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2021 - Antarctic voyage

RV Tangaroa undertook a 45-day voyage to the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea (10 January - 16 February, 2021)

Scientists carried out nine separate objectives to better understand the processes governing this region and the role of the Marine Protected Area (established in December 2017) in protecting this environment. These included surveys of fish species and seabed habitats, ecosystem studies of plankton, oceanographic and atmospheric measurements to improve understanding of climate-related processes, and making observations of whales. 

Plankton in the Ross Sea

Plankton are the base of the oceans food web and are vital to our survival. But as our world changes will they be able to continue to play this essential role? Join us as we follow a group of NIWA scientists investigating various aspects of this question in the ocean around Antarctica.

Life under the Ross Sea ice

NIWA researchers are using remote underwater cameras to uncover the rich diversity of life under the Ross Sea and they are amazed at what they are finding in these chilly Antarctic waters.

Examining biodiversity and ocean dynamics

Researchers are working their way through a wealth of new Antarctic marine data after RV Tangaroa successfully completed its five week scientific voyage to the Ross Sea.

Science update 5 from Richard O’Driscoll

Day 34 of the Ross Sea Life in a Changing Climate (ReLiCC) 2021 voyage on RV Tangaroa. We are back in New Zealand waters and due to arrive in Wellington on the morning of Monday 15 Feb.

Voyage update 5 from Evan Solly, Ice Pilot

Departed all the wonderful coastal scenery and moved east out into the Ross sea polynya

Powering diversity in the Ross Sea

Fisheries scientist Dr Pablo Escobar-Flores delves into Antarctic mesopelagic science with a look at the small animals and organisms that help power the amazing diversity of life in the Ross Sea.

Eavesdropping on sperm whales in Antarctica

The moorings team is bringing back precious data from long-term underwater listening devices which the researchers are using to search for signs that sperm whales are finally returning in numbers to the Ross Sea.

Science update 4 from Richard O’Driscoll

We are now four weeks into the Ross Sea Life in a Changing Climate (ReLiCC) 2021 voyage on RV Tangaroa and our time in the Ross Sea is rapidly coming to an end.

Message in a bottle: Glen Walker

Glen Walker is the bosun aboard NIWA’s research vessel Tangaroa currently exploring the waters around Antarctica. His reading list is exclusively sea disaster stories.

Voyage update 4 from Evan Solly, Ice Pilot

The clear sky and exceptional visibility made our approach to Woods Bay very memorable with Mount Melbourne dead ahead and Mount Murchison on our starboard beam.

NIWA's Sarah Searson and Jennie Mowatt

If you want to get accurate scientific readings from the icy depths of the Ross Sea, who do you turn to?

Message in a bottle: Alexander Hayward

Sitting in the library of the R.V. Tangaroa, I’m contemplating the (almost) three weeks spent at sea. From the nauseating swell of the ferocious fifties to the mornings when I’ve woken to beautiful vistas of Antarctic mountains.

Marissa Judkins navigating the "ice bridge"

Marissa Judkins is second mate on RV Tangaroa. Watch her navigating through the "ice bridge" in Antarctica's Ross Sea for the first time.

Message in a bottle: Dr Jenny Visser

This is now my eighth voyage to Antarctica on Tangaroa. While my medical skills have been called on many occasions, my daily consultation rate at sea is low. So, I fill my time with other activities including getting involved in the science if needed.

RV Tangaroa's emergency food rations

These are barrels you don't want to be opening, but if things go south, it’s nice to know they’re there.

Message in a bottle: Sarah Seabrook

It is interesting to watch all of the pieces of our science story come together with each day’s water sampling and our long term experiments.

Science update 3 from Richard O’Driscoll

Day 20 and we are now more than halfway through the Ross Sea Life in a Changing Climate (ReLiCC) 2021 voyage on RV Tangaroa.

Science update 2 from Richard O’Driscoll

Day 13 of the Ross Sea Life in a Changing Climate (ReLiCC) 2021 voyage on RV Tangaroa finds us close to Cape Adare on the tip of the Antarctic continent. We’ve had a busy and icy week.

Science update 1 from Richard O’Driscoll

We have officially entered Antarctic waters! Five days after leaving Wellington on the Ross Sea Life in a Changing Climate (ReLiCC) 2021 voyage.

Scientists on the trail of elusive sperm whales

When scientists head south to Antarctica on board NIWA research vessel Tangaroa next month, they’ll be keeping a close eye out for an animal that is particularly good at staying out of sight.

Our research vessel

RV Tangaroa is New Zealand’s only ice strengthened and dynamically positioned deep-water research vessel.

Message in a bottle: Stuart Mackay

Antarctica is an incredibly pristine place; we are here to do good science and leave no trace. So, you can imagine my horror as I watched my camera start to float away from the boat.

Voyage update 3 from Evan Solly, Ice Pilot

Numerous sightings of minke whales today while target identification mid-water trawls were being made on krill and fish layers beneath Tangaroa.

Voyage update 2 from Evan Solly, Ice Pilot

Tue 19th: At 00:00 this morning we came across an extremely large tabular iceberg. It was easily picked up on the ship’s radar but due to the foggy conditions was only visible at a range of 1.7 miles.

Voyage update 1 from Evan Solly, Ice Pilot

Ice Pilot Evan Solly gives an update from the first week on-board NIWA's research vessel Tangaroa as they embark on a six-week voyage to Antarctica.

NIWA heads to Antarctica for critical research

NIWA’s flagship research vessel Tangaroa leaves soon on a six-week voyage to Antarctica, making it one of the few full scientific expeditions to the continent since the global outbreak of COVID-19.

RV Tangaroa spots first iceberg

At midnight on Saturday, the crew on-board RV Tangaroa spotted the first iceberg of the voyage.

The marine protected area

The Ross Sea region is vital to the future of the Antarctic ecosystem.

Map of the course of RV Tangaroa taken during the TAN2101 voyage early Jan - 17 Feb 2021

Select anywhere on the red track to see position details and time as well as other vessel information. N.B. Dates and times are in UTC. New Zealand Standard Time (NZST) is 12 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Click on the ship icons for points of interest during the voyage.