Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 5

Oh my God ! This has been the most amazing day of the cruise so far !
When I came outside this morning after breakfast, I first saw lots of little pieces of ice floating around the ship, in a very calm sea, "glassy" like we say in surfing jargon.

Then I realized we were following the edge of a sea of ice !

I went to the top of the ship to look ahead: the ice floats were getting denser !

The ship was leaving a trail of clear water behind, which soon was closing on itself.

I spotted a seal taking a nap on an ice float. Too bad I did not have my zoom lens on ! I am sure I'll have many other opportunities to get a closer snapshot... Later on, I was on the bridge of the ship, without my camera unfortunately, and we saw a seal sleeping on an ice float right ahead of us. He did not seem to have noticed the huge ship that was coming at him quickly ! Then just before the ship hit his ice float, he pulled his head up and looked at us. The captain was shouting: "get out of the way, quick !" The seal started to undulate on his belly, and got out of our sight below the hull. I ran to the side where he had disappear from our field of view, to see him safely undulating on his belly, then stopping and lying down again as the ship was sailing away from him. It must have not been the first ship he saw...

The ship was now hitting big pieces of ice, which made it shake entirely ! It was scary at first, but after a while I got used to it. The hull is very thick and made to withstand these shocks. It is a very weird navigation: the ship does not roll at all, since the waves are almost completely damped by the sea ice, but it shakes randomly, sometimes shifting laterally quite abruptly, to the point of making your fall if you are not holding to anything ! The night is going to be difficult...

A sea of ice...

Then we came out of this pack of ice, and I had the impression the ship was not moving any more, since it was not shaking any more nor rolling. As the daylight was decreasing, the colors of the ice became more and more intense !

A penguin waved goodnight at me. The time to aim the camera and he was already a bit far. Like for the seal, I'll try to get better shots !

I can't resist showing one more ice float...

Workwise, I finished testing the PIES today, and started preparing some clean sea water for the automated water samplers, on which I'll work tomorrow. We should reach Antarctica by Thursday evening, do CTD transects on Friday, and deploy our instruments on Saturday. We should be ready by then.


  1. Hi cedric,
    Trés bonne idée "le Blog", bon, mon anglais is no perfect, mais j'arrive à peu prés à comprendre tes commentaires. Fait attention, avec les pingouins, ne les embêtes pas trop sinon je te dénonce à greenpeace. Gros bisous, de la part de Jade, Lucille, Yo et JL.

  2. great, pictures and words together today :)
    and breath-taking pictures !!
    the last ones, with so deep turquoise blue are wonderful. i bet it's far more beautiful when you see that with your own eyes.
    enjoy all you see ! i'd really love to contemplate those landscapes and animals.
    the little penguin lost on its rock is so cute :) :)

  3. Jean-Louis -> pourquoi ferais-je du mal aux pingouins ? D'ailleurs, je suis un supporteur de Greenpeace !

    Frederique -> yes, it is far more beautiful to see these things through one's own eyes ! The pictures cannot convey the same feeling...

  4. you are having an amazing time. Enjoy for us!

  5. Quel voyage ! Le paysage paraît presque irréel comme s’il existait uniquement dans les films fantastiques. Et les nuits sont si courtes, seulement 1h 30. La lumière est magnifique Tes photos sont superbes Tu dis qu’il y a beaucoup de bruits et le bateau « tremble » je présume quand il casse la glace. J’espère que des fois vous arrêtez les moteurs pour que vous puissiez entendre le silence ou plutôt le silence. Tu as enfin réussi à photographier le phoque. Nous aussi, nous avons aux Galápagos, vu une otarie qui a faillit sauter dans notre zodiac. Nous aussi, nous avions pensé qu’elle avait l’habitude de voir des touristes et des bateaux.

    Avez vous pu mettre la dernière « bouée « ?

    J’espère que tu as pu te reposer après avoir travaillé pendant 36h et que la vie à bord se passe bien. J’espère que l’équipage est sympa. Il fait quelle température ? Y a- t il beaucoup d’humidité? Ici à Montpellier il pleut depuis 3 jours sans arrêts.

    Mikael nous a dit qu’il neige à Londres. Nous pensons évidemment à Marion qui vit au soleil mais seule, mais aussi à Margot. Nous savons tous qu’elle grandit chaque jour et que ses instants te manquent.

    Nous t’embrassons très fort