Sunday, January 17, 2010

Life boat drill at the polar front

We had one of our weekly life boat drills today. What you do is you put your life vest, hard hat, and safety glasses on and proceed to your preassigned life boat after the "abandon ship" alarm goes off. You also take your survival suit with you. These suits have floatation cushions and will keep you warm for a while. There are four lifeboats with more seats than we have people on board. This time we were required to sit in the life boats (see photo) and learn how to start the engine. It was not very complicated and it worked quite well. The life boats have a beacon that sets of an emergency signal so response teams can find the boat. Let's hope we never need to use it!

We have crossed the polar front: yesterday the surface water temperatures dropped from 7 to 0 degrees C (32 F) in 24 hours (sea water freezes at below 0 temperatures, below 32 F). There were two iceberg sitings, but I missed them, one because I was sleeping. There was another one on the radar an hour ago, but the fog is too dense and we didn't see it. We are scheduled to arrive on the Wilkes Land coast tomorrow. The Captain needs to check out the area of the first drill site and see if it is safe. The satellite images show bergy water and some thick sea ice floating around. So: we will certainly see some ice tomorrow. Stay tuned for the pictures and explanations.

Our videographer has made a weekly video report, which you can watch here. It is composed around an interview with our staff scientist, Adam Klaus. Enjoy!

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