[This post written 6/18/08; position: lat -57'49", long -43'40"; temp -14C; wind chill -28C]
Today started out to be pretty ordinary, except it was our coldest day so far, and there was snow. This meant we couldn’t stay outside for more than a few minutes at a time, even in our Antarctic extreme weather clothes. Dude! It gets cold where we live — cold enough to freeze frogs. But it doesn’t feel anything like this. When you go outside, it’s so cold your eyes water. Then your tears freeze on your eyelashes. Then the snot freezes in your nose. I am serious. Just imagine how your fingers feel while all this is happening. Actually, that’s easy. After about four minutes, you can’t feel them at all.
Some of the researchers, like the biologists who are working on the MOCNESS, get up before the sun rises, when everything is at its very coldest. And some stay up very late, and it gets way cold then, too. And they have to stay outside for hours. I don’t know how they do it, except they must have gloves that are a lot better than mine. Also, a lot of them wear balaclavas. Otherwise their faces would get frostbite. Plus, now that I think of it, there are these little packets you can put in your pockets that get warm as soon as they are exposed to air. It is a chemical reaction that produces heat. It seems like magic, though, to be able to put your hands in your pockets and feel a toasty little packet in there to wrap your frozen fingers around. My dad made me bring a bunch, and I am glad. Lots of people on the ship have them. But they don’t help your face very much.
The engineers were ready to launch the ROV again, but called it off at the last minute. The waves got too big. So it’s been just the usual stuff today — sorting the day’s catch from the MOCNESS and taking water samples. Searching for something fun to do, first we tried to get Strike to talk again. But as usual, he did not cooperate. In fact, for the past day or so he has been a very ordinary stuffed animal. I know there is something very weird going on there. I just want to know who or what he really is. There is some kind of big secret there, and I am very tired of not being in on it.
Ash suggested that we go down to the galley and he would make us hot chocolate and we could hang out in Adam’s office again. But after we got the hot chocolate, we decided to go to the computer lab instead, where we could check our email and I could work on my blog a little. Once we got there, Rainy started looking at all the pictures other people had put on the public drive, and there were some really great ones there! For a couple of hours, we just looked at pictures, and it was really fun. It’s cool to see what other people thought was important enough or interesting enough to take pictures of. There are TONS of pictures of icebergs, of course, and also sunsets and sunrises. But also lots of pictures of icicles and of people outside all bundled up in their special clothes.
After we had looked at them all, we decided to pick the funniest one and put it on the blog, so that’s what I’m doing now. The top picture is one I took during our first day on the ship, when I peeked into Dr. Vernet’s lab and saw a box full of purple things that turned out to be latex gloves. I wondered what they could need that many gloves for. It turns out they use them all the time in their work with sea microbes (which, by the way, are quite cool, and I will do a blog about them soon). But I wasn’t the only one who thought the gloves were interesting. The bottom picture is P.D. This is the best and funniest picture we found on the public drive. There is another one of Rob that is funny and strange, but I will save that one for another day.