The first update from Sea Ice Physics Ecosystem eXperiment (SIPEX II) has
arrived from the APECS Oceania members taking part.
64 scientists and researchers are taking part in this year's voyage, the follow up to the first SIPEX expedition in 2007. The expedition members represent France, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Canada and the United States of America. Research projects cover various fields including atmospheric science, sea ice physics, ecology, trace metal chemistry, biology and biogeochemistry.
At 10pm on the 14th of September, after hugging, photographing, and waving
handkerchiefs to families and friends on the wharf for almost one hour, we finally made our departure with the orange Australian icebreaker – the Aurora Australis.
We had a busy day to run around, drop our bags, drink our last beer(s) before departure, and kiss everyone goodbye. Hobart is very pretty in the night with scattered lights all over the mountains.
16th September, Day Two
Woke up at 4.30 for a wee sky watching with our American atmosphere scientist – Steve (apparently also a fine astrologist), then followed with a gym session (yes, we have a gym on board!!).
The 2nd day on the Aurora Australis, we are still hanging around in southern Tassie waters, to enjoy the last bit of warm sunshine and the calm ocean, play music and yoga-stretching on the heli-deck while waiting for tests for all the instruments before we really start our journey heading South.
It seems we have a tiny folk-band on board. Guitars + ukulele + harmonica + mandolin + “mouth harp” (Ginbarde in French and it’s probably better to keep it in French) + "sansi" (an African instrument), a SIPEX theme song is highly possible at the end of two months!
17th September, Day Three
We are OFF!!
All the tests were going well, and we officially start heading South!! Yeaaah!
The boat is busy filled with all different briefings and inductions basically for everything. Every single little thing happening on the ship needs a proper instruction Induction for using the life-jacket, induction for going to the galley, induction for access to certain parts of the boat, induction for working in the lab, induction for working on the ice (as girls, we also had a tiny induction about how to pee on the ice…keep practising in your shower before really use it!) etc.
As part of everyone's gear, the simple water bottle we got also has complete instructions printed on it, very thoughtful for geeks and nerds who cannot use a plastic bottle properly ?
Hydrate or die!
1. Hold the bottle;
2. Unscrew the lid;
3. Place bottle under tap;
4. Fill bottle;
5. Drink contents;
6. Refill bottle;
7. Repeat above steps throughout the day x 4
Do you ever know you need repeat drinking four times a day to keep hydrated?
Btw, our DVD library (the ex-on-board-BAR) is open! It’s very entertaining to see piles of DVD boxes sitting behind a bar instead of all the glasses and real alcohol.
Also check out the blog of Dr Wendy Pyper, science reporter at the Australian Antarctic Division, as she covers SIPEX-II aboard the Aurora Australis.