Saturday, February 20, 2016

Next stop: The Kerguelen Plateau

After reaching our southern most station 2 days ago, we turned around and began our slow march north, along the I08S line. So far, we have completed 9 stations. In 4 weeks, we hope to complete 100. It's a tight schedule, but Alison is making sure we stay on track.

Since we started on the continental slope of Antarctica, the first several stations were shallow and closely spaced together. This meant the CTD watch standers had very little no downtime while on shift. At the end of my 12 hour watch, I was completely beat and I think everyone else felt the same way. On the plus side, those of us who were on night shift did get to witness a breathtaking sunrise. It was almost as if mother nature sensed our despair and felt the need to lift our spirits.

Sunrise after the first day of sampling. Even though we were on a pressing schedule, Alison made sure everyone on duty had a chance to soak in this view.
In other news,  I will deploy my first Argo float in less than 12 hours! That's right. The floats I described a few weeks ago are about to see the ocean for the first time. This will happen at station 11, when we are near the Kerguelen Plateau.

So what's so special about the Kerguelen Plateau (pronounced Ker-gway-len)? The plateau is a submerged microcontinent, about three times the size of Japan, located about 3000km southwest of Australia. To get sense of its importance, imagine a large boulder obstructing a fast moving river. The boulder will deviate the flow around it and generate turbulence in its wake. This happens even if the boulder is completely underwater. So not only does the boulder disrupt the river's flow in its immediate vicinity, it also creates disturbances that ripple far down stream. The Kerguelen Plateau has essentially the same effect on ocean circulation but on a much large scale.

The payload. Tator Tot, Earle's Hurl, Pi, Eep, Z-Pod, X-Pod and Kaia are stored in the 5 crates to the right.
In related news, I also learned that there are special names for the floats that I will deploy on this cruise. They are Tator Tot, Pi, Eep, Z-Pod, X-Pod and Kaia. These names were chosen by the fifth graders in Jamie Monkonnen's science class at Lakeside School. Tator Tot will be the first to venture out into the deep and mysterious water of the Southern Ocean. Two days later, Pi will join Tator Tot and combined they will help us understand how the ocean behaves in the wake of the Kerguelen Plateau!

Ok, I need to get some sleep before the deployment. Till next time!

-Earle


Edit: There were originally 7 floats but one (Earle's Hurl) had mechanical issues and was sent back to Seattle :(.


9 comments:

  1. I am so excited that Tator Tot is one of the floats! One of my nicknames at school is Tator Tot!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, the sunset is so beautiful!
    -Vincent from Jamie's class

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good Luck on your expedition! I want to be you! SCIENCE! Science rules! Did you enjoy your experience on the boat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has been amazing! We still have 10 more days left and I'm still enjoying it.

      Delete
  4. I am in Jamie's class! How did the Earle's Hurl float die?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Earle's Hurl is still alive! It's just a little... sick. It wasn't working properly when we tested it in Australia, so we just sent it back Seattle. Our engineers will get it sorted out then send it back for deployment.

      Delete
  5. I also love the Sunrise wish I could see that in person! Whats your favorite thing you did on the boat? If i was there it would maybe be the Sunrise and the Southern lights. Sorry for the rush of comments were so excited to follow your journey. Hope your having fun! Can't wait tell you return!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sara! I don't mind the comments at all. Keep them coming! So my favorite thing to do on the ship? Hmm... that's a tough one because I have so many. One of them is definitely going up to the bridge.

      The bridge is where the captain and his officers steer the ship. It's the highest point on the vessel , so the views up there are amazing! It's where everyone goes to take pictures of birds, whales, sunrises and sunsets. It's also where I took the photos of the Southern Lights. I will post some photos of the bridge at some point.

      Delete