Monday, 1 October 2012

SIPEX-II Update, from 25 September

More stories of adventure in the Southern Ocean!  Stay tuned for photos.

You can check out views from the Aurora Australis webcam via the AAD website.
Images are updated every 30 minutes.

25th Sep, Day Eleven
Wind: 0.4 knots
Air temperature -11oC
As you can see, the weather was mild, we had a beautiful sunny day,
weak wind and super warm, and we found our first ice station. 
First ice station, two emperor penguins (“empire penguins” in the
Chinese translation!) in the morning, following by another bunch of
ten on the big ice floe, which the ship sat next to for a while. Late
morning, found a big chunk of ice that seemed pretty stable and safe,
Klaus and Psycho (our field training officer) went exploring for the
whole group. Apart from Psycho fell into a small hole and thick snow
ranged between 30-120cm, the ice condition seems very stable. In the
afternoon around tea time, people started to get on the ice for a bit
of work. We had intended to make our very first stop for the next
Penguin attack! 
Krill group went out to explore a nice place that might be a shelter
for the larval krill we are looking for. About 50m from the edge of
the ice, we found this big ridge sitting on the ice. This is possibly
a perfect location for us to capture some krill underneath. A group
of emperor penguins came over to spy on us, the aliens coming with
the huge orange boat. It was an absolutely amazing experience to find
out we were surrounded by penguins in the next 10 minutes.  They were
so close that we even could clearly see the tiny black eyes, the pink
orange-ish beak, and the little water drops resisting on their
oil-coat feathers. Their white belly looks golden and shiny with the
reflection of sunshine. It is really interesting how they fall down
on their belly and slide on the ice with feet and flippers. When
standing up, they need help from the beak and the flippers. “They are
the most interesting animal I have ever seen” – quoted from R King.

An incident   
When one group was on the ice planning deploy their instrument, there
was a swell right between them and the ship. According to witness, the ice moved like a wave and lifted almost one meter.
According to witness No.two, he felt the ice moving up and down under
his feet. Soon after all these signs, a huge crack appeared in the
middle of the ice floe, and separated the snow team and the rest of
the people on the ice. Our rescue team, crew, and all the other
people worked together nicely and brought all people and instruments
back safely. However, we decided to move on after the incident, to
find a new floe to settle down.
Read more great articles about the expedition and research projects via Dr Wendy Pyper's blog.
Follow the links on the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre website. 

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