Yesterday the ARSV Gould left the pier, taking most of the winter crew northbound. I’m usually the one leaving on the Gould – either on my way farther south for a research cruise or heading home – so it was strange and a little eerie to be left on land while the ship pulled away… This is it! Those of us who are still here are here to stay for a long time.
There isn’t time for second thoughts, though, because tradition (and peer pressure) says that we all must jump into the water while those leaving on the Gould wave goodbye. After that it’s a mad dash to the hot tub. By the time you’ve thawed out enough to think, the boat has already disappeared from view and it’s just you and your newly-adopted family. Video of our polar plunge coming soon!
We just crossed over 60 degrees South latitude, and are seeing ice for the first time! I don’t care how many times I come down here… sea ice never gets boring. It’s hypnotic, watching it rise and fall with the waves, listening to it scrape and slush against the ship’s hull. For now it’s just brash ice – the remaining chunks of broken-up pack ice and crumbled icebergs – but by this time tomorrow we’ll be well into berg territory. The weather right now: air is just above freezing, the water is just below freezing, and there’s so much fog I can barely see the stern of the ship when I’m standing on deck.
edit: I deleted this video when the audio stopped working. I’ll upload it again as soon as I can!
Here’s another short video I put together in the Antarctic. The footage is mostly of the scientific equipment we used. It’s less exciting than the last video I posted, but I hope it gives you an idea of what it was like on board the ARSV Gould, constantly deploying and retrieving scientific equipment. The first couple of scenes show some rough seas while crossing the Drake Passage; the last few scenes show us taking the Zodiacs out on the water, which was always incredible. Those orange coats you’ll see everyone wearing are nicknamed “float coats” (sort-of a cross between a life vest and a parka… really toasty, but unfortunately not entirely waterproof).
You can click the “HQ” button in the bottom right corner of the player to see the video in higher quality.
Here are a few strung-together clips of icebergs, humpback whales, penguins, and other views from the West Antarctic Peninsula. To see the video in better quality, press play and then select the “HQ” or “view in high quality” setting presented in the bottom right corner.