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23 January1981
Piernicola Varin
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These images are taken from the film Antartide, shot in Super8 by Piernicola Varin in January 1981 during a voyage in the Antarctic Sea aboard the icebreaker Lindblad Explorer, on an oceanographic mission led by the grandson of the famous explorer Ernest Shackleton (best known for the Endurance expedition in 1914 when the ship was crushed by ice and the crew endured months on the pack before being rescued). The Lindblad Explorer was the first ship custom-built for expedition cruises. It sank in 2007 due to a collision with an iceberg.

The excerpt presented here was filmed on 23 January 1981 while sailing on the Weddell Sea, skirting the eastern part of the Antarctic Peninsula. The expedition ended four weeks later.

"In the expedition in which I took part, the Lindblad Explorer had also embarked a number of qualified passengers including myself, the author of this amateur film," says Varin today, recalling a unique experience: "The navigation, starting from Usjuaia in Patagonia, calling at the Falkland or Malvinas Islands and crossing the stormy Atlantic Convergence, reached the Antarctic Sea in three days, touching the scientific stations on the ice of the Antarctic Continent that existed at that time: the Chilean one, the Argentinean one, the Polish one, the American one and the British one abandoned after the eruption of the volcano at Paradise Bay. At that time, Italy still had no base, the first one was opened two years later. The researchers and passengers made numerous landings aboard the Zodiac dinghies and made excursions on the pack, observing the terrestrial fauna (seals, sea lions, etc.) and birds, especially the 'penguins' with thousands of squawking penguins with their chicks just hatched at that time."