Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday 31 January, Day 17

I forgot to show the first iceberg of this cruise, when we were near South Georgia Island (in the background), before coming back to Stanley:

And while in Stanley, during the refueling, I wanted to take a shot of a sign post which I had noticed when running at the beginning of this trip. It reminds me of the sign post Marion and I had made for our wedding to symbolize our project to travel around the world for our honeymoon (which is still in its project form...):

Then we headed back past South Georgia, towards the South Sandwich Islands.
When we arrived in their vicinity, the geology team started to dredge the sea floor with the "instrument" shown below, to take some rocks and analyze the composition of the sea floor they are mapping:

Probably thinking that we were catching fish with big nets, a flock of chinstrap penguins gathered behind the stern...

... and were flying above the water to catch up with us!

Taking advantage that the ship had finally stopped for dredging, we tested the CTD (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth) system and two LADCPs (Lowered Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers), which I compared to the measurements from the shipboard ADCP (SADCP). The results were quite encouraging:

After this test and the first three dredging locations, the winds increased and the sea became quite rough again during the night and all day today. Here is how it looked like towards the bow (as seen through the lounge windows, which were covered with water droplets)...

... and towards the stern:

As Renaud would say:
"C'est pas l'homme qui prend la mer, c'est la mer qui prend l'homme, ta, ta, ta!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday 26 January, Day 12

Retour case départ!
Back to where we started from!

During our survey of the sea floor around South Georgia, one of the crew members got ill, abdominal pain I heard, maybe appendicitis, so we headed back to Stanley to transfer him ashore. We encountered strong winds and heavy seas on the way, with a nasty swell coming from sideways which awoke me at 5 am. I couldn't close my eyes again for the rest of the night as I was sliding up and down my bunk! Good thing I don't get sea sick, though: I was still able to work on my papers for the rest of the day. Arriving in Stanley was a relief, and we spent the night in the bay, waiting for a space along the dock to refuel, which we obtained this morning. We could get ashore for two hours, and I took the opportunity to walk and stretch my legs!

Below are a few pictures about life onboard, taken by Mike Gloistein.

Lunch in the Officers/Scientists saloon (I am sitting in front on the far right).

Lunch in the Officers/Scientists bar on Sunday (I am wearing the green polo).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday 22 January, Day 8

One week already I have started this trip!
I have worked hard on my papers and made good progress, so tonight I am taking a bit of time off to upload some pictures on this blog.

This is my cabin, with a perfect view of the sea (although you can't see it because it is too bright)!

This is the ship, the RRS (Royal Research Ship) James Clark Ross.

On Saturday, prior to the ship's departure, four of us made a hike to see some penguins. Here is a magellanic penguin, at the doorstep of his house.

On Sunday, I made a visit to Stanley's town center, to find presents for Margot and Anael. I miss them so much already!

On Monday, we sailed away, direction...

... South Georgia Island! Unfortunately, we are mapping the sea floor on the edge of the shelf and slope, so this is the closest we'll get from this island.

The sea has been relatively calm so far. But things may change!...

Oh, I almost forgot: yesterday I saw a whale (a fin whale, according to the second mate).

The picture is not sharp, sorry, but the whale was very far, I took the shot with my big 400 mm lense, but with the ship motion and the air humidity, it is already not too bad.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday 18 January 2010 - Day 4

C'est parti!
The JCR left the dock at 11 am. We had our safety drill just after lunch.
We are now heading South, but the sea is rather calm for now. However, contrary to last year, we are going to spend most of the cruise in the latitudes of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, so it is bound to become rough at some point!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday 15 January 2010 - Day 1

Back to Antarctica, to retrieve the instruments I had deployed last year and get the data and water samples back. This year the ship is the RRS James Clark Ross, or JCR, a 100-m long research vessel, bigger than the Ernest Shackleton I was on last year, and better equiped for scientific work. The main purpose of the cruise is to map the sea floor near South Georgia Island and the South Sandwich Islands with very high resolution horizontally (10-100 m), which has nothing to do with my project. But the team of geologists have allocated us a few days toward the end of the cruise to retrieve our instruments in the South-eastern Weddell Sea.

I left Marion, Margot and Anael on Wednesday 13, to meet the scientific team at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, from where we took a shuttle to the Royal Air Force base Brize Norton. Our plane, which was supposed to take off at 11 pm, was delayed by 12 hours, so we spent the night in some military housing on the base. We flew on Thursday to Stanley, Falkland Islands, with Air Tahiti! The captain was giving instructions to his crew in french, the movie was in french, with english subtitles, and there was some pleasant Tahitian music playing after landing on Ascension Island to refuel. When getting off the plane, the warm and humid air with a gentle breeze reminded me of Hawaii. I dreamt for a moment that we were not heading to Stanley but to Papeete...

We arrived in Stanley this morning, and rested for a few hours in a bed-and-breakfast, waiting for the ship to be ready for us. We took our lunch on the ship, and I started to look around for our equipment. Then I had a phone interview arranged on the ship for a researcher position opening at AOML in Miami! I should know about the outcome in a few days... The ship is not leaving Stanley before Monday, so we'll have more time to check that our equipment is OK and some time for shopping and hiking around.