JR224: Chemosynthetic life in the Antarctic


Cruise diary

Thursday 12 & Friday 13 February 2009
Location: South Georgia Island (54ºS - 37ºW)

A real treat: visit to South Georgia Island

Yesterday we were treated with a fantastic experience: the James Clark Ross went into Cumberland Bay in the south coast of South Georgia Island and we had a couple of hours to go ashore! The bosun Dave and his crew prepared two boats. Then everyone going ashore got into boat-suits and, after a boat briefing given by the Chief Mate Tim and a briefing about South Georgia given by the BAS base commander Emma, we were taken to Grytvyken, an old whaling station. There, we walked amongst King Penguins, fur seals and elephant seals on our way to Sir Ernest Shackleton's grave! We then walked back around the grounds of the whaling station and the remains of two whaling ships, visited the little white church where you can ring the bells, visited the very nice museum and walked back to King Edward's Point, where the BAS base is and where we were being picked up to go back to the JCR. It has been a fantastic treat!

Working on the last study site

Today we are working south of South Georgia Island, on our last study site: a potential cold seep site. As we have been doing in the other areas, the first thing we did was swath bathymetry to obtain a detailed seafloor map. We then conducted a  CTD tow-yo over the selected area in the map, which will provide information on methane concentration in the water column after the water samples taken by the CTD have been analysed on board. The next steps are to take sediment samples with the boxcorer, to analyse the geochemistry of the sediment as well as to collect any potential macrofauna (small animals) such as small tubeworms and crustaceans.

Meet us again on Monday for the last news from the James Clark Ross!


RRS James Calrk Ross offshore Georgia Island, being admired by various wildlife!

A visit to Shackleton's grave

Paul models the latest trend in survival gear

King penguins

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