Monday 17th January

Today's contributor: Jeff Hawkes

Once again, today has been almost entirely spent travelling south in anticipation of our biogeographical exploration of the Bransfield Strait. We have now crossed 60 degrees South, and so are officially in Antarctica. The only stop we made today was to 'stream' the ROV cable, which involves winching out the cable (sans ROV) to check it is all reeling out without any problems. Apparently they checked 3000 m worth of cable, which is as deep as we will take the ROV (Isis) on this trip. Isis is pressure tested to 6000 metres, if you are interested.

Other than the ROV technicians, most scientists on board have spent the last day getting ready for their particular shift. As we are operating scientific equipment 24 hours a day, all the scientists are divided into four shifts of six hours each. Each watch team of five people has a senior scientist as a watch leader, and at least two biologists and two geochemists. This allows us (as a scientific team) to be bright and ready for whatever we find all the way through our expedition. Recently, this has led to several bleary-eyed poker games and DVD sessions for the night-shifters, and cheerful breakfasts for the lucky day-shifters.

Despite varying body-clocks, I think almost everyone was present for a talk by Katrin Linse this afternoon, in which she reminded us (with lots of pictures for the geochemists) about the fantastic range of fauna we found on cruise JC042 last year. In total we found more than 26 species, most of which were previously undiscovered. It really was incredible to recall what a successful expedition we had last year, and everyone seemed to leave brimming with excitement about what awaits us in our new sites over the course the next few weeks.

January 2011


February 2011