15 February, 1998
Greetings from the NBP! Well, last night's calm seas sure were sort lived! I woke up about 3:30 a.m. and knew that the waves were pretty big. When I finally went downstairs at about 5:30 a.m. . . . I knew why! We had 60 mph winds and 10-12 foot waves! Thankfully, we were in the Ross Sea and not the open ocean. Normally, 60 mph winds would make much LARGER waves. We were running perpendicular to the waves, and that was bad enough. At about 7:15 a.m., however, we had to make a turn. In the middle of the turn, we were parallel to the waves, and we rocked so much that stuff that wasn't bolted or tied down went flying to the floor (like my coke). After about 10 minutes of scrambling around and picking stuff up (and putting other stuff away), Dr. Anderson and Stephanie tried to find a different plan. By 7:45 a.m. we were heading towards the back (calm) side of an island to wait out the storm.
We continued southwest in the heavy seas for about 4 hours. We never made it to Coulman Island, but we did find a nice area of pack ice by about 11:45 a.m.. With the ship sitting in the middle of the pack ice, we drifted around for the rest of the day. Occasionally, we would reposition ourselves as the ice seemed to move faster than we were. Not even the Multibeam worked while we were drifting, and the winds were too strong to core or tow anything behind the ship. Once we were in the ice, the seas were MUCH calmer. It's amazing how much the ice dampens the waves. Unfortunately, many people were still feeling a little bad from the rough morning. The winds are down to about 35 mph and the barometer is beginning to rise, so we are hopeful that the night crew will see a break in the weather and be able to begin coring sometime around midnight.
So, as you can see, we weren't able to accomplish much science today in the Ross Sea. Speaking of the Ross Sea, that brings us to yesterday's question: "How do you suppose the Ross Sea got its name?" It was named after Scotsman James Clark Ross. Ross was born in 1800 and joined the Royal Navy at the age of 11. Much of his earlier years at sea were spent in the Arctic. Between 1818 and 1836, he spent eight winters and 15 summers in the Arctic. In 1831, he was second-in-command on a voyage with his uncle, John Ross, to locate the North Magnetic Pole. The "magnetic" pole and the "geographic" pole are two different things. The Earth spins around the geographic poles, which are found at 90 degrees North and South latitude. The Earth's magnetic poles, however, are not found exactly at that location. Compasses point to the North Magnetic Pole.
Ross also wanted to discover the location of the South Magnetic Pole, so his set sail in 1839 with two strengthened ships ready to go through ice -- Erebus and Terror. He spent the autumn in Hobart, Tasmania, and continued his trip south in November of 1840. In early January, the ships pushed through pack ice for four days (his reinforced ships were the first that had been able to withstand such conditions). On January 9, 1841, be broke through to open water and became the first person to reach the Ross Ice Shelf. The next day, he sighted land and discovered Cape Adare (remember this location?). Ross then continued south along a great chain of mountains, which is called Victoria Land (he was still trying to find the South Magnetic Pole). The advance came to a halt when Ross found a bay which he named McMurdo Sound after the first lieutenant on his ship, Archibald McMurdo. He discovered what is now known as Ross Island (where McMurdo Station is located), and named its two mountains after his two ships -- Erebus and Terror. Ross continued trying to reach the South Magnetic Pole, but he was eventually forced home in 1843 after nearly four and a half years away. Ross married later that year, but only after he signed an agreement with his bride's father that his days of polar exploration would end. The South Magnetic Pole was first reached by Douglas Mawson, Edgeworth David, and Alistair Mackay in 1909. It is currently located at 65 degrees South Latitude and 139 degrees East Longitude, off the coast near Commonwealth Bay. Its position moves about 10 to 15 km per year in a north to northwesterly direction.
That about finishes things up for today. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and we can resume coring and deep tow operations. For tomorrow's journal, when do you suppose that the first women visited the Antarctic continent? Thanks so much for all your email. Please keep it coming . . . but remember to change the address after 11:00 p.m. on February 18 (your time) to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. We should be pulling into McMurdo Station shortly after that, and I'll be able to read my "fayette" mail and send my journal entries from there. Until tomorrow . . .
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