If there has been any day on the trip so far where sods law has had its way, it had to be today! After the last few days of thick fog stopping us doing pretty much everything that requires the boat to move or the helicopter to fly, today it ‘dawned’ bright and clear. The plans were quickly decided that today we would finally get the work done on the glacier in the Petermann Fjord. The glacier is peculiar in the fact that it loses the majority of its mass through melting rather than through calving ice bergs. We hoped to locate the position of any freshwater outflows from the glacier (resulting from its melting), and whether these mapped to the locations of inverted valleys on the underside of the ice which have been indentified by glaciologists.
However, it was when the ice recon flight returned that sods law struck; the way into the Petermann Fjord had become block with ice too thick for the ship to break through! The southerly winds which had been blowing for the last few days had caused the ice to stop drifting south and instead made it drift northwards and too the right (result of Ekman transport), right into were we wanted to go! Typical!
So instead of spending the day next to a glacier, the boat turned south and started to head back down the Strait towards the transect were we plan to re-deploy all the moorings. Before leaving we completed another seven station CTD section with water samples. My fingers very quickly became blocks of ice and I was very relived when it finished and I could finally crawl into bed at 2.30am.
News Flash!! News Flash (19th August – I am writing a day behind) – the ice conditions shown by the satellite appear to have cleared enough for us to get into the glacier – I am off to find out what’s going on!