P18 Cruise report #9

sioword-multiCruise Report

We continue to operate on the aft winch with very few problems with the wire or the CTD. We continue to have excellent, if cold, weather. We have continued, until very recently, to occupy stations at half-degree spacings.nThis report would end there if it weren’t for some deception and sandbagging that warrant attention. Also, we reached the end of the 103°W P18 line, and conducted an XCS section.

It all started with that float. Out on the fantail, ready to deploy, it was noted that the float had been scratched in transit. Although slight, fouling of the exposed metal could affect the float’s buoyancy. In the heat of the moment, a stroke of genuis: Touch it up with the strongest sealant known, fingernail polish. K. McTaggart was dispatched, to return with the first of the week’s many alternative facts: There’s no fingernail polish on this ship. McTaggart produced some Seabird approved enamel that dried in about twelve minutes. Although the float was touched up and deployed without incident, we can’t go to Punta Arenas with our nails like this.

Float 9750, post makeover at Kristy’s Spa [Paige Float Lady Logan, 2017].

It’s been easy to adopt a laissez-faire attitude. Why plan when so much is to be determined by weather and ice anyway? This week brought three full days of Co-Chiefly admonishments: We have to start thinking ahead, she scolded. We need to think about how to end this section, she chided. YOU need to make some decisions. My reveries interrupted, I spent two days with Brian Elliot, agonizing over spreadsheets, charts, and strategies, dashing to and from the bridge. At our meeting with the Captain, Co-Chief wondered: Why be so worried about all that? We’re just gonna go in and get really far south, do some stations, and let the weather decide. On the bridge, this strategy is known as Purkey’s Plan. There can only be one cool Chief Scientist, I get that, but it would be nice to be cited from time to time.

After two days of spectacular scenery, sliding in amongst icebergs, we were warned: This is probably your last station. With so many groups requiring large volumes of water, and all wanting to characterize that southernmost station, a decision had to be made. Guessing that #206 (69°S, 103°W) would be our last, we planned two casts, one for the usual GO-SHIP medley, another at the same depths for the exotics (with S and O2 for CTD calibrations). This completed, we occupied two more stations: #207 at 69.5°S, and, following Purkey’s Plan, our ultimate 103°W station #208 at 69°36.5’S, only 6.5 miles away.

Playing Space Invaders on the bridge [Float Lady, 2017].

Beautiful Spot, but not the continent. Being drill day, it was time to test small boat operations. As always, a ranking member of the science team was required, for safety’s sake. As Co-Chief offered: You’re on watch. You need to sample cop, but I don’t mind staying up. The long-awaited XCS section was completed. It was a two-way occupation, this time.

GOSHIP XCS section P1 underway [Float Lady, 2017].

Our plan going forward: We are steaming to the East, occupying stations at 30 mi. spacings, hoping to proceed farther South along ~101°W. From there a SOCCOM float at ~68°S, 95°E interrupts our path to Punta Arenas. Factoring in a 2000m CTD to calibrate/validate this float, our break off point should be ~1 AM on the 29th of January.

Snowing regularly, yet the sun keeps summer hours: rising a little after 4, setting around 2.

Box score: P18 Leg 2, Week 4

    • 23 Full depth stations, 58°S to 69°36.5’S, along 103°W
    • 1 XCS section
    • 2 SOCCOM Floats deployed
    • Ice Cream still in good supply