25 November, 1995

November 25, 1995

Location: 66 42' South Latitude x 102 49' West Longitude


We survived our second time change, and in just three days we have gained two hours. The third time change is not far ahead. Every fifteen degrees of longitude that we travel brings a change in time zone with it. All of our scientific data is collected and recorded using GMT, Greenwich Mean Time. Local time changes with the longitude, but GMT is a constant by which all of our data is referenced. We also record the days in Julian Calender days by number, in addition to month and day. The Julian day changes at midnight GMT.

Many of us were awoke by a fire alarm at about 1:30 PM. We usually have them on Sunday's but todays alarm wasn't a practice, it was a false alarm. Everyone made it to their stations, many with bed head, some too tired to care, The alarm had been tripped by a ship's engineer working on one of the ship's systems. The mistake was quickly resolved. What was important to the captain and crew was that everyone was prepared, and knew the proper procedures to follow. Safety cannot be over stressed in these waters.

After we all assembled, the first mate gave us an overview of our progress. He felt confident that we would continue to make good time, and the weather looked as though it will remain fair. Today we were getting some 25 foot swells. These are some of the largest waves that we have seen. It is amazing watching them from the bridge. You can see a wall of water moving toward you from in the distance. As it nears its shape becomes more clear, like a rolling hill moving in your direction. As the ship meets the swell, its bow rocks upward, moving with the water, carrying the ship onto the swell's crest. It seems as if we are in slow motion, as the ship slowly slides down the opposite side of the swell. The stern of the boat rises up positioning the bow downward. It fells as if we are going to slide down into the sea, but the ship slowly levels itself, floating onto the next swell. It is an ominous roller coaster ride controlled by the rhythm of the swell.

The sea has been taken over by these large rolling swells. The small six to eight foot waves to which we have become accustomed have disappeared. The motion of the boat is completely different now, and it makes all of us feel tired and lazy. The water's surface appears almost smooth, disrupted only by the moving hills of water, the swell.

We are traveling alone these days. As we get farther from land, are bird companions leave us to make our transit alone. I miss their company and their entertaining acrobatics. We continue to travel south trying to follow a great circle route. We will continue to do so until we encounter ice, then we will adjust our course northward so that we can maintain our speed.

We are scheduled to be in New Zealand by December 8. If the weather holds out that should be our arrival day. The ship has three days to unload and prepare for the next group of researchers. The next cruise will emphasize biological studies. They will be studying the krill bloom in the Antarctic waters.

We continue to discover interesting features on the sea floor along our course as we do our sonar mapping. We have traveled almost 1000 miles since we left Bransfield Strait. We have about 2800 miles to go. The roaring 50's and 40's will have to be crossed to reach New Zealand. They could toss natures worst at us. We try not to worry about it.

There is more time for conversation and relaxation these days. People spend their free time playing cards, talking and watching movies. I am getting to know many of the crew and science staff now that our days are less rigorous. This helps make each day new. The sea, though ever changing, seems like an unfailing obstacle preventing us from our destination. We must make our own distractions. Afternoon berg watching, and beautiful sunsets seem to have happened eons ago rather than days. We make an effort to make each day different.

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