3 February, 2004
A phone call woke me at 2:10 AM. Jerome Hall was calling from the watch station and was concerned that I was OK. I had overslept, caught in an overly realistic dream. We have been talking about how the dreams that we have on the ship are different than we normally have when we are home. Most of us can vividly remember the dreams and they are so real that they are almost touchable. This new dream experience is a bit unnerving. The details of the dreams that are remembered well into the day seem more like memories of events at happened yesterday.
Jill Van Tongeren was late for watch as well. She made her way up to the bridge to begin marine mammal watch after a call from Jerome. The next few hours went smoothly.
By 4:30 AM we were deploying the multichannel streamer, because we would be out of the ice for the rest of the morning. We planned to collect data along a shot line that was all ice-free open water. For most of the morning, we had been dodging bergs and fast ice towing the single channel streamer. The multichannel deployment takes about forty-five minutes. While the multichannel streamer was deployed off the winch on the back deck, we continued to collect single channel seismic data.
At 4:45 AM the air guns were still operating, but the computers were not storing the incoming seismic data. It took a short while for the electronics techs to get things back on line. In that time the single channel streamer was retrieved and the ship made a wide loop to go back to as close to the ice edge as possible to start the new shot line. For the rest of the morning, data collection went smoothly with everyone on the morning shift switching between beam editing, marine mammal observations and watch standing.
Throughout the cruise, the scientist and the ship electronics and marine support have gotten together informally as the need arose to discuss problems and issues in parcticular with the seismic equipment. The single channel streamer is about 300 meters long and the multichannel streamer is about 1400 meters long. Towing such a long piece of equipment in the vicinity of the fast ice and bergs is a concern for all the groups involved. To make sure that everyone is on the same page, problems, concerns and questions are regularly discussed in small informal meetings held near the acquisition computers in the dry lab. It is not unusual to have six to ten people keeping everyone up to speed on their end of the operation.
By early evening, we had complete the seismic survey and headed back into the ice along the coast of McMurdo Sound to collect mutibeam sonar. The goal was to filling all the missing swaths that existed because of missing mutibeam data that had occurred due to the necessity for the ship to dodge the ice when we were doing seismic.
When the ship is in the ice, it is a unique opportunity to scout out for penguins and seals. The fast ice is the floating home for colonies of Adelie Penguins and solitary seals. It is not unusual to see small groups of penguins riding the flows from one place to another. Occasionally they will do a near splash less dive into the ocean, one that an Olympic diver would spend his or her career perfecting. They swim effortlessly in the water. They nearly take flight as they porpoise out of the water hurdling imaginary barriers as the swim to the next flow. The approach of the ship has little affect on the penguins. Most times they ignore us, but when we do get to close, they will scamper to the opposite side of the flow.
Seals have a completely different agenda. Their sole priority appears to be to get a suntan. They lay lazily on their floating ice beach, only raising their heads to avoid getting the sun in their eyes. They pay little attention to the ship. They don't move or call. They simply wait until we leave so that they can lounge to the quite sounds and soothing motion of the waves.
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