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.

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