This morning at 9:20 am we past 60°S. We have been making very good progress on our transit and detailed planning for the first drill site on the shelf has began. We hope to arrive at site on Monday. This morning at 4 am the first iceberg was sighted. Unfortunately I was asleep, but there will be more to come…
By now everybody on the ship is eager to get started – a week of transit is a long time although we have been busy setting up the labs, working out our sampling strategies, and attending science talks. It is quite fascinating to see how diverse the background of all the scientists is.
After we left the ‘roaring fourties’ behind, we are currently making slow progress in the ‘screaming fifties’ to avoid the worst of a low pressure system to the south of us. Although the video looks quite nice, the waves are actually very high and the boat rolls around significantly (up to 60 knots winds and swells of 20 ft).
We are now three days into our transit down to Antarctica. The highlight of the second day was the obligatory boat drill. After we had a briefing from the captain on the first day, we used this drill to identify the location of our life boats and escape routes. We all had to come equipped with our life vests and hard heads, and had to then try on our survival suites. These gumby suites are water proof and float in water – they may safe our lives for a considerable amount of time if we ever have to abandon the ship.
Today at 10:30am we left port. All scientist and many of the technicians and the ship’s crew were on top of the bridge to watch the departure. It was a sunny day, and two little boats towed us until we were far enough away from land that the ship could be turned to face the open sea.
We left Aotea Quay,Wellington, under blue sky. For the next couple of days we will be sailing along the eastside of New Zealand. Since weather and ice observations will be key to our expedition (some of the sites we want to drill are still covered by seaice), we have two experts on board, Kjell and Diego, who watch out for weather and ice conditions at any time and inform the ship’s crew and the scientists.
I arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on 3 January 2010 . It was a very windy day. The little aircraft that took me from Aukland (on the South Island of New Zealand) to Wellington (on the North Island) was experiencing quite a few turbulences, but the pilot did a great job and landed the aircraft very smoothly. Right at the airport I run into one of our two co-chief scientists of the expedition, Carlota Escutia (U Granada, Spain) and one of our logging scientists, Trevor Williams (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA).
The ship, the JOIDES resolution (see picture), arrived in port on 4 January, which gave me some time to explore Wellington– a lovely town with a very friendly feeling to it.
Enjoy the expedition trailer…