Dispatch: June 10, 2006 - We return
to the Drake Passage and head North
Day's Menu: Roast beef, ham mac & cheese, carrots, asparagus, rolls, onion soup, salad; Stuffed Pork chops, hot chix wings, Spanish rice, carrots, soup, Birthday cake, bread pudding, and cookies
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We have turned the corner at King George I., the final South
Shetland Island that we’ll be seeing, and are heading
north across the Drake Passage. With winds in the low 30s and
seas a mere 12 feet, we are having a pretty nice ride –
for The Drake. It’s quite overcast but the view from the
Bridge, about 48 feet up from the water level, can be fantastic
at times, especially when the occasional really big roller gets
under us and gives us a “ride”. I figure it’s
better for me to be up there seeing the waves coming than it
is down below where, as I sit here, the calendar on the wall
keeps sliding right, then left, then right… whoooaaa,
Plankton Tow #54 at Station 62 was done at 8:30 a.m., the
first in a series planned for the crossing. The plan is to
stop every 4 hours, head the ship into the wind, and tow the
plankton net for about 20 minutes. Thus far, sample volume
has been small, but the larvae are always telling. So, whatever
is pulled in is valuable information for the Plankton Team.
We’re hoping the weather stays this good, because this
is just about as rough as the procedure will allow.
XBTs resume - Also along the way, Max Nikurashin is firing
off regular XBTs for another try at getting a clean section
of the temperatures and salinity in the Drake. Four weeks
ago, he had to suspend XBTs due to heavy weather on the trip
over, and the section mapping the Drake has a large gap. Cross
your fingers so this one will be …prettier. Max has
been quite successful in mapping other areas in this trip.
Getting To Know You – Ethnic Diversity on LMG06-05
As with most jobs, there is a cross section of people of diverse
ethnic backgrounds at hand. It is interesting to see the broad
spectrum of ethnic origins in this floating microcosm.
Of “47 SOB” (i.e., ‘Souls On Board’,
which includes science and ship’s crew), we have:
31 US citizens
2 UK (royal subjects)
It has been very interesting learning to communicate (and
we do communicate effectively, or the job would not be getting
done) and getting to know people despite the language barriers
(especially that Australian one!). If you are interested in
other people, other cultures, other places, try going to sea
and you will appreciate a lot of learning in close quarters
in a short time.
Back to the Science
After Dinner Talks – Several people
have signed up to give short overview talks on the science
they’ve accomplished while on this trip. We’ve
scheduled 4 per night. Tonight’s slate:
Chris Mah spoke on his interest in the taxonomy and collection
of asteroids. His small collection of dried specimens from this
trip will perhaps land in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s
archives. (That is, if they get past the dogs at the airport.
Phew!! Good thing he’s drying them in the Engine Room!!
Just kidding, Paul!)
Chris Mah and his prize Labidiaster with which he plans
'to take over the world!!' (Photo by Ellen Bailey)
Morris Cohen described some of the work he
did at Palmer station with the instrument gathering data from
lightning strikes on the earth's surface - pops, whines and
whistles. He played some sound bytes for us as well.
Will Jaeckle has gone a step further from the
last cruise when he was studying nutritional transport in planktonic
starfish. This trip he is looking at the same process, but in
spionid worm and pilidium larvae.
Nerida Wilson continues to look at the distribution
and genetic links in crinoids from Antarctic waters. She is
also continuing her study of the charismatic shell-less snails,