Dispatch: May 30, 2006

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Day's menu: Lamb shoulder chops, mac and cheese, Spanish rice, okra!, big budda beans, salad, yellow cake, and cookies; Some kind of steak, chicken wings in Spanish rice, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and lunch’s desserts.

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We were running into dense snow squalls last night, and had to turn north for a while until the weather cleared. With visibility so poor, and the prospect of finding ice in our path a particular hazard, it was the prudent thing to do. At present (1100) we are performing a rock dredge trawl off the WSW corner of Adelaide Island.

High Noon in Marguerite Bay, Antarctica. 5/30/06 (Photo by Ken Halanych)

Adelaide Island is a large, mainly ice-covered island, 75 miles long and 20 miles wide, lying at the north side of Marguerite Bay off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. This island was discovered in 1832 by a British expedition under John Briscoe, and named by him for Queen Adelaide of England.
Marguerite Bay is also on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which is bounded on the north by Adelaide Island and on the south by Wordie Ice Shelf, George VI Sound and Alexander Island. Marguerite Bay was discovered in 1909 by the French Antarctic Expedition under Dr. Jean-Baptiste Chacot, who named the bay for his second wife. [Interesting Historical Note: A knowledgeable source identified Chacot’s first wife as the granddaughter of French author, Victor Hugo. The story goes that one of the inexhaustible explorer’s excursions to Antarctica met with ship damage and repair delays, keeping him away longer than expected. When he did not return on time, Mme Chacot began two simultaneous campaigns. One was to raise funds to mount a search and rescue party to retrieve her husband, the other was to pursue divorce proceedings against him, for desertion. ]
[Sources for above facts are the ship’s website copy of Wikipedia, and text The Lonely Planet, Antarctica.]
The days are getting shorter, as we approach the Winter Solstice here in the Southern Hemisphere. Everywhere south of the Antarctic Circle has a day when there is 24 hours of darkness (Winter Solstice) and 24 hours of daylight (Summer Solstice). That 24 hours of darkness day will be June 21st, right? Fortunately, we will be home by that time, but in the meantime, daylight is getting scarce. Here is a photo of the sun at ‘high noon’ today.

Getting to Know You

Izzy Williams
For many years, I worked for Dr. Rudolf Scheltema at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, studying the transport of planktonic (living in the water column) larvae of benthic (bottom-dwelling) invertebrates. Currently, I work for a consulting company, at the Woods Hole office of ENSR Corporation, performing environmental assessment and monitoring studies for governmental and industrial clients. My expertise is the species identification of small marine invertebrates that live on the sea-floor. I feel so fortunate to have been included in the collection and identification of plankton that is part of our study during this research cruise. This is my fifth trip to Antarctica with Dr. Scheltema (the first was in 1994) and we have gathered new information about plankton around the Antarctic Peninsula every time.

Pam Polloni
Currently I work part time with James Craddock, Oceanographer Emeritus, studying food habits of marine mammals. For the past ten years or so I've spent at least the growing season working as a botanist too, and I currently serve as Acting Curator of the MBL/WHOI Library Herbarium, a collection of terrestrial and marine pressed plants that are being scanned and placed on the Library's website linked to www.whoi.edu. Rudi Scheltema needed an extra hand with the plankton sampling on this cruise, and he invited me to participate knowing I'd had a lot of experience collecting and processing samples at sea.

…”Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water….” (Photo by S. Balser)

Back to the Science
Plankton tows continue to garner the plankton Rudi Scheltema is looking for on this trip. Today they are seeing lots of Pilidium, the helmet-shaped larva that becomes a ribbon worm. The bottom or benthic trawls had not been yielding much real treasure in the last few tries, but tonight they pulled up a mother lode of crinoids, worms, stars, small fish, giant sea cucumber and one very large scale worm, yet to be identified. Perhaps unnamed at the moment, but certainly well documented. Photographer extraordinaire Susie Balser was on that thing like a robin on a …well, a spring worm! All I could think of when looking at this approx. 10-inch by 3-inch scaled mega-annelida was…



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Last updated May 30, 2006
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