|Minke whale off the stern in Beascochella Bay.|
|Helicopters on the Araon about to take off with a group of glaciologists.|
|Scientists from University of Houston, Hamilton College and Colgate.|
We are now headed over to the east side of the Peninsula, which everyone is very excited about because that is where we were supposed to go initially. We had decided to come to the west side instead because there is too much ice on the east side right now, but now it has opened up again and so we are going for it! The ship has the ability to break through about 1 meter of ice and we have a special "ice pilot" (Russian ice expert) on board, so we will be able to hopefully get some data from over there. The east side of the peninsula is very interesting because a large ice shelf just collapsed there in 2005, called the Larsen B, and the scientists on the Araon are interested in how the ecosystem has changed because of it. The ice shelf was about the size of Rhode Island, and used to cover the ocean in that area but now the ocean is open to the sunlight which can allow for phytoplankton to grow, which are at the base of the food web. So there could be some very important effects from the collapse of this ice shelf. More updates from the Larsen B soon!
Life on board has been great so far, we wake up everyday and have breakfast in the galley (ship term for dining area), and then we do some science throughout the day and have usually had a break at night. Sometimes at night people play cards, chat together in the lounge, watch movies, or start a mad game of ping pong in the gym upstairs. The Koreans are dominating everyone on the ship, of course. They are really good!