14 November, 1995

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 field Strait.

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.

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