Frozen oceans - weekly journals

David N Thomas

David Thomas

In 2004, scientist David N Thomas spent 50 days moored to an ice floe in the middle of the Antarctic.

Read his weekly journals below as he reported on his adventures, carrying out research with 50 other scientists in the frozen wastes.

  • Week 1 After two years' intensive planning and ten years' dreaming, the team at last board the German research vessel Polarstern in Cape town, South Africa.
  • Week 2 Storms, petrels, one of the most isolated islands on earth - and an encounter with pack ice.
  • Week 3 A difference of opinion as scientists search for the perfect ice floe.
  • Week 4 We set to work with the friendly encouragement of some local emperor penguins.
  • Week 5 Large cracks appear on the ice floe.
  • Week 6 Weddell seal helps deploy sediment traps.
  • Week 7 Busy analysing data leading up to Christmas.
  • Week 8 Christmas Eve celebrated in style.
  • Week 9 Leaving the floe and the footprints behind.
  • Week 10 Back in the UK, is it all a distant memory?
Frozen Oceans by Dave Thomas

David N Thomas is author of the book Frozen Oceans: The Floating World of Pack Ice, and was travelling on board the German Research Vessel Polarstern.

David works at the School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor. To find out more about David's work visit 

David Thomas' website


Cartoon image of lab coats with T.rex name label

Our fossil insect collection includes Rhyniognatha hirsti, the world's oldest fossil insect, dating back some 400 million years.