Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

Curved ice line
Jagged line
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Thursday 19 October 2000
The morning started pretty well. Birgit and Dave from National Geographic concluded their interview with Gordon. OzGold and I sat on his desk amongst different things while he spoke about the ship, the job we were to do, his thoughts about achievement and satisfaction with the job and so on. Gordon also touched on the little things which make this job pleasurable - like taking the Mercury newspapers and Olympics Games Video Tapes to the Stations, fund raising for the children of Camp Quality, the little practical jokes on the voyage, for example the fake iceberg one. Gordon hinted there has been another scam running but he couldn’t say anything about it yet.

We have regular email communications with Davis now and are starting to see a few bits of ice - we guess we are headed the right way after all!! Gordon attended a Helicopter Operations planning meeting with ship and aircrew during which all flying protocols were reviewed.

After lunch Gordon took OzGold and me to watch a training session the Leopard Seal people were having – see the special report "Seal Training".

Almost straight after that word came through that we were finally going to see the ice we have travelled so far to see. So Gordon dressed up in some very warm clothing and windproofs, slipped OzGold and me into the front pocket of his jacket and we went up to the decks. There we met up with Birgit and Dave the cameraman and also Tracey and Sophie from the Leopard Seal team and went up on the Monkey island where it was very windy and very cold. Dave took film of Birgit, Tracey, Sophie and Gordon huddled together for warmth and pointing excitedly at the coming sea ice and as we crossed over it for the first time on this voyage. It was such a buzz and there was much congratulations and hugging.

We entered first band of ice at 1600. "It’s great to be back", said Gordon. "It’s great to be here", I replied.

Now we are truly entering the Antarctic zone, the ice will get progressively more concentrated and thicker and we will see more and more wildlife. We have already seen many snow petrels - we started seeing them some hours before we saw the ice and they were a sure sign we were getting close. I’ll try and remember to describe the snow petrel later on for you, but why don’t you check it out on the internet - I’m sure it is there.

Tonight there was an adult Quiz Night in the mess with Master of Ceremonies and Chief Cook Extraordinaire Paul keeping everyone in line - there were fines for cheating or talking out of turn!! OzGold and I managed to sneak in for a while - it was very funny. The Quiz had several rounds of questions with teams of 8-10 people - there were eight teams. All had to pay a small entry fee, and there were spot prizes, fines and penalties and all manner of really funny happenings. All proceeds go to Camp Quality. I don’t know how much was raised but it will be a huge amount, Gordon has yet to count the cash collections part, but fines have been noted in a book and all will have to pay up. Gordon donated two Olympic Pins for spot prizes and a bottle of red wine for the competition winner.
So it was quite late to bed. The ship is still moving through bands of brash ice as we went to bed after a bit of late night supper. I’ll tell you about the different types of ice later. Yes, I thought ice was ice but Gordon says no, there are many types and will explain them to us so we can pass it along to you.

I am still blushing with the memory of Tracey’s fingers prodding at me and gently turning me on my side and front during the Seals training earlier today. And OzGold is still laughing.

Friday 20 October 2000
The first iceberg of this voyage was sighted at 0133 this morning as a blip on the ships radar about two nautical miles away and thus ended the marathon iceberg sweep. The iceberg observation program commenced immediately. Gordon got us up at about 0530, there was a lot of ice about and lo and behold two smallish icebergs quite close to the ship. Gordon took some pictures of OzGold and me and the iceberg in the background. The clouds are quite heavy and the air is generally grey and sullen looking. It would have been nice to have had a bright sunny day but that will come - no doubt at all.

Gordon has some work to do before breakfast so we’ll prepare replies to questions we have received from Betty and her students – see the special report "Answers to questions".

Field Training continued today as does Seal training and other meetings. We attended a Cargo and Fuel Transfer planning meeting with the crew. It’s all go!!
Geochemist Marco a researcher from the Netherlands gave a talk on his proposed Lakes Research in the Vestfold Hills.

Bye bye for now, we are really getting excited.

Clocks changed one hour back again tonight.



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