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28 April, 2003

Fishing Expedition

I was given the opportunity to come aboard the ship for a fishing expedition.

Scientists trawl at night. Trawlers only run after dark and before dawn. To trawl means they put out these big nets that float to the sea floor. Then, as the boat moves forward, it drags the nets along. Anything in the net's path gets picked up and carried into the net. After about 20 minutes, the scientists bring the nets back up to see what they have caught. The scientists are looking for specific species, so anything they catch that they do not need is thrown back into the sea. The fish they catch that they do want, they put into a seawater tank to keep them alive until they get back to the station. They will use these fish to study them and to find out more about the fish and their adaptations to the cold environment here in Antarctica.

Fish pots are put out and left. They have buoys on them and hours later the scientists will go back and check them to see if they have any fish in them. Fishing pots run all of the time.

Scientists take turns fishing and trawling because there is no way all of them could stay up for 24 hours working for 3-4 days straight.

Maggie and I were invited along because there is a parcticular carnivorous amphipod, Orchomene plebs, which my PI, Chuck Amsler, is looking for to conduct an experiment. Dr. Bruce Sidell, the current chief scientist, said that when they went on their last fishing cruise, they saw quite a few of them Maggie received permission to come along and get them if they do indeed get caught.

I was given permission to come along with many thanks to Chuck. Rocky Ness, our station manager, and Herb Baker, marine project coordinator, are also both responsible for allowing me to accompany Bruce's group on the fishing expedition. Chuck and Bruce are good friends. They cooperate with one another in their science work. Bruce is familiar with the TEA program. In the past, he has offered to take TEA's on his Antarctic expeditions. I would like to thank all of the Palmer and LMG personnel who made this opportunity available to me. Chuck thought this would be an exciting new learning experience for me and Bruce agreed, so I was able to come along.

Whale Watching

I have spent most of my time on board the ship so far up on the bridge. The bridge has the best seat in the house for viewing the scenery except there is no place to sit. You have to stand. Still, I love being on the bridge. You can see everything there. We watched humpback whales and minke whales frolicking in the water all day. It was a wonderful past time. We were sort of playing a game to see who could spot the next group or pod of whales first.


I heard a new word for icebergs today. Growlers. I asked Maggie why they are called growlers. She said it is because they make the ship's mate growl when they see one on the ship's course. Then, the mate has to reroute the course and those makes them growl!

1. Here you can see the dorsel fin of a humpback whale. Not being an expert whale photographer, I missed the whale's flukes.

2. Maybe you can see the dorsel fin of the whale better in this picture.

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