November 25, 1995
Location: 66 42' South Latitude x 102 49' West Longitude
We survived our second time change, and in just three days we have gained
two hours. The third time change is not far ahead. Every fifteen degrees
of longitude that we travel brings a change in time zone with it. All of
our scientific data is collected and recorded using GMT, Greenwich Mean
Time. Local time changes with the longitude, but GMT is a constant by which
all of our data is referenced. We also record the days in Julian Calender
days by number, in addition to month and day. The Julian day changes at
Many of us were awoke by a fire alarm at about 1:30 PM. We usually have
them on Sunday's but todays alarm wasn't a practice, it was a false alarm.
Everyone made it to their stations, many with bed head, some too tired to
care, The alarm had been tripped by a ship's engineer working on one of the
ship's systems. The mistake was quickly resolved. What was important to
the captain and crew was that everyone was prepared, and knew the proper
procedures to follow. Safety cannot be over stressed in these waters.
After we all assembled, the first mate gave us an overview of our progress.
He felt confident that we would continue to make good time, and the weather
looked as though it will remain fair. Today we were getting some 25 foot
swells. These are some of the largest waves that we have seen. It is amazing
watching them from the bridge. You can see a wall of water moving toward
you from in the distance. As it nears its shape becomes more clear, like a
rolling hill moving in your direction. As the ship meets the swell, its bow
rocks upward, moving with the water, carrying the ship onto the swell's
crest. It seems as if we are in slow motion, as the ship slowly slides down
the opposite side of the swell. The stern of the boat rises up positioning
the bow downward. It fells as if we are going to slide down into the sea,
but the ship slowly levels itself, floating onto the next swell. It is an
ominous roller coaster ride controlled by the rhythm of the swell.
The sea has been taken over by these large rolling swells. The small six to
eight foot waves to which we have become accustomed have disappeared. The
motion of the boat is completely different now, and it makes all of us feel
tired and lazy. The water's surface appears almost smooth, disrupted only
by the moving hills of water, the swell.
We are traveling alone these days. As we get farther from land, are bird
companions leave us to make our transit alone. I miss their company and
their entertaining acrobatics. We continue to travel south trying to follow
a great circle route. We will continue to do so until we encounter ice,
then we will adjust our course northward so that we can maintain our speed.
We are scheduled to be in New Zealand by December 8. If the weather holds
out that should be our arrival day. The ship has three days to unload and
prepare for the next group of researchers. The next cruise will emphasize
biological studies. They will be studying the krill bloom in the Antarctic
We continue to discover interesting features on the sea floor along our
course as we do our sonar mapping. We have traveled almost 1000 miles since
we left Bransfield Strait. We have about 2800 miles to go. The roaring
50's and 40's will have to be crossed to reach New Zealand. They could toss
natures worst at us. We try not to worry about it.
There is more time for conversation and relaxation these days. People spend
their free time playing cards, talking and watching movies. I am getting to
know many of the crew and science staff now that our days are less rigorous.
This helps make each day new. The sea, though ever changing, seems like an
unfailing obstacle preventing us from our destination. We must make our own
distractions. Afternoon berg watching, and beautiful sunsets seem to have
happened eons ago rather than days. We make an effort to make each day