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Friday, 18 January 2008 06:21
Ground Hog day…
Routine weighs heavily today. Perhaps it’s the turning point on a voyage such as this when time is measured in days before return rather than weeks at sea. Even the meal sittings are feeling a tad lacklustre. ‘How was the trawl?’ or ‘How deep is the next CTD?’ is starting to fall a little flat. It was a bit déjà vu that at the same time of day, at the same angle on the horizon, another fishing boat was identified, bearing the same name as the one intercepted yesterday. This time it is the ‘In Sung No 2’ and, as required, we carry out the same duty of communication. An upshot of the time we spent communicating with the fishing boat yesterday was that the depth data we gathered on the underway data logging system was used to create a new bathymetric chart. That...
Tuesday, 15 January 2008 02:06
Bonjour Dumont d'Urville
News of a change of plan and that we were going in closer to the continent brought nearly everyone onto the bridge late last night as we moved into uncharted waters. The echo sounder was closely monitored as we sought a narrow but very deep channel between the icebergs. A hush of concentration fell as we passed through a gallery of carved ice. Sheer and sharp planes alternated with piled ice rubble and blue honeycombs of collapsing walls. On one side a majestic flotilla of ragged peaks receded into the distance like mystical Chinese prints. On the other a midnight sunset backlit the stratus cloud over the continent in garish stripes of pinks and yellows and orange. I sat high in the navigator's chair, watching a strange twilight illuminating the soft band of ...
Sunday, 13 January 2008 08:43
CTD history lesson
There's a changed mood on board now the frantic pace of the CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) circuit has abated. Work continues along with the CEAMARC trawls but it seems as if people have been absorbed by the ship. I have a kind of holiday - a reading blitz, and have just finished reading about the explorer Hubert Wilkins. Wilkins grew up on a property on the wrong side of the Goyder line in South Australia and saw the Federation drought of 1901 destroy the family farm. His remarkable exploration expeditions to both poles were driven by a certainty that understanding the climate of the polar regions was the key to predicting weather and that understanding climate could alleviate human suffering. When he set off for Antarctica with Shack...
Sunday, 13 January 2008 00:55
A little black iceberg
Friday 11th January 2008 It is heresy to say this out loud when our key projects are dependent on being in open water - but I do enjoy being in the ice. We have shared the company of many large tabular bergs as well as some scattered bergy bits today. I have learned about the ship sinkers - the growlers, and correctly identified brash ice. I've seen pancake and fused and rafted, know a bummock from a hummock, and have seen frazzle, and grease and slush. It was Toby that pointed out an odd feature in the distant sea. He had his binoculars straight onto it. "It's black... sticking up out ...
Sunday, 13 January 2008 00:03
Thomas and the Cape Petrel
Thursday 10th January 2008 I woke to the jolting and whoosh of the ship going through pack ice. We are working the CASO grid south again but the ice has forced a change, so we head westwards to skirt the pack and come in on a parallel that offers open sea. Icebergs and floes are the habitat of the beautiful, pure white Snow Petrel. It is hard to say which of the Antarctic birds is the most captivating but this small bird is a striking sight against sea or sky. The Cape Petrel (someone called it the 'magpie' of Antarctica) has careless splodges of black and white across its wings while...
Saturday, 12 January 2008 23:23
Alert but not alarmed
Wednesday 9th January 2008 The emergency stations muster signal is seven long and one short sounding on bells and whistle. The ringing alarm today marked the passing of another week on the 'Aurora Australis'. These musters are held regularly so that everyone on the ship knows exactly where to go, how to get there and what to bring. On hearing the bells I scramble into the freezer suit, stow the first aid and field manuals in my pocket, lace the big Canadian Sorell boots, drag the lifejacket over my head and grab the red survival bag with warm clothing. Now at twice my normal size, I make a clumsy beeline for my muster station starboard side of the helideck. ...
Friday, 11 January 2008 01:28
CASO cup day
Tuesday January 8th, 2008 The whiteboard has a message: "Textas in reading room. Bags will go down this arvo.get cupping." Our international friends struggle with the cryptic advice, understanding neither 'arvo' nor 'textas', but cotton on when they see people decorating polystyrene cups with marking pens, stuffing them with paper towels and putting them in the net bag in the instrument room for dispatch to the abyss. Martin points out in the sitrep "CASO is a major multinational project for the International Polar Year involving scientists from 18 nations and is led by Australia." ...
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:04
A bubble in the ocean
January 7th 2008 I am halfway through my sojourn at sea and loving the perpetual motion of the ship. We are moving through an endless ocean in apparently endless circles. Not having a 'destination' is quite a nice thing. There is nothing on the horizon for 360 degrees. There's no ice to be seen, not even a growler. We are nearly 200nm north of Cape Denison on the Antarctic continent, adrift on a lonely sea. In fact we do have a purpose. This is the CASO (Climate of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean) sampling area. We must cover 31 stations in six days making CTD drops of around 3,600 metres to sample the cold, dense, Antarctic bottom water that drains from the Mertz Glacier. We are working over the skid marks on Rob's Gondwana map that show the seabed cany...
Wednesday, 09 January 2008 00:01
Whales to port…
Sunday January 6th 2008 A clatter of footsteps in the stairwell is a sure signal to grab the camera and follow the mob. I raced up to C deck and saw a distant spouting. The CTD door was open to the sea so I ran back down to E deck. The CASO crew was riveted, watching a pair of humpbacks curving and spouting. They moved aft and we all jumped like fleas across the trawl deck to watch them coast and roll and play in a large drift close to the ship. I scurried up to the mezzanine, craning over the ship’s rail on the way, keeping them in sight, then made a dash up the stairwell and back onto C deck. Rail spac...
Monday, 07 January 2008 02:20
CAML: Moving the pole compass
Saturday January 5th 2008 Collecting the pole compass early today marked the completion of what we are calling the 'eastern' CEAMARC sampling stations. The central and northern reach of our grid marks out the 'Climate of Antarctica and Southern Ocean' (CASO) stations which we will work through over the coming week before another CEAMARC burst to the west off Dumont d'Urville on the continent. As well as CTD sampling, the CASO team is gathering information on the speed and direction of water currents from polynya moorings. These Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers are deployed some 135 miles from the South Magnetic Pole but still fall within its influence, so a special "pole compass" is used as a kind of calibrator to correct their data. ...
Calendar of Events
Fri, 07 May 2010IPY Monthly Report: May 2010
Tue, 30 Mar 2010IPY Report: April 2010
Wed, 03 Mar 2010IPY Report: March 2010
Tue, 02 Feb 2010IPY Report: February 2010
Thu, 21 Jan 2010IPY Oslo Science Conference -...
Friends of IPY
Thu, 16 Dec 2010Missatge 10: Un cervell realment...
Wed, 15 Dec 2010Ice Core Goes on Display...
Tue, 14 Dec 2010Sun-Earth Day 2011 Will Be...
Tue, 14 Dec 2010Missatge 9: Les peculiaritats de...
Mon, 13 Dec 2010Another Use for Antarctic Icebergs?