"POLAR DUKE" 26 MARCH 2000.   South Tasman Ridge.


Upon arrival in Lyttelton demobilization from the GANOVEX Expedition commenced and mobilization for the NOVOGIMEX expedition began. NOVOGIMEX is a German expedition for seismic, magnetic and gravity in Antarctica. It stands for Northern Victorialand Oatesland German Italian Marine Expedition.

14 crew change out and all but one scientist change. this gives us a ships crew of 6 Norwegian, 1 Canadian and 5 Filipinos. 12 German scientists, 2 Italians and 12 Norwegian.

On Saturday the 11th March we depart Lyttelton for Wellington to take on board fuel, as there is no Antarctic grade fuel in the South Island. We arrive in Wellington on Sunday and get storm bound there for two days. It is our plan to meet the New Zealand research ship "Tangaroa" at the Auckland islands and transfer one scientist to us, then proceed to the Ross Sea and do a survey west to the Ballaney islands then into the Cook Ice Shelf. We have however to make a drastic change of plans after we leave Wellington. The German environmental department has not granted the expedition permission to work in the Antarctic without a comprehensive environmental study. As this could take over a year it is a big blow. It is decided to go to the South Tasman Ridge instead. We have to cancel our meeting with the "Tangaroa" and drop off one Italian scientist at Bluff at the southern end of the South Island of New Zealand. We then proceed to the work area.

The weather has been bad since we arrived and work has been limited. We have had 30 to 50 knot winds and 4 meter seas most of the time. We have only got in about 200 km of work so far. It is a frustrating time and we can only hope for better weather in the second half of the voyage. We hope to catch a break in the steady stream of lows coming from the west.

John W. Hargreaves.

Chief Officer "Polar Duke".

In a separate private message John says that life on board the "Polar Duke" at present is very boring and he is not happy that he agreed to stay on board for this expedition.  He really enjoyed the previous GANOVEX voyage and loved working in the ice.  He has cacheted some covers for me with the rubber stamps of the German Expedition Team as well as the "Polar Duke's" own rubber stamp cachets.

The "Polar Duke" is owned and operated by the Norwegian Company "Rieber Shipping" of Bergen. This company however has recently changed its name to "Rieber Polarship" to more accurately reflect its area of expertise. We can expect a new ship's cachet for this voyage reflecting this ownership name change.

Last report from the Polar Duke LACS4.

Well the second half of the trip was even worse then the first half. We encountered one storm after another with continuous westerly winds. These winds ranged from 35 to 60 knots. With up to a 12 meter swell. It was not a good time at all.

On the 22nd of March we lost our seismic cable in a storm. It came up that quick that we never had a chance to take in the cable. The length of the cable was 3000 meters. Although it was equipped with a tailbouy and a radio beacon after 3 days we were unable to retrieve it and declared the expedition over.

Disappointment from the scientists was very much in evidence for the rest of the trip. Although a sense of relief was also present in that we would be leaving the area and heading back to Lyttelton. We had had our fill of the roaring forties.

The ship arrived in Lyttelton on April 6th and began a 3-day de-mobilization. This will be followed by a refit period in New Zealand.

On a personal note I have been on the ship for almost 5 months and have met a lot of new and interesting people. I will be saying good bye on the 10th of April to my fellow shipmates and returning home to Canada and to my family. When I started going to sea and I was a young deck hand I had what I thought at the time was an old Norwegian bosun called " Shorty Hanson" as my teacher. Well even now as the Chief Officer he is still the bosun and still teaching. I will bid him a fond goodbye when I leave.

Thank you all for following our adventures for the past 5 months.

John W Hargreaves.

Chief Officer "Polar Duke"

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John Hargreaves using INMARSAT to download emails

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Technician in equipment room about to take the ship apart

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Scientists discussing work in cabin

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Seismic Interpretation laboratory

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Back deck with cable buoys

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The continuous job of painting

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Shipping container laboratories in hold. These are all temporary fitted just for this expedition.

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Shorty the Bosun -35 years with Rieber

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Part of ship's crew in dining room waiting for mid-day meal. The "Polar Duke" carries a 4 person Philipino catering crew.

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Expedition Chief Scientist Dr Christian Reichert of BGR (seated) discussing  expedition results with Klaus Arne Pederson of Antarctica Services, Christchurch.

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Scientific crew members relaxing in the day-lounge on board "Polar Duke". Earlier Expedition crests, and momentoes are on the wall pannelling behind.

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First Officer John Hargreaves at gangway of vessel about to leave the shipto return home to New Foundland.

Click here to read the story of "Polar Duke's" first part of the Expedition

Click here to see some philatelic items from this and previous voyages

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