At Sea, Scotia Sea

Feb 24, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

The Scotia Sea gained notoriety from the Shackleton expedition where a rescue party made a treacherous voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia about a century ago. Today the Scotia Sea was remarkably calm with just a slight swell, a light breeze, and blue skies from horizon to horizon. To step out on deck, however, was to be reminded that we were still very much in the frigid grip of the Southern Ocean. We sailed over the abyssal plain (3000m deep) where sea life was more sparsely distributed compared with previous days. That said, we were still treated to views of fin and humpback whales and a high diversity of birds, including our first glimpse of king penguins!

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About the Author

Conor Ryan


Hailing from Cobh in the south of Ireland, Conor Ryan grew up on the shores of Cork Harbour where his fascination with the sea led him to study zoology at University College Cork. He continued his studies in marine biology in Galway, where he completed his Ph.D. thesis on the diet and population structure of baleen whales in the Celtic Sea using stable isotope analysis. His research also brought him to Cape Verde in search of the breeding grounds of humpback whales that frequent the coasts of Ireland. However these whales have not yet given up their secret!

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