Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

Curved ice line
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Saturday 14 October 2000
We are all tired because of the party last night - everyone had lots of fun. You should see the picture of Gordon on our special ship based web page. I’m sorry I can’t share it with you but he looks so funny (and frightful because it was meant to be a scary night).

But being tired is no excuse for slacking. There was work to do. Gordon retrieved the Continuous Plankton Recorder once more this morning and immediately redeployed it on its third transect. This all sounds easy enough. But what really happened?

We were travelling in pretty rough conditions and, while the officer on watch tried to reduce the ships rolling and pitching, water kept coming up the trawl deck ramp. Gordon went out to the trawl deck with two of the ships crew. Bringing the CPR in from the water was quite easy because all it needed was for the crew to operate the winch and bring it in and then lower it to a box on the deck where Gordon had to work on it. The CPR was still attached to the winch cable but Gordon had to remove the two side plates (four bolts in each), slide out the internal appliance "Berkley", slide in the new appliance "Dreena", put the two side plates on and bolt them in. The crew then use the winch to lift and put the CPR over the side.

Well, what with the rolling of the ship, water rushing in and around and Gordon on his hands and knees trying to undo bolts and fiddle around with this heavy equipment - enough to say he got pretty wet even though he stood up each time a wave came in; the water was up to his knees at times. The side plates got mixed up and he had to undo and swap over and redo them; the internal device is a very snug fit and needs to be put in very carefully. The National Geographic cameraman caught it on film - I wonder if it will appear at any time?

Still Gordon got it all done - a hero! In his report to the person back at headquarters who is charge of the CPRs Gordon said "Berkley back on board at 55deg 7.5S, 130deg 14.6E after a 410nm swim. Dreena deployed in same spot still running 258deg. Water coming over trawl made changeover interesting if a bit slower than expected; but conducted in safety. Jocks, socks, underalls and overalls are in the drying cupboard as I write."

In the afternoon Gordon gave a slide show and talk (is there anything this guy doesn’t do?) to interested expeditioners about the history of Australian aviation in Antarctica. It had some very interesting and fascinating information – see the special report "Australian Antarctic Aviation".

We had a few friends around this evening; the adults drank some red wine, ate cheese and biscuits and watched the last episode of ‘The Dream’ - the Roy and HG show that ran during the Olympics.

Clocks were adjusted back a further one hour tonight.

Sunday 15 October 2000
Today was a sort of a nothing day. The weather was still bad, rough seas and swell, low visibility, heavy snow showers at times. An expeditioner safety muster and talk on launching life rafts was held indoors in the morning.

Gordon did some housework (vacuuming and cleaning his bedroom and office, changing his sheets), then straightened up his paperwork - mainly cargo type stuff. So what is this cargo we are carrying? See the special report "Voyage cargo".

Physicist Malcolm gave a talk about ‘Noctilucent Clouds’ and ‘Photographing Auroras’ this afternoon.

Monday 16 October 2000
The email system fell over yesterday but all is now well again – see the special report "The email system crashes".

The onboard bird, whale and noctilucent cloud observation programs continued. The new mess and lounge arrangements installed since Gordon was last on the ship are working well. The lounge is used for quiet reading, playing games and the occasional video.

Before going in to lunch each day, Gordon plots the location of the ship on a map we have in the restaurant - just so the passengers can see where we are and how much further we have to go. I hope that the students at Husmann have been keeping their map up to date and trying to get some sense of what we are doing and where we are.

Biologist Melissa gave a talk this afternoon about her work on the impact of humans on wildlife - excellent background prior to our arrival in Antarctica.
Gordon recovered the Continuous Plankton Recorder from its third transect and packed it all away. It will next be redeployed between Mawson and Heard Island.
The Sediment Trap and CPR activities require special facilities and equipment and we are carrying quite a lot of ‘Use on Board’ equipment for those and other activities – see the special report "General cargo".

So I’d better close up for now. Gordon has a number of small jobs this evening so that will keep him out of trouble - perhaps OzGold and I can sneak around and see what mischief we can get up to.

Ooroo for now.



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