Another wonderful day ! Nothing better than a CTD watch to take pictures of seals and penguins (see below).
We started the watch with a beautiful weather, but soon fog came upon us, creating an eerie atmosphere.
Sometimes only a thin layer of ice was covering the water, and geometrical patterns called ice fingers could be seen here and there...
... sometimes even looking like words :
The passage of the ship through the ice breaks down the thin ice cover into many pieces, creating a giant puzzle :
Back to the CTD casts : a station consists in stopping the ship, lowering the CTD rosette in the water down to just above the bottom, and pulling it back up. Here is the rosette coming back to the deck after a cast :
Plastic bottles, called Niskin bottles, are attached to the rosette. They are all open first, and can be triggered to close at any depth, sealing water inside from this depth for subsequent analysis of salinity, oxigen isotopes, nutrient content, and other properties. Attached to the CTD frame are also various sensors, including Acoustic Doppler Current Meters (the yellow and black devices).
Once the rosette is back to the deck, the Niskin bottles are emptied in glass bottles for subsequent laboratory analyses, and the ship moves to the next station. We did not took many bottles, and the stations were sufficiently far apart from one another, to leave us some time in between to take pictures. Since I was dressed up warm enough to stay outside for hours, I had plenty of time to watch for seals and penguins, and I got my share of nice pictures ! Below are the best shots.
During a CTD station, an emperor penguin approached the ship on a nearby ice float, to see what we were doing. All our cameras were quickly put into action !