Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday 8 February, Day 25

I did not had anything to report this past week, mostly open water cruising over the Protector Shoal, a submarine volcano that our geologists studied in details, and heavy fog when we were close to Zavodovski Island, the northernmost island of the South Sandwich island chain. By the way, these islands were named by Captain James Cook, when he discovered them in 1775, after the 4th Earl of Sandwich, 1st Lord of the Admiralty. The word "South" was later added to distinguish them from the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii, which were also "discovered", more than a thousand years after Polynesians discovered them, by James Cook in 1778, who also named them Sandwich Islands (lack of imagination?).

So, during this eventless part of the cruise, I worked hard on my paper reporting last year cruise's SASSI observations, which I have just finished yesterday! Now I deserve a bit of rest, and I can take some time to put some pictures here.

Back to the dredging operations, here is the dredge being deployed.

Then, after having let it rake the ocean floor for some time, it is brought back on deck, and Simon and Phil (the chief scientist) sort their treasure!

In the meantime, chinstrap penguins are playing in the water all around the ship. Actually, the waters around the South Sandwich Islands are full of chinstrap penguins everywhere, it is amazing!

At last, yesterday, the clouds disappeared to let the sun shine. Penguins are enjoying a sun bath on top of a large iceberg (can you spot the tiny black dots on top of the iceberg?).

And I am enjoying the sun on top of the ship (on the Monkey Island!).

The sun finally set as we were approaching Montagu Island.

Montagu Island houses an active volcano, Mount Belinda, which was last seen erupting 2 years ago. Ashes are still visible on the low level slopes of the glaciers that cover it.

Why have they not been covered up by snow, as on the higher slopes? Maybe because the glacier is so crevassed as it approaches the sea, that snowfall cannot stay on the crevasses crests...

To finish today's post, a few specimens of the nice icebergs that surround us:

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