12 October, 1998
What a morning I woke up to today. Last night I went to bed with the wind howling and acording to the weather forecast today was to be more of the same. It did not happen, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, for Antarctica. The only problem was, I am really tired. I think these long hours are catching up to me. I normally wake up when Dr. Petzel gets up. I never heard him leave this morning. I did not wake up until 7:30.
The first thing we did today was head out about three miles on the sea ice to the fishing hut where the "mawsoni" are caught. A heavy wire with 10 huge baited hooks (the bait was a fish about 10 inches or 20.5 cm long) was lowered about 450 meters or 1570 feet to the bottom of the bay. When it was brought back up by a motorized wench there were 5 of the biggest fish I have ever seen outside of an aquarium. Each fish was about 4 feet long and weighed a good 50 or 60 pounds or 22.7 to 27.2 kilograms. These fish are being used in 3 or 4 different studies. One of the reasons they are being studied is because there is a lot of illegal fishing of this parcticular fish going on and more information is needed about the fish to take to the proper authorities to prevent over-fishing of this fish. By treaty there is not supposed to be any fishing in Antarctic waters but some countries like Argentina and Chile do not abide by the treaty when it suits the economy of their countries.
I got to help take the fish off of the line as they were brought up out of the water. To remove the fish you have to stand on a small platform hanging over the hole in the ice, which was a little disquieting but it held firm. It still took two of us to lift the fish out of the water and into the container we transport them in. Once them loaded in their containers and then into the Sprite, they were transported back to the aquarium where we unloaded them into the tanks set up for them. They looked even bigger swimming in the aquarium tanks. That was the fun stuff for the day.
After lunch Dr. Petzel and I dragged a fuel sled with a Sprite out to the fishing sheds to refuel the heater tanks. This was not fun. The only way to pump fuel into the heater tanks is by a large crank. The fuel seems to take forever to flow into each tank. I thought my arms were going to drop off before the tanks were filled up. That took us right up to supper time.
I should tell you about this food. I am going to have to go on a diet before long. They feed you so much here that one cannot help but gain weight. It would not be so bad if the food did not taste good but that simply is not the case. The food along with marvelous desserts is excellent. The cafeteria people here go all out to give a wide selection and variety of food. They really take care of us here. No one would ever go hungry here.
After supper Dr. Petzel and I headed back out to the fishig huts to gather more fish from the traps. Once again there were not many fish so we tried the hook and line method again. I think the fish are learning here. I did not get one nibble and Dr. Petzel only caught 3 small fish. We gave it up after an hour and called it a day.
Now I am sitting here typing up my journal and watching a beautiful sunset over the Royal Society Mountains. There is a wispy cloud on top of Mt. Discovery which makes it look like a volcano. The sky is blue and the clouds are orange where the sun is reflecting off of them. I could not ask for a more beautiful sunset. It makes me yearn for my loved ones back home. This closes another day in Anarctica. Tomorrow we take a helicopter flight to Granite Harbor which is about 80 miles from here. We are going to gather some fish from there for our studies so bye for now.
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