16 March, 2000
Another sunny, beautiful day at Station A, latitude 64..12 S and Longitude 65.22 W. We finish collecting our core samples with the
box core,Kasten core and megacore. This is a very abundant site. We can see lots of worms as we wash the sediments from the cores.
Our huge plankton samples from the Tucker Trawl confirm this. Our Otter Trawl is teeming with invertebrates: polychaetes and
nemertieans (worms), asteroids (sea stars), holothuriaans, peniagone, urchins, anemones, scotoplanes (sea pigs), pictagonids (sea spiders), sponges, crinoids, shrimp, bivalves, and gastropods (snails). There are also a few fish, some of them ice fish which do not need red
blood cells. The oxygen is so rich in the deep cold water, the blood is able to absorb enough from the gills without the aid of red blood cells.
In the afternoon the decision is made to travel to the French Passage and Penola Strait to gather some sea ice. New research will be started on the bacteria which inhabits sea ice. This is a beautiful area of Antarctica; snow covered mountains on both sides of the passages with glaciers flowing down into the sea. Little icebergs
are floating everywhere. The ship gently pushes them aside to continue on course. As we travel through the ice we see leopard
seals and penguins resting on the larger chunks. A Minke whales blow and sound repeatedly among the ice. A small group leaves the ship on a Zodiac to search for sea ice leaving the rest of us time to revel
in the beauty surrounding us as we drift gently in the water.
The search for sea ice is unsuccessful. The ice surrounding us has all been calved from glaciers not frozen from sea water in the
subzero winter temperatures. However, the afternoon cannot be considered a loss with all of the beauty around us to absorb. The evening ends with a sunset beyond the icebergs and a brilliant moonrise over the peaks. We steam back to our research sites to complete the last of our sampling.
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