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Journals 2007/2008

Mark Goldner
Heath School, Brookine, MA

"Dynamics and Transport of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in Drake Passage"
R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer

November 7 - December 7, 2007
Journal Index:
November 7 - 8 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 18 - 19
               21 - 22 - 24 - 25 - 27 - 28 - 29
December 2 - 4 - 5 - 6

Additional Resources

November 27, 2007
Phone call day!

56° 54' S, 64° 27' W
Temp. 6°C / Wind chill -10°C
Winds at ~40 knots / seas at around 15-20 feet

Today was a fun day for me - I got to call and talk with each of my four, 7th and 8th grade classes. That was a treat, and I hope my students enjoyed it as much as I did. I enjoyed getting all the questions from you and hearing your voices. Your questions were very thoughtful. It was nice to know that you are as interested in the science as you are concerned about what I'm eating and whether I'm comfortable on the ship!

Me talking on the phone to one of my classes about my experiences. Note the sign on the wall that identifies the phone as the "Morale phone!" After many weeks at sea, being able to make a call home is a real morale boost!
My class as I talk to them from the Palmer

It again makes me realize how time moves differently on the ship; I've been aboard for two weeks now, but it feels like we've been here for months. In these two weeks, I have gotten to know many of the others on the ship much better than I would at home in this time - I guess that's to be expected when you spend such concentrated time together.

Today we had a lot of sun, which was a nice change from the cloudy weather we've had almost the entire trip. At the same time, the seas are pretty rough. There's a stiff wind, and the swells are large and choppy. Some of the swells have to be at least 20 feet high! I found a spot towards the back where it was sheltered from the wind. It felt really nice to spend 30 minutes or so just looking at the waves and the birds.

The incredible waves we saw this evening. The pictures don't really capture their size or beauty.
One of the many Cape Petrels we see following the ship

Because the seas are so rough, we couldn't do any CTD casts this afternoon. So it's another day of waiting; the boat is in what's called a "weather pattern," where we stay close to the spot where we need to be for the next CTD cast, but the boat is maneuvered so it bears the brunt of the waves as easily as possible. When the work stops like this I think everyone gets a little stir crazy. We've been on the ship for 2 weeks now, and the end seems to be in sight. However, there's still a lot of work to do, but we have to wait until the seas improve to do it!

Randy Watts and Gerry Chaplain discussing plans for the night watch