Monday, April 15, 2013

Land Ho!

First view of the Antarctic Peninsula
Today we reached the Antarctic Peninsula, into one of the many fjords
(glacial carved bays) on the western side. We arrived to a snowy,
windy landscape with numerous seabirds and lots of floating icebergs
nearby. Our trip across the Drake Passage was miraculously calm, which
was very lucky for all of the new scientists on board so we could get
used to the rolling of the ship and gain our "sealegs" so we won't get
seasick. Last night we hit a small storm which caused a lot more
rolling of the ship, but early this morning we arrived into the
protected bay and are much more sheltered.

Mattias Cape, a marine biologist on board, enjoys Korean BBQ.
It is very cold outside now, and in order to go outside I have to put
on several layers of clothing including:

- long-underwear pants and shirt
- pants
- wool socks
- another shirt
- fleece jacket
- fleece gloves
- down jacket
- wind proof jacket
- neck protector
- beanie
- boots

This is a lot of clothing for this southern California girl! It is
worth the beautiful view outside though. One of the goals for the
scientists on this cruise is to fly to the land from helicopters we
have on-board the ship in order to sample the glaciers and install
some new weather stations on the continent. The weather was not good
enough for the helicopters to fly today, so now we are going to map
the seafloor sediments using a multi-beam, which basically allows the
scientists to see what the seafloor looks like in this bay, and where
there might be interesting sediments for them to sample. I am part of
a small group of scientists on the ship that is interested in taking
samples from the water, or water column as we call it, in order to see
the types of phytoplankton (plants in the water), and nutrients that
are present in these narrow bays. We will be starting our sampling
tomorrow by going out on a zodiak (small inflatable boat) to collect
some glacier ice to start an experiment. More soon on the science!


  1. Hi Randie,
    This is Terre' Block------
    2 Questions:
    1. Like in movies could you actually find organisms stored in the ice of glaciers, like a full skeleton-- flesh and all. (Historical reference = Pompei)
    If you find a caveman don't allow him to be experimented upon.**

    2. Are there actual albino or white whales, if you find any neat skeletal parts or funky booty (treasure) show us.

    Randie we miss you and we are waiting for our penguin!!! APES period 2 loves you... We are going to have a welcome home Randie party...

  2. Miss you guys too! I will try my best with the penguin :)

    1. Yes, you can find fossils in glaciers, but as far as I know it is mostly different types of phytoplankton and fossil imprints that are preserved in the ice. Ice is kind of like sediment though, where it records the history of the ice in layers in glaciers. Scientists are really interested in the different ice layers for the history they can tell in terms of the gases stored in the layers (in bubbles) and these fossils.

    2. Yes, there are albino whales but they are really rare. I just saw a video of one recently, google it and watch the video. I can't look it up on here because our internet is too slow but it is really cool!

    I will come by when I get back!