Friday, 25 January 2013

Friday 25th January 2013

It’s midnight and -2 degrees, blowing 30 knots, snowing and I’m hanging out of my porthole taking some awesome footage with the contour movie camera while sailing through pack ice only a few meters above the ice. Now and then we pass penguins and seals quite close while the sea ice is getting smashed to bits. I should be able to make a wicked film with this footage. How can you sleep when it’s fully day light and all this action is happening!!

It’s now 06:30 and it’s too windy and rough to drop anchor at Davis, so we are sitting 5 – 10 miles off the coast waiting for conditions to moderate.
But guess what?
At about 10:30 the weather moderated enough to carefully pick our way through ice berg ally into the shallow water harbour at Davis station. The Island near by has three crosses on it just to let you know this is any thing from routine.

11:30 local time anchors away. Time for a quick bite then I have to kit up as I’m coxswain of the shuttle IRB. (Inflatable rubber boat) It’s blowing 20 knots at -0.5 degree Celsius so I need to rug up pretty well.
I should just explain a little bit about ice. Sea ice is frozen ocean, its fresh water as the salt drops out as it freezes at -2.8 degree Celsius. Sea ice is attached to the land or Islands. When the sea ice breaks off in large sheets it’s called a flow. Leads are passages of open water in the sea ice. Tide cracks form near the shore or around Islands. Broken up sea ice is called pack ice. Ice bergs are large chunks of VERY dense ice that breaks off a glacier or ice cliffs and floats away, often getting grounded. Growlers are small ice bergs that float at sea level. They have the potential to pierce the hull and must be avoided. Berg’y bits are small pieces of broken up ice bergs. Sea ice & pack ice can be up to three meters thick but is no where as thick (Dense) as ice bergs, thus we can smash our way through it. Bergs and growlers have the potential to sink the ship while pack ice has the potential to crush the ship and sinking it.
I spent four hours in the IRB today and was the first person on the ship to set foot on the Antarctic continent. I made several trips ashore and even went fishing, dropping off fish traps for fish research for some scientist. It was minus five but conditions gradually got better all day and at the moment the wind is only blowing three knots and we have offloaded quite a bit of cargo already. After my shift, the so called expert coxswain fell in while tying a mooring line and now has to file an incident report. We had to weave our way through ice berg ally to get into the harbour where we dropped anchor. Davis is the most barren desolate place looking more like a mining camp than an Antarctic station. I’m so glad I’m going to Mawson although they say Davis has spectacular walks through the hills and fiord's and a spectacular glacier but you have to walk everywhere so you don’t run over and kill some moss. I had a nice mushroom & chicken risotto for dinner and played darts with a few of the guy’s afterwards. I’m looking forward to an early night tonight as I have eight hours on the water tomorrow. Oh, and the best thing to happen today, while playing darts in the bar, I found a full can of beer in amongst the fake plants while looking for a dart tail, so guess what I’m doing now J
@ 13:00 UTC (8pm local)
Speed 0 knots
Heading NW
Roll 0 degree
Pitch 0 degree
Depth 80 meters
Water temp -1.65 degree (Salt water freezes at -1.8 degree)
Air temp -0.75 degree
Wind NW @ 5 knots
Lon 77.93E & Lat 68.57S
 Air temp -0.75 degree, bergs all around...........priceless !!

These type of birds have been all around us most of the voyage

Nice stripped berg

Ice berg alley on the way into Davis station

Ice berg alley on the way into Davis station

My first sighting of Antarctica

Three graves on Anchorage Island at the entrance to Davis station harbour

Davis station

1 comment:

  1. WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Awesome photos !! you look feral but ha ha haaaaaa
    arent you cold ???
    very nice iceberg .
    on the way to davies full with ice but hardly any ice in davies??