Monday, July 28, 2008

Stuck at Station B

You often hear people saying: “save the best for last” but it seems that it is not the case for us, unluckily. The calm sea and wind conditions have abandoned us, right before we were about to finish our work. We arrived at station B more then 24 hours ago and still are not able to deploy a single megacore in the water. At a slow pace we have performed a couple of camera (yo-yo) tows, deployed the CTD, and performed several bottom trawls, the last being the only gear that can still function in these sea conditions. Wind speeds are approaching 45 knots and waves are quite often inundating the back deck. It is amazing to look out of the hydro lab’s porthole and see the waves hitting the ship wall and over flooding the starboard deck. Some people are starting to feel seasick and having to invoke pills, patches and sea bands for the first time on the cruise. We still have about 7 megacores to deploy and after that we are pretty much done; we then just have to pack everything and steam north back to Punta Arenas…but not until the wind drops! Oh, and I almost forgot: we still have the superstar Da Tripod 2 the mission to be deployed. Cool!

This morning we even tried to get closer to Palmer station on Anver’s Island to get protection from the main winds and also to make a dream come true for those aboard who never stepped on Antarctic soil. No deal! The winds were too strong and the small inflatable boats (Zodiacs) can carry people only under safe sea conditions (wind speeds lower than 20 knots), which was definitely not the case. Winds were close to 40 knots. So now we are basically floating around station B waiting for sea conditions to get better so we can wrap up our sampling for this winter cruise and go home.

In the meantime we still have some science activity going on inside the ship. People are still finishing dissecting those cute invertebrates, our beloved sea cucumbers, sea urchins, worms, etc, inside the scary and freezing cold room. Brrrrr!! Liz and Pavica are some of our best invertebrate surgeons aboard and quite often have spent almost the entire 12-hour shift inside of that not-so-pleasant environment. After the bottom trawl is brought up to the deck and our avid team carefully sorts the catch, the dissectors slog away in the freezing temperatures of a 4 m2-area cold room with no windows, dissecting animal after animal to collect our samples. Guts, gonads, tentacles, gut contents (mud poop!! yick!!) spread all over the dissection board. Disgusting for some, but a pure taste of happiness and contentment for others!! In any case, the purpose behind this is a noble one: to find out how ocean warming and a reduction in sea ice cover will affect the Antarctic ecosystem. Thank you my dear friendly invertebrates. Rest in peace and Neptune bless your souls! And I really mean it!

Well it appears we are needed urgently on deck now! They are calling up on the radio. Maybe this is the call for a new start. Maybe it is another mega core going over? Nice, lets finish this station!

We will be back soon with news from the back deck. Aloha!!

1 comment:


I’m so happy!!I finally find an English blogger~