October 31, 1995
Location: Drake Passage 59 degrees Latitude x 60 degrees
We are approximately 200 miles from Elephant Island.
We should be at Elephant Island in about a day and a half.
Yesterday, October 30, was the first day that I was able to be up
and moving around. I with a few other members of the science and
support teams did not handle the transition into the rougher seas
of the Drake Passage very well. As a result I spent nearly two
days in bed, waiting and hoping for the sea sickness to pass. It
is hard to describe what it feels like. Your head feels like
someone or something is pounding on it. Your stomach feels like it
is being pulled and twisted at the same time, and you have both hot
and cold flashes. You just keep hoping that the motion will stop,
but it never does. Eventually, you feel better, and things get
back to normal, but the boat keeps rolling and pitching and you do
your best to keep upright.
I apologize for not responding to messages earlier.
To jaj5753 - The journey to Chile was wonderful. I hope that our
trip through the Drake continues to be rather uneventful.
To: TDary - On the morning of October 29, the bridge spotted a
single whale off the starboard side. It wasn't with us for very
long. The only other animal life is a flock of gulls that has been
with us since we left Chile nearly 200 miles ago.
To: wags - As far as making friends goes, these first few days
have been very hectic. The science teams have been working to make
sure that all of their equipment survived the trips from the US.
We have meals 4 times a day if you want to eat that much. The food
is good, mostly with a Cajun flare. There is always plenty of
juice, coffee and tea. It is important to stay hydrated to avoid
UPDATE: We are currently following the Shackleton Ridge, a
fracture zone at the convergence of three plates in the Drake
Passage. This is an interesting feature because there are two
plates along the ridge that are moving horizontally to one another
producing what is called a strike/slip compression zone. The
resulting pressure from the two moving plates is producing a region
of steep mountains along the ocean floor in this area. We are
surveying this area using an instrument called the Sea Beam, which
uses sonar to map the changing elevations of the ocean floor.
The Klinkhammer crew has been testing their equipment. There was
concern earlier that some of the pressure vessels and electrons had
been irreparably damaged during the transport to the ship.
Fortunately all of the equipment tested so far checks out as ok.
We will continue to survey the Shackleton as long as the weather
and seas allow. In very heavy seas, the Sea Beam gives erratic
I sit a daily watch from 4 pm to 12 midnight each day. During the
watch I am responsible for keeping a written log of events
corresponding to all of the data being collected by the equipment
on the ship. All data is being stored to computer disk and will be
used by the scientists for years following the cruise.
I look forward to you continued questions.