So the science has finally kicked off! Its been a mega few days actually. While only a couple of us succumbed to the dreaded sea-sickness, no one was unaffected by the change in motion. Most of us have been absolutely drained and lethargic, wandering about the ship like zombies and struggling with the most basic of tasks. It takes a bit of getting used to! It is also important to remember that you can't just put something down on a table and expect it still to be there a moment later - everything needs to be kept stowed away.
We are starting our shift work now. Siobhan is working noon till midnight, while Katy is on 8am till 8pm. It is long hours and hard work.
Katy and team took apart their instrument (the VMP – more later) several times, testing electronics and changing batteries. After two test dives all seems to be working well, ready for the first 'real' stations to begin tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
|Ollie and Kim analysing the first batch of samples|
Siobhan has been preparing and training people to sample CFCs. CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) are man-made compounds used for refrigeration. You might have heard of them as CFCs are one of the major causes of the ozone hole. We use CFCs concentrations in the ocean as conservative tracer of the rates and pathways of ocean circulation and mixing. Sampling for CFCs is particularly tricky – the water in the sample bottle must not come into contact with air at any time. To prevent this we fill the sample bottle and cap it under water. The water round here can be as cold as -2 °C.... so expect some cold fingers!
|The JCR glides through the spectacular Lemaire Channel|
But it's not all been hard work! Yesterday we stopped at Palmer station, a US base on the peninsula and stopped for cookies and a snowball fight. We were also lucky enough to sail through the Lemaire Channel. It was eerie in the snow and fog; jagged snow capped peaks rising steep out of the water next to the ship, the tops disappearing into the white haze of sky above. The sea was fairly calm with the surface only disturbed by various groups of penguins and small pods of minke whales. It was quite a magical experience! Today we were often distracted from our work by humpbacks and fin whales breaching and blowing right by the deck! We are very lucky to get work here. Its been snowing the past couple of days and the deck is covered in a thick layer of snow, ideal for the occasional snowball...