[This post written 6/29/08; position: lat -52'59", long -66'29"; temp 4C; wind chill -11C]
So…it was not exactly a busy day today. Well, back up a minute. It was a busy and somewhat nerve-wracking day for the scientists, because they are getting all of their samples ready for shipping, which is a very big deal, since if the samples don’t make it back to the U.S., or they are spoiled when they arrive, that is a huge loss. So they are kind of in nail-biting mode. But for Ash and Rainy and me, it was not busy. We read some more of Treasure Island. We watched Part One of Lord of the Rings on the big TV in the NBP’s movie room, which has big fluffy chairs and holders for drinks and popcorn!
But also, there was sunshine! And it isn’t all that cold out anymore. We went out on deck, and I didn’t even need a hat. Well, not at first anyway. Rainy and I had our cameras. There were a few petrels chasing the ship, as usual. One of the things we have been doing the last couple of days is trying to get good pictures of them, which is WAY hard. Especially the Cape petrels, which fly really fast and can change directions in a split second. I have hundreds of rotten pictures of flying petrels by now. Today I almost got a totally awesome picture of a giant petrel. See above. This is my best petrel picture by far. It was also my last chance, so I guess this one’s as good as it’s going to get. Dude. If only I had gotten its beak in the picture! As you can see, giant petrels aren’t exactly beautiful, but I like them anyway, because they fly slowly. They are like the 737s of the petrel world. Goodbye petrels. I will miss you all. And a special goodbye to that snow petrel that stared at me the day the big iceberg calved. Petrels fly fast and far. I guess it could be anywhere in Antarctica by now!
Continuing to show you my favorite trip pictures taken by other people, here is one taken by Paul McGill. The guy in the Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses is Jake Ellena, the giant slingshot guy. (And also the official Keeper of the Data, and the bird survey guy.) He is also The Dude. I mean. This picture was taken on the bridge on June 7. The wind chill where Jake was standing was -24C. He is a very cool guy in more ways than one.
That’s it for now. I don’t want to be late for the party in the galley tonight! We are all supposed to wear pieces of extreme weather clothing we were issued but never wore. Hmmm. I dunno…I think I wore everything. A lot. Ash is going to wear his sea boots and Rainy is going to wear her Yazoo cap.
[This post written 6/28/08; position: lat -54'15", long -60'20"; temp 4C; wind chill -12C]
There are a lot of things I could write about tonight, but dude, we are in some rough water and I am not feeling so hot. So this will be kind of short.
These are pictures of the Nathaniel B. Palmer’s engine room, which is one of the most awesome things Ash and I have seen on the trip. Rainy does not agree so much. She says no matter how great an engine is, it can’t compare to a monster iceberg. And she probably has a point. Still, as you can see the ship’s engines are way cool. The guy in blue is the engineer who showed us around. His name is Jerry Lake. It is so loud down there we had to wear ear protectors part of the time. I guess it’s not surprising. I probably mentioned this earlier. But the NBP has four giant Caterpillar engines with a total of 12,000 horsepower. Today I also learned that the NBP makes its own fresh water! It uses waste heat from the engines to take seawater and remove the salt from it so we can use it for drinking and showers. All this time, I was feeling virtuous for not showering very much, because I thought we probably just had a big tank of water, which I would rather drink than stay clean with. Oh well.
Also, we had a big meeting today where all the scientists talked about what they had done on our voyage, and what interesting things they had found out. A lot of it I couldn’t understand. We saw a totally awesome movie of stuff the Phoenix ROV saw. They saw a lot more of those round dimples in the underwater ice (and I learned that they are sometimes called suncups.) And we saw the salp chains, a jellyfish, and a squid that had been partly eaten. Dr. Shaw and Dr. Twining talked about the chemistry of the water, and the ways it differs depending on how close you get to the iceberg. Dr. Vernet talked about the microscopic life forms she has seen on the voyage, and how they differed from her last iceberg voyage, which happened in the Antarctic summer. Nicki Middaugh and Vivien Peng talked about their studies of the bacteria in the seawater, and how different things seemed to affect them. Dr. Helly talked about his measurements of the icebergs. Dr. Rock showed us pictures of the underwater parts of the icebergs that he made using his special sonar device. And Dr. Kaufmann talked about the animals they found in the MOCNESS, and how they differed depending on where they were in relationship to the icebergs.
Now the scientists will go home to their labs in the U.S. and spend some time looking closer at the data from their experiments on the voyage to see exactly what they show. And in March, they will come back down here and do some more!