JR161: Food webs in the Antarctic



Cruise Diary

Wednesday 1 November
Scotia Sea: Lat -60.64750 N, Long -48.70063 W

Day 8 of the cruise JR161 aboard the British Antarctic Research Ship RSS James Clark Ross
Conditions: calm sea with heavy sea fog, Air Temp: -1.46 °C, Sea Temp: -3.45 °C 

Tom writes: 

"It’s day 8 of the cruise and I’d thought I’d take some time to describe the activity that takes up most of my day.  It’s not science, or sleeping, or even downloading the cricket scores, it’s changing clothes.  The requirements of working in the Southern Ocean, conducting science experiments and the need to comply with health and safety regulation mean it’s hard to walk 10 paces on the ship without having to change into another a different costume. This season’s collection (highly unlikely to be seen on the catwalks of London, Paris and Milan):


(1)  Main Lab: The all-time classic science of a white lab coat, combined effortlessly with safety spectacles and latex gloves….It’s such a joy not to have to worry about what to wear every day.

(3)  On deck: Deck work separates the men from the boys and again it’s the classic overalls (thermally lined for the Antarctic), together with safety helmet, steel toe cap boots and gloves, all of which are essential when deploying equipment from the ship…and this seasons colour? Guantanamo-bay orange. (It’s the new black.)

(2)  Trace-Metal Clean Lab: The futuristic look, an all-in-one disposable number is surprisingly made from paper and prevents dust and other contaminants from your body affecting the analysis of trace-metal concentrations in sea-water samples.  Finished off with matching blue gloves and plastic bags on your feet, this is a must for any budding chemical oceanographer.

(4)  On land: As we approach Signy Island Research Station, its time to break out the terrestrial collection.  Designed by the fashion houses of the British Antarctic Survey and adorned in Gerri-Halliwell-inspired union-jack flags.  The skidoo helmet with built-in visor and ear-protectors is to die for.

Science Update: We’ve finished work at the low-productivity station, and are now heading for Signy Island to drop off the scientists who will spend the season there.  We’ve started to see icebergs, and the landing at Signy is ice-dependent – if it’s clear, we’ll land by water (small boats deployed from the James Clark Ross), but if it’s still surrounded by ice we’ll have to moor the James Clark Ross to the ice and walk in.  (ETA is Friday).


My first iceberg!

Searchlights on at night to look out for icebergs

Icebergs - Speaking of which …. Joke of the week.
(Courtesy of Mr. F. Bear):

Q. What do you get if you cross the Atlantic with the Titanic?
A. Half Way!

More soon - please visit us again in a few days' time for the next installment....

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