Saturday, February 13, 2010

Icebergs at night

First of all: Happy Chinese New Year! Our Chinese colleagues here on board are celebrating a year of the Tiger. It is also Valentine's Day, and some others were scrambling to have flowers sent remotely. It is fabulous to experience the cultural diversity here on the ship.

It was a difficult night with decisions. We were getting great core and were advancing down through the formation to our drilling target, but two icebergs came closer and closer. The ship had its bow turned towards them and the bow lights were shining on them in the darkness. After waiting and hoping that the icebergs would make a turn away from the ship, we had to trip out of the drillhole and the ship had to be moved to get out of their way. Another problem is that a large storm with up to 65 knot winds will arrive here tomorrow, so we temporarily need to move away to the shelf edge to wait out the weather. We will have to return to this coastal site later. It is simply to dangerous to stay here in a storm amidst the icebergs.

Another challenge is that now that we get closer to March the hours of darkness are lengthening. On 21 March the day and the night will be of equal length (12 hours) around this area, near the Antarctic Circle, whereas there were 24 hours of daylight here in late December. In late June there will be 24 hours of darkness.

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