3 November, 1995

November 3, 1995 Location: On Station 61 38' south 54 53' west Deploying equipment for detecting hydrothermal vents in Bransfield Straight.

Update: We spent most of the night doing Sea Beam surveys of the Bransfield straight area. The geophysicists on board were excited to find a number of unique ridge features that had not been mapped before. Each day of mapping adds valuable information to the team's data base. From this new data, new specific targets for testing for hydrothermal vents are being chosen.

On the hydrothermal vent scene, the researchers are positive about their initial results. They have finally gotten all of their equipment and electronics working properly and have tweaked things to get the best possible data. In the early samples, levels of manganese were higher that average for normal sea water indicating that some source of hydrothermal activity is in the area. The challenge now is to identify a search strategy that will enable the scientists to locate the precise location of a hydrothermal plume.

We have a deep submersible camera on board in the event that we do identify chemically one of the hydrothermal vents. It would be a rare photo opportunity if we could find one of these vents.

The seas were a bit rougher than the past few nights. We had winds of 30 knots, which blew up some pretty good swells. We were going into the wind most of the night doing Sea beam survey, so the boat was pitching rather than rolling. It took a little time to get the stomach used to the new motion, but everyone made it through the night free of any sea sickness.

I have been checking with the bridge every day asking them about whether they had sighted any wildlife. Yesterday they saw a couple of whales in the distance, and about 20 or so penguins. The dominant wildlife are small birds which flock near the ship. As we move farther south and west to meet the Polar Duke we should see more animals.

The ice bergs have been spectacular. Their colors range from white to a brilliant blue. I have seen bergs of all shapes and size. Some are like huge cathedrals, others like smooth floating landing fields. I spend about an hour each day just scanning the horizon looking for there changing shape. I saw one today in the distance which had a blow hole which allowed waves to form spouts which shot columns of water like fountains nearly 100 feet into the air.

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