31 October, 1995

October 31, 1995

Location: Drake Passage 59 degrees Latitude x 60 degrees Longitude.

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 sea sickness.

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 data.

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.

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