Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am on the SIO research ship R/V Roger Revelle, steaming southwest across the Southern Ocean south of New Zealand. Things are going well.

I should mention right away that the ship's email was broken for over a week in port, and so all email sent to jswift prior to Sunday morning was lost. Email is working now.

Due to air travel delays, I arrived in Dunedin a half day late. I met my colleague and friend Chris Measures, we delivered some cruise-related items to the ship, and then were off on a pleasant 4-day trip around the south of the South Island of New Zealand.

We had a stunningly beautiful day for the drive from Dunedin to Te Anau. The brilliance of the varied greens of the meadows, rolling hills, and forests was matched by that of the deep blue sky. Thousands upon thousands of sheep all around, plus numerous deer farms.

Despite the basically perfect weather on Saturday, our trip to Doubtful Sound on Sunday was a fairly wet one, though not miserably wet. This is a 10-hour excursion with a bus to the town of Manapouri, a 45-minute boat ride across Lake Manapouri, a 45-minute bus ride to the head of Doubtful Sound (this is an isolated road, connecting only these two points, with no land connections to the outside world), where we boarded our boat for a three-hour tour of the Sound, then reversed the process, except that we had a tour of the hydro power plant on the way back. The tour of Doubtful Sound was quite nice, with a smallish boat plus there were no other tour boats on the Sound. There were lots of waterfalls, and plenty of wildlife. The resident pod of dolphins did some spectacular aerial leaps in the wake of the boat. The tour of the hydro power plant was another highlight. There is no dam. Lake Manapouri, which naturally outflows to the southeast, is hundreds of meters higher than the ocean just across the mountains to the west. So NZ dug a power plant under the west end of the lake, near sea level, with tunnels leading down from the lake to the power plant turbines and then horizontally out to the sea via Doubtful Sound. Plus there is a two-kilometer curving tunnel for access down to the power plant, which the bus used to take us there. Quite a feat of engineering.

During our third day we traveled the “Southern Scenic Route” to Invercargil. We saw only a few cars and no trucks, with some very pretty driving. Our map showed where one could get fuel and food because there were so few places. We took a walk in a woods with 1000+ year old trees, and stopped at a number of scenic vistas. The little town where we had lunch had an eclectic little café with a diverse menu of simple foods. We ordered sausages (a local specialty as this was a self-proclaimed “sausage capital”) and chips. The woman at the counter suggested we just get one order of chips and she was right - there were enough - for only NZ $1 (about US$0.70) - to feed three people. There was also a little logging museum. The timber industry cut most of the forest, so now the town is fading away. Along the coast on our way to Invercargil we had some beautiful coastal scenery.

The next day, our last of touring, we headed through a little-traveled area called The Catlins, featuring beaches, rolling hills, meadows, forests, and of course plenty of sheep. Wonderful scenery, plus we did another forest walk. One highlight was our visit to Nugget Point, which is a high, rugged outcrop above a marine and bird sanctuary. There were dozens of sea lions, hundreds of sea birds, swirling kelp, etc., with beautiful rocks, brilliant green grasses, and crashing waves. At a nearby penguin lookout we saw penguins coming ashore. That night we stayed in the small town of Balclutha, an hour south of Dunedin. Ideal lodging: the motel was combined with the best restaurant in town and a wine shop.

We arrived at the ship on the morning of January 31st and I got to work. I had to complete the berthing assignments, direct people to labs, answer numerous questions, and in general just do the whole chief scientist bit. We had some rain, but not enough to make it miserable moving cargo on.

In the evenings in port I went out with people to the local restaurants. One place - a Cow Called Berta - was very good, and the local Speights brewery and pub in town featured excellent beer and good food.

We got underway yesterday afternoon, in good weather. I’ll append my first weekly cruise report.

Jim Swift

R/V Roger Revelle Expedition KNOX03RR
CLIVAR/CO2 cruise I8S
Chief Scientist Weekly Report 1, 05 February 2007

1400 local; 48.6 °S, 167.3 °E; air temp 10 °C, wind 8 knots from NW

R/V Roger Revelle left the dock at Dunedin, New Zealand, at 1606 local time Sunday, 04 February 2007, Captain Dave Murline in command, beginning the CLIVAR/CO2 line pair I8S and I9N, to be carried out during the next three months, with a port stop planned for 18-22 March in Fremantle, Australia, during which many of the scientific party will change out.

The cruise plan includes completing the first occupation of an Indian Ocean transect for the US Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography program, which contributes to both the CLIVAR Repeat Hydrography project and the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project via decadal reoccupations of selected high-priority WOCE Hydrographic Program transects. We follow or improve on the WOCE protocols, with enhanced measurements of ocean carbon parameters in particular, plus a trace metal sampling program. In this case we will repeat WOCE line I8S during our first leg and line I9N during the second leg. Sampling and analytical work for temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, a host of carbon-related parameters, CFCs, helium, tritium, radiocarbon, trace metals, and velocity will be carried out from surface-to-bottom at ca. 50 km intervals along ca. 95 °E from Antarctica to Bangladesh. We also run a number of underway sampling systems and will deploy 14 Argo floats.

Our 36-person science team has been working well with Roger Revelle’s 21 officers and crew from the first moment we set foot on the ship. In fact, we enjoyed an exceptionally harmonious and successful foreign port load period. We loaded three lab vans, cargo from three other containers, plus numerous other shipments. SIO Shipboard Technical Support gets special kudos for providing four Resident Technicians to assist during this load - all of whom were friendly and helpful, not to mention very busy. Chief Engineer Paul Mauricio and his team cheerfully set to work fixing the trace metal winch, which had been damaged in shipping. But singling out some is not meant to ignore others - this was a group effort, and a pleasant one, all the way.

Dunedin helped the good attitudes along, being a well-situated city of friendly, helpful people. The food and drink at the local establishments was first class, too, though we were not hurting for food on the Revelle, not with SIO’s superb cooks Dax and Paul at work. In-port fare on board is typically pretty basic, but not during this port stop. It is clear to all hands that between Dax and Paul, and the mountains of food we loaded, willpower and the exercise room are both going to be seriously needed this cruise!

We are now steaming nearly two-weeks to our first station, located in one of the most remote reaches of the World Ocean, and as close to Antarctica as ice, weather, and Captain Murline will permit. He is now speeding us southwest across the notorious 40s and 50s, planning to make most of our westward progress near 60 °S, thus hopefully south of the strongest headwinds, swell, and opposing currents. Meanwhile we continue to prepare our equipment, with the first test casts of the bio-optical sensor and the trace metal rosette set for later today. All hands are well and in excellent spirits.

James H. Swift, Chief Scientist