Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As our weekly report (copied below) attests, it has been a quiet week at sea as far as our science program goes. This was as expected, of course. Any ship transect to the Antarctic from a port city is a long haul, but due to the vagaries of ship scheduling and port assignments, the addition of traveling west to the southern Indian Ocean made our initial transit over 3000 nautical miles. That’s more than half again as long as the entire Arctic Ocean transect we did from Oden in 2005, but here just to get to our first station. Yes, indeed, it is a big ocean.

One highlight of the past week was a very nice auroral display (Aurora Australis in this case). The mate on watch woke me ca. 1:30 am one night saying there was a spectacular display. I took a quick peek and saw rapidly swirling, bright auroral “curtains” above the ship and went to wake up the science group. By the time we got to the bridge, the display was not quite so spectacular, but was still very nice, and all who joined us on the bridge enjoyed it. There are not many clear nights here, and now that we are at 64 °S the summer nights are short, so it was a rare opportunity.

I have a lot of work to do, enough, in fact, that I'm not getting to some of the writing I thought I’d do. Oh well. The students are fun to have along, and I spend a fair amount of time with them. A great bunch. So far I have made it to the gym every day, and - ahem! - to every meal every day, too, so it’s a running battle between the cooks and the exercise equipment. The food is really good. For example, for lunch today in addition to do-it-yourself burritos (a common enough item), there were homemade turkey mole enchiladas (the cook even roasted and peeled fresh peppers for the mole sauce), and tonight’s dinner included roast pork with cranberry chutney, pesto scallops, rigatoni alfredo, roasted balsamic tomatoes, blue-cheese toast, and salad, with lemon bars on a shortbread crust for dessert. It's been too rough to practice bassoon about half of the days, but I'm giving it a go when I can. As always at sea in the open ocean I find it amusing that I have no trouble coping with the odd semi-periodic instability provided by ship motion, motion which under other circumstances would be exceedingly distracting. We just bounce, roll, and heave our way to the first station.

The iceberg we cruised past was fun for the newcomers to see. (See attached photo.) Now we see icebergs, not so close usually, from time to time, as we steam west. I have chosen three different locations close to Antarctica to begin the I8S transect, hoping that one will be free enough of ice that the ship can make it there. If the weather is clear - unknown odds - it could be a beautiful setting to begin our scientific work. Well, see the next weekly report for the results.

Jim Swift

R/V Roger Revelle Expedition KNOX03RR
CLIVAR/CO2 cruise I8S
Chief Scientist Weekly Report 2, 12 February 2007

1400 local; 64.0 °S, 119.3 °E; air temp -0.1 °C (32 °F), wind 18 knots from NE

R/V Roger Revelle is now steaming west along 64 °S, having completed the initial crossing of the Circumpolar Current in good order. There are a few icebergs about, and with air temperatures near freezing and occasional snow flurries, we are enjoying the Antarctic ambiance, not to mention being south of most of the heavier weather we’d rather miss. The long daylight hours assist the bridge with seeing the few ice bits we need to avoid. We are getting ice updates, and we will adjust the start of the I8S transect to best fit local ice conditions in the Davis Sea area.

Since the last report we completed a test cast with the trace metal rosette, and yesterday did two test/training casts with the big 36-place rosette, plus another test cast with the trace metal rosette. Some nagging problems with the LADCP (lowered Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) are the primary remaining concern, though we also have a few Niskin bottle leaks to repair. The two deck teams, under the guidance and tutelage of Gene Pillard and Rob Palomares, are learning to work and communicate well together when launching and recovering the rosette, extremely important to working safely in the rough seas we expect later during the cruise.

Yesterday’s test casts took place in the vicinity of an iceberg, so Captain Murline’s post-cast treat was a short photo-op detour, and the cooks followed that up with a delicious steak dinner, with Chief Engineer Paul Mauricio doing the honors on the grill.

This long steam to our first station has provided ample opportunity for the science team to gain their sea legs, prepare and test equipment, and get to know each other. With luck we may be beginning our stations by Friday. We are ready, and all is well.

Jim Swift, Chief Scientist
Annie Wong, Co-Chief Scientist

I8S Iceberg