29 October, 1996
Subject: Re: Journal 29 October 1996
Live from the Polar Duke at King George Island
Location: 62.10S X 58.23W Wind Speed: 11.2 m/sec
Boat Speed: 3.0 knots Wind Direction: 25.3 degrees
Boat Heading: 295 degrees Barometer: 997.48 mb
Humidity: 79 % Air Temp.: 2.7 C
General Weather Conditions: Somewhat cloudy and overcast. It seems warmer, but looking at the temperature, it must be wishful thinking. Pretty smooth sailing so far, although some people have been disappearing to their cabins.
I recieved a bunch of new questions from Mrs McWeeny's e-mailers at Oak Hill Elementary in Virginia:
1. We recieved your mail about the killer wale sightings. Did they splash anybody? Did any of them have babies? Do whales ever get rabies? Did any of them jump high out of the water?
The killer whales that we saw were pretty far away. They swam in close formation and didn't display any Sea World heroics. As far as we could tell there were no babies. I have no idea if whales get rabies, they probably could, just like other mammals. I don't believe that rabies has been introduced into the marine environment.
2. Did you see any leopard seals?
Most of the seals that we saw were crab eaters, they are the most common species of seal in the Southern Ocean. I think that leopard seals are more likely to be seen around penguin rookeries. The majority of our time was spent in the middle of the Gerlache Strait, which is not very close to any rookeries.
3. Have you seen any penguins, and if so, what types?
We saw three species of penguin in Antarctica. The adelie, gentoo and chinstrap. These three species are the most common penguins found around the Antarctic Penninsula.
4. What is the funniest thing you have observed with penguins or other animals?
The gentoo penguins that we saw at Deception island were amusing. I enjoyed their utter disregard for our presence and their incrediable swimming abilities.
5. What is the warmest temperature that you have had so far?
One day the temperature rose above 0 C. It was a calm day, no wind and clear sunny skies so it felt much warmer.
6. Are you getting good results from your project? We want to know if the ozone is affecting the plankton? How large are the plankton that you are working with?
Most of the data will be analyzed in labs back in the states. We won't really be able to see our results until then. Although, some of the experiments that we analyzed on board showed that full exposure to UVB radiation on days with lower than normal ozone levels killed or damaged bacterial cells. The plankton that we are working with are called bacterioplankton. They range in size from 0.8 microns to 0.2 microns.
7. Do you get any fun foods?
We have cookies on board that are not very good. A few times some of us have done some baking after our work hours. We have enjoyed homemade brownies and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
NSF Teacher in Antarctica
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