Updates from New Zealand
Updates from the Port of Lyttleton New ZealandOctober 30, 2006 - Posted by Mak
We've all arrived in New Zealand this week and are getting ready to
depart early next week. The ship is in Lyttleton, close to the
city of Christchurch. So far we've spent the past few days
getting over jet-lag, unpacking all of our gear, and starting to setup
our laboratories on the ship, as well as getting all of our sampling
gear ready. It's a pretty monumental task to pack up a lab and
send it to sea at all, much less to the other side of the world for a
very long cruise like this one. But we're all excited to be
heading back south again, as well as to see each other again and catch
up. Most of the science party is the same, with about three
quarters of the same people returning as last year's cruise. And
having done this a year ago is making things run pretty smoothly this
time. For example, we're setting up all our trace metal
laboratories in much the same way as last year, but with some
improvements based on things we learned last year.
This year we're going earlier in the season. Since this is the
southern hemisphere, so its spring here now, and the ice that surrounds
Antarctica each winter should start to melt soon, creating the sea
within the ice, known as a polyna, within the Ross Sea area. The
more recent satellite image shows that this polyna hasn't started
forming yet, due to a very cold October. Hopefully, it'll start
forming soon (!). We've got a long transit to get from New
Zealand to the edge of the ice - more than a week, so it'll be into the
second week of November before we're there.
November 1st, 2006 - Posted by Mak
It's the morning of our departure, 9am, we leave at noon. The NZ customs people are coming at 10am to look at our passports, and the science party are checking to make sure everything is secured. People are also lining up for the two internet computers that are available until we disconnect from the port - after that its only satellite uplinks of email messages a few times a day!
Last night everyone headed out for a nice last meal in town. Then since it was halloween, we donned some costumes as well. I'll see if I can get some pictures uploaded :)
And yesterday in addition to continuing loading gear and preparing the labs we did the safety orientation on the ship. That included trying on the survival suits - which look like big gumby outfits made to keep you warm if you end up in the icy water (see photo). We also climbed into one of the lifeboats, which are small covered boats (with no bathrooms, we were reminded; see picture as well).