Life Aboard Ship, Dispatches From South of the "Roaring Forties"
Friday, June 4, 2004
We set our clocks ahead for the first time yesterday morning. I think Capetown is 5 hours ahead of DC, so every week or so we will reset ship time. When we trawl we use Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) times and dates to avoid that problem and maintain consistency of data. Of course, that creates another difficulty, which is that it’s local time that’s important to the animals we collect, not GMT.
Just had breakfast: the usual choices (we are now out of fresh fruit except for bananas): preserved apricots, peaches, strawberries, scrambled eggs, several kinds of sausages, cheese empanadas, bacon, biscuits, oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, a variety of cold cereals, breakfast enchiladas, and a few other items. There’s never a shortage of food. And of course, desserts are always out: right now chocolate cake, both chocolate chip and walnut cookies, pecan bars, vanilla pound cake, vanilla and chocolate cake, and nuts.
Saturday, June 5, 2004
Off Shag Rocks
Today was a BIG EVENT day, at lest for those of us who haven't been to the Antarctic before. We saw our first iceberg of the cruise. It seemed like a big one, maybe a quarter mile long, really white and very tall. It was about half a mile away and, it being a foggy day, blended in with the fog. It was hard to see and I understood immediately how the "Titanic" failed to see the one it hit.
We have recent ice charts and they show that there is fast ice around the southern third of South Sandwich Island. Chief Scientist Bill Dietrich has stated his intent to drive to south of 60 S, which is the "legal" treaty limit of Antarctica (then those aboard who have not been there will be able to claim to have visited it, at least technically. If we do that, we will be in the ice for some distance. Now THAT is something to look forward to.
One of the great things about the ICEFISH cruise is the combination of scientific disciplines represented aboard. Our expertise ranges from the genetic and chemical processes of fishes to parasitism of invertebrates, fish behavior, and whole organism taxonomy of both fishes and invertebrates. The result is that everyone is learning about other kinds of research, yet they are all related. So there was a considerable amount of excitement about our catch, small though it was. Owing to the cost and difficulty of sampling great depths, there are not too many chances to see deep-sea animals, and the vast majority of biologists never do.
Sunday, June 6, 2004
Picking up the traps was the last thing we needed to do before going to South Georgia, and we are now on our way there, ETA around 1730.