21 May, 1992
AIR TEMP: 3.5
Today 21/05/92, we will finally set sail for Antarctica. Due to very heavy ice and very short day light hours, ship has been late returning by some five days. Therefore, have spent past five days in Punta Arenas, Chile. 100,000 people; 28% of which are military. Scarey to see military personnel on every other corner in full gear including very large machine guns. Know now why I appreciate America! Science I will be involved with is Sea Ice Study. We have multifaceted research task. One thing we will be doing is observation of ice on hourly basis (my shifts are 1600-2000 hr and then again at 0400-0800; includes describing of type of ice, thickness of ice, growth of algae in ice, age of ice, type of ice flow, concentration of ice. All this is done from inside bridge of ship. I (we) then go out on overhang catwalk on ship; attach myself (ourselves) with safety harness 80' above water and shoot; in 40 knot winds at -30 to -40 C, and, shoot for 5 to 10 minutes of video per hr. ITS SCAREY UP THERE IN CALM OF PORT; CAN'T IMAGINE WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE UNDERWAY!
Due to fact that ice is so thick, coming out, ship broke ice 12 ft thick; ship must look for leads, open water. Therefore, will park at night (19 hrs at this time of year). During this time, Sea Ice Group will be involved with research only required to put people on ice (Naomi, teacher from CA and his student, and myself). Once Oceanographic Group does their CDT's, we will be put over side of starboard stern by a crane along with all our gear, and, there is a tremendous amount of that. Once on ice, we will dig numerous snow pits studies: measure snow depth, hardness, take sample for salinity and density back on ship, and measure crystal size. Once we finish this work, we will drill ice cores through total ice cover at one meter intervals for a distance of 100 meters. In these holes, we will measure thickness of snow cover, thickness of ice, temperature of ice and determine topography of ice using a transect. Having finished this, we will take larger core sample for return to ship for microtome sectioning to study ice crystal structure under polarized light, extract the algae for biology group from CA (young scholar Robert Swayzer in this group), and bring back cores to ship's cold room for shipment to CRREL in NH, where during summer, Naomi will have job helping scientists interpret and categorize data. Once we finish work of Sea Ice Team (Naomi, Brett Castillo [Young Scholar], John Cavnaugh [Mentor from CA], post doctorate Burt Yanklin, co-team leader Vicky Lytle, myself and team leader Dr. Tony Gow [has mountain in Antarctica named after him-MT. GOW], we will sled all equipment across ice to bow of ship 308 ft away and do similar work to establish ground truth of radar sensing of snow and ice cover that was done with Burt Yanklin. We are going to do all this on our way to full recovery of Weddell Ice Station I. Ice camp recovery is of primary importance, all else is secondary. All personnel and all materials, from bulldozers and helos to trash and human waste, must be retrograded back to USA.
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