Darling Brew contributed to the South African National Antarctic Programme’s (SANAP) 79th Marion Island Expedition for 2022/2023, and we are proud to say that we were on board to provide some sustenance for this year's expedition as well!
The 80th Marion Island overwintering team and land-based takeover personnel reached their destination on the 20th of April for a takeover that is packed with scientific objectives, for both land and ship-based science groups.
Marion Island is a jewel in South Africa’s Island crown – it is wild and beautiful, hosts charismatic marine megafauna and globally important seabird populations. This includes the Wandering Albatross, which inspired our award-winning Pilsner, The Wanderer.
The island forms part of the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Island group, located approximately 2300 km south-east of Cape Town in the southern Indian Ocean. Marion Island is the larger of the two Prince Edward Islands, which together provide globally important breeding sites not only for seabirds, but also other wildlife.
The location of the Prince Edward Islands and the highly productive surrounding ocean make it a haven for wildlife. In fact, the island group is home to almost half of the world’s Wandering Albatrosses, millions of other seabirds and other species of wildlife, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.
The Wandering Albatross is most well-known for having the largest wingspan of any bird (up to a whopping 3.5m across). It is aptly named as it spends most of its life at sea, often travelling distances of up to 10,000km on fishing trips lasting anywhere between 10-20 days at a time. Our beer, The Wanderer, aims to raise awareness of the rapidly declining population of these magnificent feathered friends which has declined by over 50% in recent years.
We look forward to learning more about this year's conservation initiatives based on regular reports from field assistants Christopher (Chris) Jones and Michelle (Risi) Jones. This adventurous pair earn their keep as conservationists, photographers and island-hoppers who spend more than 90% of their time on remote islands.
“Our involvement in SANAP had a somewhat serendipitous beginning, starting in 2014 we worked on Gough Island for 13 months. It's fair to say that we are a bit obsessed with islands, particularly wild, rugged islands with interesting wildlife. We really enjoy adventure and love that we can combine this passion with our work, contributing to important scientific and conservation projects.”
We already received our first message from Chris and Michelle, who will be staying on the island for the next year. "Wandering albatross chicks are starting to get big enough to be left on their own while both parents go off to forage," it read.
What a great way to kick off the 80th Marion Island overwintering initiative. Keep an eye on our social channels to learn more about this adventure and the incredibly important work the SANAP team is doing to conserve the Wandering Albatross and its fascinating friends.