More stories of adventure in the Southern Ocean! Stay tuned for photos.
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25th Sep, Day Eleven 63o52’S Wind: 0.4 knots Air temperature -11oC As you can see, the weather was mild, we had a beautiful sunny day, weak wind and super warm, and we found our first ice station. First ice station, two emperor penguins (“empire penguins” in the Chinese translation!) in the morning, following by another bunch of ten on the big ice floe, which the ship sat next to for a while. Late morning, found a big chunk of ice that seemed pretty stable and safe, Klaus and Psycho (our field training officer) went exploring for the whole group. Apart from Psycho fell into a small hole and thick snow ranged between 30-120cm, the ice condition seems very stable. In the afternoon around tea time, people started to get on the ice for a bit of work. We had intended to make our very first stop for the next 48h. Penguin attack! Krill group went out to explore a nice place that might be a shelter for the larval krill we are looking for. About 50m from the edge of the ice, we found this big ridge sitting on the ice. This is possibly a perfect location for us to capture some krill underneath. A group of emperor penguins came over to spy on us, the aliens coming with the huge orange boat. It was an absolutely amazing experience to find out we were surrounded by penguins in the next 10 minutes. They were so close that we even could clearly see the tiny black eyes, the pink orange-ish beak, and the little water drops resisting on their oil-coat feathers. Their white belly looks golden and shiny with the reflection of sunshine. It is really interesting how they fall down on their belly and slide on the ice with feet and flippers. When standing up, they need help from the beak and the flippers. “They are the most interesting animal I have ever seen” – quoted from R King. An incident When one group was on the ice planning deploy their instrument, there was a swell right between them and the ship. According to witness No.one, the ice moved like a wave and lifted almost one meter. According to witness No.two, he felt the ice moving up and down under his feet. Soon after all these signs, a huge crack appeared in the middle of the ice floe, and separated the snow team and the rest of the people on the ice. Our rescue team, crew, and all the other people worked together nicely and brought all people and instruments back safely. However, we decided to move on after the incident, to find a new floe to settle down.
Read more great articles about the expedition and research projects via Dr Wendy Pyper's blog.
Follow the links on the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre website.