November 14, 1995
Location: Returning to the Bransfield Strait from the Southwest Scotia Sea
Update: We have found our way back to the Bransfield Strait, and with
the brash ice it helped to calm the seas considerably. We finished doing
seismic work in the Drake Passage and will not be going back to that area
to survey again this cruise. Some excellent Sea Beam and Seismic data was
collected during our time in the Passage. The geophysicists on board are
pleased with the results of theirs survey. We will continue to do work
with sea floor mapping and the search for hydrothermal vents in Brans
It is really nice to be in the calm water because I can think again. I
wasnít sea sick while we were in the Drake Passage, but it was an effort
to move around the ship and stay focused on tasks. The constant motion
makes everything you do much more t iring than you can imagine. I spent
most of the morning on the trip back to Bransfield catching up on writing
in my journal.
We have been going through the ice since we entered Bransfield Straits
at about noon today. The winds are still quite high, but the ice really
dampens the waves. There was a very noticeable difference in the motion
of the ship as we left the open wat er of the Drake, and entered the
protected water of Bransfield. The ice is an awe inspiring spectacle of
shape and motion, but it makes transit from point to point a slow process.
In open water we cruise at about 10 knots. In the ice our speed rarely ex
ceeds 4 knots.
Having the elements take charge of our travel plans gives us all time
to think about this menagerie of water and ice. The sea takes on the role
of conductor for this moving symphony of brash ice and bergs. I love to
listen to the sound of the ice as it passes along the sides of the ship.
There is a continuous low rumble lake a base drum keeping the beat.
Occasionally large pieces of ice hit with enough force to create a cymbal
crash against the steel hull. The brash ice brushes against the hull ma
king as soft quite low sound like a cello bowing the same note slowly and
softly. I love to watch and listen to the ice.
It was a spectacular sunset. The bergs are like prisms in the evening
the way they reflect the light creating a palette of color that is only
seen when the sun is low on the horizon. A few penguins were drifting
along on the bergs enjoying the sunset tonight too. It is hard to resist
a great sunset. Here in the Antarctic it is kind of like the excitement
we had as kids, when mom or dad would read us a bedtime story. We were
never quite sure what the story would be, but because mom or dad would be
reading we knew that what ever we heard would be wonderful. The sunset is
like a bedtime story. It ends our day, and slowly prepares us for night.
As evening approached, the OSU team prepared for another night of work
with the ZAPS Sled. A five hour drift is planned. They hope to gather
more data that will add more information in their work to understand
hydrothermal activity in this area.