Friday, 21 August 2009

Day 9 – 15th August

So the fog has decided to linger for another day again throwing the ship and the science plans into complete limbo again! I guess in the end though someone got fed up waiting as by the early morning the ship was slowly threading its way north through some of the thickest ice we have seen so far. Up until now the ice floes have been thick but not particularly consolidated with plenty of water between them through which the ship threads its way. Instead of ‘breaking’ ice we have mainly just been banging into single floes which either get pushed out the way, broken in half or sometimes if they are big enough make the whole ship bounce off to one side. Not ideal if you are on the stairs at the time!

However, today we were doing what I would call ‘real’ icebreaking. The ship was surrounded on all sides by what appeared to be a single ice floe and we were slicing are way right through the middle of it. The ice was thick multi year causing the ship to be bounced and thrown all over the place. Numerous times we came to particularly thick areas/ pressure ridges that the ship could not break through in one go. At this point the ship simply backs up, leaving a perfect ship shaped hole in the ice, before ramming the same place over and over again until we break through. The crew were telling us that at one point they were ramming the same spot for over eight hours as they tried to make a route for a fuel tanker! In the end the ship came to halt somewhere around Hans Island although we couldn’t see anything!

Similar to yesterday most people spent the day working on their own tasks. Helen and I set up a CTD so that it could be towed behind the RIB rather than lowered on the winch as one of the aims of the cruise is to get a shallow transect of water properties along the ice front of the Petermann Glacier which is still further north of us. We are hoping to find where the areas of freshwater outflow are located along the ice front which is about 15-16km in length. I will explain more about the work closer to the time. Dave was having a bit of a nightmare with the new weather station that is going to be installed on Cape Baird. After hours trying to work out why all the data coming out the machine seemed to be correct but in completely the wrong places he discovered that two of the wires had been crossed way back in the process of construction and there wasn’t anything wrong with the control code – much to his relief!

Again we had the evening off so we were able to join the crew for their bingo evening. I have never played before, but what a great bunch of people to start with. It was a laugh after a laugh after a laugh. I didn’t win at all but ah well. Dave, Justin, Natasha and myself then wipped out Wii Rockband and shredded up the crews lounge till way after midnight when we suddenly remembered that just because it’s light outside, it doesn’t mean its still early in the evening!!!

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