Sunday, 4 November 2012

SIPEX-II Update, from 3 Oct - 4 Oct

A good wrap up of some fieldwork in this update!
3rd Oct, Day nineteen 
and 4th Oct, Day twenty
POSITION: 64o 52 S, 120o 58 E
Wind: mild
Temperature: -15oC
Station 3! Yeay!
Helicopter out, and they brought back news for three possible ice
floes for a good ice station. We approached to the 1st one, and broke
it when we tried to moor the ship.
Later afternoon, we finally arrived at our Ice Station 3! Horray! 
We were all really happy that we could finally go out for a walk or
do a bit work. Especially when the weather was really gentle to us,
nice sunshine, almost no wind, and it’s really warm, only -15oC. 
We plan to stay in this ice floe for today and tomorrow only, so all
groups rushed out for work as soon after all the flags out. 
Our on-board engineers repaired krill pump for us. They are AWESOME!
More like magicians to me, I would like to call them men of
“everything is possible” (we would have a story for them shortly). We
set on a spot very close to the ship (about 10m away). Then everyone
discovered the difficulties on this ice floe. It is really THICK!
This ice floe has a heavy snow cover with an average of 1m.
Underneath, the ice all packed and rafted, with an average thickness
of 1.5m. 
The trace-metal team had a lot of troubles on this station. They
needed to walk a long way to their site with all the heavy gears, the
corers, and the survival bag. On the morning of 4th Oct, they walked
all the way to the site, dug through one-meter snow, and finally saw
the sea ice. But when they start coring, the ice core frozen inside
the corer, and they had to march back to the ship, use milli-Q water
(get it down dripping down from the milli-Q machine, take a long time
to get one bucket) to clean the gear to get the ice out. And this
happened TWICE in one day! In the dinner everyone from trace-metal
looked exhausted and frustrated. Thanks to Klaus, our chief
scientist, trace-metal team started their journey AGAIN after dinner
under Klaus’s company, and finally successfully got samples back
before the sunset.  
Time to talk about our 2nd krill pump. The giant monster flew from
the States, and was originally designed for fish farms. Now we
modified some parts of it and use it to pump krill from the water. It
sits in a blue container and pumps with long pipes. Each pipe needs 7
people to carry. Each time to set it up involves efforts from many
[krill pump operation 1 & 2]
Unfortunately, all the ice cores we are taking were crystal clear,
did not show much biological accumulation. Also because it is so hard
to cut a hole on the ice, we started to put our net down from “trawl
deck”, the back of the ship where we deploy all the big instruments,
like AUV, CTD, TMR etc. 
[Patti taking net samples]

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