorn and are so small that they offer no protection from the high seas. Furthermore they are extremely steep so that a landing is difficult even by moderate sea conditions. Under the conditions we were up against, any attempt at landing would have been life-threatening.

The plan was to attach small transmitters to rockhopper penguins in order to follow their oceanic migration routes during the winter. Dr. Klemens Pütz specializes in penguin research and had hoped to visit these islands, which are so difficult to reach, with the "Dagmar Aaen" and attach transmitters to some of the penguins. Stormy weather also made a landing on the Diego Ramírez Islands impossible. Some scientists on another ship managed to reach a rockhopper penguin colony on the Staaten Islands, which belong to Argentina, and attach transmitters to some of the animals there. The islands we headed for belong to Chile and are especially exposed to westerly winds and storms.

In total the "Dagmar Aaen" and her crew covered a distance of 628 sea miles for this research project. The penguins have finished moulting now and there is no point at making another attempt. The penguins have left the islands and are now migrating in the ocean.
Despite the dedicated efforts on the part of everyone involved, this project did not end successfully. This hurts and everyone is disappointed but it is also necessary to live with defeat. Once again it has become obvious that the weather around Cap Hoorn is not to be taken lightly.

Arved Fuchs

Sponsoren, Förderer & Partner


Wednesday, 12. August 2015