Sunday, November 20, 2005

Finally Sampling

So back on the 17th I had mentioned that the ice blew out in an overnight storm.  This gave us the chance to finally get out to one of the closest stations (B) to gather some samples from our depths of interest.  This was quite an experience with the winds gusting up to 25 knots and at a steady 15 knots.  The air was about 15°F but the wind was pounding us continuously for two hours.  The cold is extremely emphasized when you are sampling seawater and your hand and clothes are soaking wet.  We were very lucky to have packed many hand warmers, we did not hesitate to break those bears out.  The wind was so intense that it did not just cause issues for us staying warm but Kerry and I also had a heck of a time keeping ourselves on station.  Continuously running the motor is not my favorite way to ensure that we are in place so we kept back tracking.  We started to realize that our motion has been bringing us out of a deep location and into an area where we could possible be dragging one, possibly two, of our $4000 GoFlo bottles on the bottom.  (A Go-Flo sampling bottle is a plastic hollow tube with rotating valve ends that close when they are triggered with a solid brass weight.  The bottle is then lifted from depth to be collected for analysis.)  Our Zodiac is a new rig that has never been taken out before and on this trip we found that we were missing some important equipment, a depth finder.  This means that we would not know if we were in the shallow area.  We could not attempt to sample under these conditions.  So we traded boats with our cohorts from Maria Vernet’s lab and commandeered one of the awesome lab techs from her lab, Austin. He was a tremendous help leading us through our very first time collecting depth samples on a zodiac.  We are used to sampling on large ships but this 15ft zodiac is a little more precarious.  


Elizabeth said...

Hi George. Your blogs are very informative, but what I really want to know is how Kerry's enjoying Antarctica.

Keep up the blogging.

gorg said...

Hi Elizabeth. That is a question that I though all who know us would be curious of, but you are the first to ask. A little background... Kerry hates the cold and especially the long winters that we have in Syracuse. So therefore everyone including myself thought that she might have some issues with being in Antarctica. (I wasn't lying, just a little background.) The temperature here has been pretty steady 30 and up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit on really sunny days. The sun is the most important aspect of living here. Right now we are in light for 24 hours but the sun does fall beneath the horizon for about 4 and a half hours. This is very similar to dusk at home only it lasts for 4 and a half hours. The benefit of long term sun is the increased rate seasonal change. Spring is fading quickly here and summer will be upon us soon. Also being out in this extremely intense sun makes 30 feel like 50, plus the wind has been pretty low on most days. Anyway Kerry realizes that we could be back in Syracuse right now, and I understand that it is starting to get cold there. ;) Bottom line is Kerry is having a blast with all aspects of life here. She has made great friends, been offered a job, played all over the glacier, gone swimming in the -1C ocean water, and now that the ice has cleared and work is really moving we are starting to get into the time blur. We will be home before we know it.

I will keep up on the blog, I swear. But right now we are shy a person and we are going nuts trying to keep up with the work. I will have some new photos up tonight too. said...

Hey, sounds like you guys are having a great time. Say "Hi," to Dave.

Brian Brown

gorg said...

Brian, it is good to hear that you have the chance to check this stuff out. I will definitely give Dave a Big Hello for you. He is in the Ross Sea right now and he is running a journal of his own. It is actually quite interesting, his work changes everyday unlike the repetitious nature of the research that we are conducting down here at Palmer. You can find Dave’s correspondence just off of the ESF home page. I will be more active on this blog very soon. We have reinforcements coming, the Great Dr. John Dacey is next in line of the PI's that are joining us down here.