A makeshift helipad is outlined in chocolate powder beside the M.V. Akademik Shokalskiy, a Russian research vessel that has been trapped in ice off the coast of East Antarctica for more than a week.
Of the 74 passengers, 52 were evacuated by helicopter on January 2.
"We have learned from nature, as humankind always does—we were caught by an unexpected and not predicted large breakout of old, multi-year pack ice that was driven by strong [southeasterly] winds, and we were in the wrong place at the wrong time," Andrew Peacock, a photographer aboard the ship, said via email to National Geographic. (See more of Peacock's pictures from the ordeal.)
"We were also reminded of the wonderful nature of friendships forged during a shared experience. We were not in any danger, but it was still an unsettling experience for everyone aboard."
The crew realized on Christmas Eve that the thick pack of ice surrounding the ship had them trapped. Previous attempts to break the ice surrounding the ship were unsuccessful, and rescue via helicopter was delayed due to high winds and snow. (Related: "7 Ice-Trapped Ships of the Past Give Solace to Rescued Antarctica Expedition Team.")
The scientists, media, and students aboard the ship were returning from the month-long Australasian Antartic Expedition, which revisited sites in Antarctica first seen by Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's team a century ago.