R/V Polar Duke Farewell Tribute
in the Laboratory for Microbial Oceanography

RACER II Field Notes
Dale Hebel
University of Hawaii Manoa

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Antarctica
three times all as a member of Dave Karl's laboratory and all aboard
the R/V Polar Duke.  These cruises covered the time period from
1989-1996 and were specifically RACER II (Research on Antarctica Coastal 
Ecosystem Rates), SANTA CLAµS (Studies in ANTarcticA Coupled Linkages
Among micro (µ) organsismS), and more recently  Palmer LTER 96 (Long
Term Ecological Research).  My original deployment was during the
series of RACER cruises and was a respite from another project I was
involved in, the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT), which still
continues.  During these cruises the Polar Duke provided an outstanding
research platform and the helpfulness and professional attitude of the
crew has always made it a pleasure to work aboard her especially in an
area of the world which can be, at times, a very inhospitable

Perhaps my most memorable cruise was RACER II since it was my first
Antarctica cruise and also because of a number of unusual events. These
include the two stories already recounted by Dave and Ricardo about the
iceberg incident and missed wedding.  In addition there was a medical
emergency, surrealistic scenery and a fantastic phytoplankton bloom to

The RACER II study area was conducted off the western coast of the
Antarctica peninsula in an area which may comprise some of the most
beautiful scenery in the world.  Following is a near day-to-day account
of the action (or non-action) from my perspective, encompassing the
time we left Honolulu, Hawaii to our eventual return to Punta Arenas,
Chile.  Since these are my original notes some of my initial
perceptions may not be accurate in retrospect but I thought it would be
better to leave it in its original form.  In addition to the text are a
number of photos which will hopefully portray some of the events and
sights of RACER II and the Antarctica peninsula.

I hope you enjoy your cruise  I certainly did!!

Research on Antarctica Coastal Ecosystem Rates (RACER)

Date: 10/18/89 Location: Honolulu, Hi Comments: Departed Honolulu approx. 2200 hrs. aboard Pan Am. flight 82 with Hawaii contingent of RACER group (i.e., Dave Karl, Georgia Tien, Ricardo Letelier, Lara Asato, Dave Bird, Andy Brittain and Dale Hebel).
Date: 10/19/89 Location: Los Angeles, Calif. Comments: Arrived LAX at ~0600 (flight time ~4.5-5 hrs.). Hung around the airport until our departure at ~0830 on Pan Am flight 42 to Miami, Florida.
Date: 10/19/89 Location: Miami, Florida Comments: Arrived Miami at approx. 1630 hrs (flight time ~5 hrs.). Since we had a scheduled layover of approx. 7.5 hrs. we decided to rent a car and drive down to the Miami beach area. After an ~20 mi drive we arrived at the famous Miami Beach penninsula lined with one high rise after another. Most of the hotels appeared old and heading towards disrepair. After having sat for most of the nite and day we were all anxious to get out and stretch our legs. This was easier said-than-done since the line of high rise condominiums and hotels produced an almost impenetrable barrier. Fortunately, Dave knew of a break in the highrise wall were we could take a short walk on a pier (fee one dollar), which jutted out from the Miami beach shoreline. We spent some time talking to the fishermen, watching the sunset and a piledriver pound pilings. The latter being the most thrilling. From here we proceeded up to Fort Lauderdale. At Fort Lauderdale we ate dinner at a sweltering pizza resturant and an after dinner drink at some local niteclub. It was very obvious that Fort Lauderdale was a party town frequented by the younger generation. It was also hot and humid--seemingly moreso than Hawaii at a comparable hour (~2200), and time of year. We departed Miami on Pan Am. flight 453 one hour behind the scheduled takeoff time. The delay was due to an altercation between a passenger and stewardess which ended in the passenger being asked to leave by the Captain. Note--Dave Bird tried to coerce everyone into attending the dog races, however, with no success. To vent his frustrations he coaxed Ricardo to climb upon the pier we had walked out on only to be threatened by the local authorities.
Date: 10/20/89 Location: Buenas aires, Chile Comments: Arrived Buenas Aires, Chile approx. 0930 from Miami (flight time ~8.5 hrs.). Departed on Pan Am. flight 453 for Santiago after short internment in the transit room while the plane was cleaned and refueled. Departed Buenas Aires for Santiago, Chile on Pan Am. flight 453 at ~1130-1230 hrs. Approx. 1 hr delay due to malfunction of engine oil pressure sending unit. Flight originally scheduled to leave at 1030 hrs.
Date: 10/20/89 Location: Santiago, Chile Comments: Arrived Santiago, Chile ~1400 hrs.(flight time ~2 hrs.). Met at the airport by Ina, Ricardo's mother and Jimmy from AGUNDA (?) an agency which helps scientific parties clear customs. After checking onto Ladeco airlines for our flight to Punta Arenas we were treated to cocktails by Jimmy. Our party included all of the above plus Mark Huntley (PI and Chief Scientist of RACER II), two Argentinians (Santiago and Maria), additional personnel from Huntley's group and some ANS (Anarctica Services, Div. of ITT), personnel destine for Palmer Station. Departed Santiago for Punta Arenas on Ladeco flight 71 at 1800 hrs.
Date: 10/20/89 Location: Punta Arenas, Chile Comments: Arrived Punta Arenas, Chile at ~1100 hrs. after experiencing some minor aircraft problems at Puerto Montt. Without a doubt this was the most enjoyable part of the trip thus far. The flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas parallels the Andes for much of its length. The scenery was superb and in the northern section composed of white capped mountain peaks descending into evergreen forests which stretched to the valley below. Large river valleys periodically cut through the Ande plateau carving out impressive canyons and deposting large amounts of eroded sediments onto massive riverine flood plains. Apparently, the winter snow melt had not begun in earnest since the rivers were well within their banks and meandered through and along the flood plain path. Although the mountains appeared to be primarily granitic an occassional volcanic peak could be discerned. And of these some would be smokers. The frequency of volcanic peaks and acitivity increased as we proceeded south. Approximately, 1/2 the distance to Punta Arenas massive lakes paralled the Andes and it was unclear if these were fresh water or brackish and therefore a fjord. One of the more picturesque was Puerto Montt, appearing as an island, set within such a lake watched over by a majestic smoking volcano. It was here that we developed some kind of plumbing/mechanical problem. However, it was easily corrected by the wrench wielding captain. Although the outside scenery was magnificent it was rivaled by the youthful and radiant beauty of the Air Ladeco stewardesses. Not only were they a pleasure to view but likewise provided excellent service. During this 3 hr. flight we enjoyed 2 superb meals complete with before, during and after dinner drinks. The final meal was followed by a round of cognac. At the airport, in Punta Arenas, we were met by Bruce _______ of COMAPA, the company which imports almost all items into Punta Arenas. After our bagage was collected we were all transported to town via bus. We stayed at the Las Navagantes hotel which cost about 25-30 american dollars per night per person double occupancy. After we checked in we decided to get a drink somewhere but since it was rather late the only place open was the Club Las Vegas one of the more established "houses" in Punta Arenas. The girls made quite a fuss over D. Bird.
Date: 10/21-23/89 Location: Punta Arenas, chile Comments: Saturday was a late starter. At about noon we headed down to the COMAPA warehouse to be outfitted with the proper clothing. After which, we held a brief scientific meeting aboard the Polar Duke and an introductory tour of the ship. After the tour we split into our respective groups and began the task of upacking and setting up equipment. During this period, Bruce _____, with _______ group passed out apparently due to a combination of dehydration brought about by Tourista disease. This ailment was also to afflict D. Bird and possibly L. Asato, although it is unclear that Lara's malady was caused by enterobacter or cabernet savignon. The latter which may have been caught at the Union Club where the whole group (~16), joined for dinner the night before. Bruce had also planned a party that same night, which we were all invited to, but due to our large party and extrodinarilly slow service we were unable to make it in time. Sunday, was a repeat of Saturday which included a late breakfast, working on equipment setup and a late night tour of some of the night spots. We had move on board the Polar Duke earlier that afternoon so in the early morning hours we headed back to the ship. The Polar Duke was scheduled to depart on Monday (10/23), however, certain pieces of essential equipment (refrig. van), had not arrived and therefore the departure was rescheduled for Tuesday (10/24). We spent the late morning and early afternoon setting up equipment and the middle of the afternoon I headed to town to write and mail some letters. Later that evening we all (UH group) headed to town for one last hurrah before sailing.
Date: 10/24/89 Location: Punta Arenas aboard Polar Duke Comments: Spent most of the day working on the ATP photometer cables. When the photometer was unpacked it was discovered that 2 of the connecting cables were missing. Unfortunately, we did not have a copy of the wiring diagram so Dave telephoned Rocky Booth at Biosherical for the information which he said he would FAX to us ASAP. That was 10/24/89. Fortunately, we received the information this morning so Andy, Dave and I set about constructing the cables. After many unsuccessful tries we finally hit upon the right combination. At about 1600-1700 hrs. the Polar Duke departed Punta Arenas. We were finally off.
Date: 10/25/89 Location: Somewhere in the Beagle Channel Comments: Most of the day was spent constructing the spar buoy and associated array, attending ship introductory and safety meeting, attending UH RACER protocols review meeting/tour, lifeboat/fire drill and working on this narrative. A much smaller part of the day was spent topside viewing and taking pictures of the Beagle Straits and associated glaciers and other picturesque sights. Have taken 3 rolls to date. Two coast pilots departed with us in Punta Arenas to guide us through the Beagle Straits. They left the ship about 1830 hrs. It is now about 2030 hrs. and we should be leaving the Straits and heading into and across the infamous Drake Passage.
Date: 10/26/89 Location: Crossing Drakes Passage 57 23.9 S 66 4.1 W 1612 hrs GMT Comments: Today is a very lazy day. Most of the scientific party is feeling the effects of the passage. I have not seen Ricardo this morning but I know he started his cyanobacteria sampling last nite. I turned in about 2230 and he said he had one sample collection in one hour and another in 3 hrs. That would have made it about 0230. The passage thus far is not bad. I visited with the first mate on the bridge this morning and discussed the sea state today vs. their last passage on the 17 Oct. Today the swell is about 8-12 feet with winds out of the southwest at about 20-40 kts. On the 17th the swells were 50-60 feet with 50->70 kt winds. Of the 18 passages he has made that was the worst.
Date: 10/27/89 Location: Crossing Drakes Passage 60 21.9 S 63 58.1 W 1814 hrs GMT Comments: Continuing across Drake Passage. We are approx. 1/2 way across and at this rate it will take us another ~47 hrs to Palmer. However, it appears that the seas are subsiding and our speed has increased from 6 kts to 8-9 kts with our present SOG (speed over ground) at about 10 kts. At this rate we should reach Low Is. in about 19-20 hrs and I understand that it is another 12 hrs to Palmer. That works out to about 31 hrs which would get us to Palmer by ~2300 hrs tomorrow. We understand they are having a party, Saturday night, so it should be in full swing by the time we arrive. The crossing certainly has taken its toll on the scientific personnel. About 50% has been bedridden for the past 2 days and of those up-and-about only 25% of them in working condition. The seas are definitely settling down. We have just stopped to unspool the hydrowire so it can be respooled under tension. If the weather holds we should make good time. Just found out that it is 22 hrs from Low Is. to Palmer. That will put us there by 0900 hrs on Sunday (10/29). I also found out that they are rescheduling the party until Sunday nite. Problems with the winch and level winder prevented timely respooling. Took about 3 hrs to respool: ~1800 m by hand level winding and ~1000 m using mechanical level wind. Mechanical level winder is not working properly so final 1000 m will need to be redone. Also problems with winch -- very slow and stops periodically. Apparently had samilar problems on RACER I.
Date: 10/28/89 Location: Brandsfield Strait 64 31.9 S 62 30.7 W 0302 GMT Comments: Completed traversing the Drake in the morning hours. Woke up very late so I didn't see Smith Is. which I understand was very beautiful. Surveyed Moreno Rock and No Name rock with Cole and Tony to locate a radio station. Very nice day with many icebergs although the weather was mostly overcast. Saw a Humpback whale, penguins, 3 sps. of birds on or around Moreno Rock. No good landing site for offloading meterological equipment. No Name rock was much lower ( 50' vs 170'), and had a good landing site for equiment offloading. It was also frequented by many southern Black-Backed gulls. They were a bit upset at our landing on their rock. Took some good pictures from the zodiac of both islands and the Polar Duke. Unfortunately, the film must have fallen out of my pocket either on No Name rock or in the water. I'll take a look for it on Tuesday when we return to set up the meterological station.
Date: 10/29/89 Location: Palmer Station Comments: Arrived Palmer Station sometime in the early morning hours (~0600). Crew offloaded supplies while the scientific crew put the final touches on equipment assembly. Our group had numerous duties which Dave outlined and assigned to either individuals and/or group to complete before leaving Palmer the following morning. Ozzie-Holm Hansen also boarded at Palmer. Apparently, he had been there for ~ 1 mo. About the middle of the day our group took an excursion out to two small islands just off Palmer Station to view the wildlife. The zodiac ride from the ship to the first island would have been only about 5-10 min., however, the wind had packed the brash ice into the mooring area and to push our way through 25 m of this took 10-15 minutes. It was snowing lightly and Monty, our boat operator, warned us that we may be called back to station at any time due to deteriorating weather. Our first stop was Elephant Island and true to its name was a group of Elephant seals on the rocky shoreline. It appeared to be a single harem with one large bull and 5-6 females. Most of the females had young pups, and some appeared to be recent arrivals (they still had the remains of the umbilical cord), they were ~ 1 m in length weighing maybe 15-25 kg. The next island we visited was Torgeson Isand and it was home to a large number of Adelie penguins. There were two very large groups and a number of smaller groups scattered around this small island. I later learned that they nest on cobbles and since the island was still covered with snow they were apparently bidding time until it melted. With the weather as cold as it is they may have a long wait. That nite the people at Palmer Station threw a Halloween party. It was a pleasant affair where we got the opportunity to meet and speak with some of the station residents amist strobe lights and rock'n roll music. Dave Bird, again, was quite a hit dancing into the wee morning hours.
Date: 10/30/89 Location: Station A Comments: Departed Palmer around 0600 and arrived on station at 1400 hrs. Our group had the honor of the opening act with the sediment trap deployment. I was originally scheduled to go with Tony Amos and others to erect the weather station on No Name island. However, the wind kicked up and the effort was postponed. The trap deployment went reasonably well, however, Dave decided not to deploy the uppermost trap since the trap linge angle was was approaching 45 degrees by the time we got to the 75 m depth. Although the ship tried to adjust its position it was obvious that we were not making much headway. Also during the deployment the spar buoy mast hit the deck and broke part of the strobe guard. I do not know if the strobe was damaged although Dave says that Georgia saw it flash after deployment. The entire deployment (6 depths, scheduled 7 depths), took about 1.5 hours. Traps deployed: 64 11.25 S 61 20.3 W @ 1548 At 2000 hrs we all got together and went through a typical fast grid surface bucket sample collection and associated sample processing. At 2200 we went up to the bridge to try and locate the traps. Although we got a good RDF signal we were unable to locate the flashing strobe. At the rate the traps were moving they would probably go aground sometime during the nite if they were not already. The captain did not want to venture farther due to numerous rocks and shoaling conditions.
Date: 10/31/89 Location: Station A Comments: Awoke to find 50 kt winds and white-capped seas. Obviously the meterological project was again postponed. Earlier 0700 the captain took another look for the traps and although it was light he was still unable to get a visual sighting. However, the RDF signal remains strong and directionally consistent. It's 1730 hrs and the winds have not abated. Not much work had been accomplished since about 0100 hrs. We were going to get water for our analyses from the 1300 hr CTD cast but it was cancelled at the last minute. We are ready but Mother Nature is not cooperating. Mark Huntley and his group tried a fast tow earlier and all they got back was the twisted frame of the net. They made a second effort, at a slower speed, but I do not know the results at this time. The captain thinks that we may get some better weather by tomorrow. Already it is not looking good for the traps. They are probably aground somewhere and if we lose the RDF signal we most likely will not be able to find them. More on this latter. Finally, got a CTD cast at 2100 hrs and worked until 0300 processing the 10 depths. Ricardo processed all the samples and would not let anyone else participate. I busied myself with the oxygen analysis. Was notified at 0300 hrs that Tony wants to try to install the meterological station this morining. He wants to leave at 0500 hrs. Good nite.
Date: 11/1/89 Location: Station A Comments: Before retiring I asked Tony to get me up when they were getting ready to go. Awoke at 0600 hrs and quickly dressed. Tony was about and said we weren't going to go for another hour which turned into 2 hours. Shortly after breakfast we departed (Cole, Tony & Hebel). The wind had settled down nicely but the swell was still robust. As we approached No Name island we found the southwest wind had pushed a large number of icebergs around the island and in front of our landing point. Circled the island and tried to find an landing point. The combination of icebergs and surge apparently made the landing unappealing to Cole so we headed back to the ship. Another unsuccessful attempt. Steamed over to the last known trap fix. We never got a visual sighting of either the trap array or strobe after the deployment. However, we did get some good RDF signal fixes. The previous nite I thought I had picked up the RDF signal but it turned out to be some signal emanating from the ship or other source. We launched the Zodiac and made a through search of the nearshore area and behind icebergs. Saw many spectacular sites but no traps. Dave decided to steam up the coast for 10-20 miles, however, to no avail. The wind picked up and was now blowing 20- 30 kts from the northeast. Headed back to station A. We did a 2 bottle goflo cast on kevlar line about 2100 hrs. The teflon messengers did not fit the kevlar so the cast was delayed while we reamed out the groove. The bottles were sent down in their usual closed position, however, I did not see any bubbles which indicate that they opened although Georgia did. Just to be sure we brought the lead bottle up and sure enough it had opened. We could not see the lower bottle 1-2 m below the lead bottle. Oxygen analysis suggested that the second bottle had not opened properly and probably opened and closed in a single cycle initiated by the messenger. We also noticed that the bottle was not completely full during the sampling stage.
Date: 11/2/89 Location: Beginning of Fast Grid (Gerlache Strait) Comments: Departed Sta. A at 1330 and steamed to first fast grid station. Arrived FA1 at 1500 hrs and immediately initiated bucket sampling routine. The sampling procedure involves the dispatch of a ~5 l clean bucket over the starboard gunnel on th;e stern. The bucket is afixed to the ship by the terminal end of a 3/8 " poly-type line and the bucket thrown into undisturbed water. It is necessary to lean over the railing to prevent the bucket from coming in contact with the side of the ship, whereupon, black paint specks are dislodged. The sample bottles, fractionaing bottles (<20 and <202 um Nitex mesh) and funnel are rinsed once, and depending on whom is controlling the bucket, the contents are either discarded and a fresh sample procured or the remaining contents of the original sample are used for the sample (the latter is generally the rule). The sample is first poured through the <202 um mesh and collected in a 3-4 l polycarbonate bottle. Approximately 1.5-2 l of this solution is passed through the <20 um mesh and both fractions are processed for p-ATP and various other particulate constituents. A bacteria sample is taken from the bucket (not fractionated), and total LPS from the <202 um fraction. Dissolved DNA/RNA are processed from the pooled filtrate from the ATP and particulate samples at selected stations. We are also taking DO and DIC from the 5 m depth from the rosette sampler. This work is conducted in the Hold labs, while the radioisotope work (leucine, glutamate, adenine) are done in the radioisotope lab located on the helio deck. With 3 people working it takes about 45 minutes, although 2 people are adequate for the scope of work (does not include bacteria counting by D. Bird). Although we arrived on station on time we were about 1 1/2 hrs late for FA2. Primarily, due to the net deployments. We had completed only 3 staions by 2400 hrs. being about 1 station behind at this point. Enjoyed a sauna at the end of our shift (2400 hrs.).
Date: 11/3/89 Location: FA7-FA12 Comments: As I laid in my bunk Dave appraised me of some very scenic mountains and glaciers outside. I got dressed, walked outside and beheld a beautiful sight. We had entered an embayment surrounded by snow and glacier covered mountains streaming to the sea. The skies were relatively clear and the light lite the snowfields, icebergs and reflected magnificent mountains in the calm waters of the bay. The day before Georgia and I thought it might be nice to get a group picture of the UH RACER contingent in bathing suits at some picturesque point. This place was made to order so a photo session was rapidly organized. We must have been quite a sight as we had quite an audience viewing and filming the going-ons. Tony Amos also got us on video. Should be interesting to see that one.
Date: 11/4/89 Location: FA13-26 Comments: We were in relatively calm waters when the other shift took over. However, it was a different story when I awoke the next morning. We had entered the western edge of the Bansfield Strait and the seas picked up considerably. The other shift had just completed station 17 when we took over and it was decided that it was too rough to do CTD or net tows, therefore we are steaming as fast as the seas will permit to more sheltered waters. A few of the scientific party has again fallen ill. Found workable sea conditions at station 20 which was located on the northeast tip of Trinity Is. Completed six more stations to #26 before our shift ended.
Date: 11/5/89 Location: FA27-33 Comments: Found and retrieved sediment traps!!!! At or around 0200 hrs I went on deck to enjoy the magnificent scenery. A large iceberg was plainly visible in the diffuse morning sky off the starboard beam. A cresent moon was perched above and to the left of the berg illuminating the sky and casting a beautiful reflection on the water. In the mist of this revelry I caught a glimst of what appeared to be a strobe light. On the second flash I was sure--- it was the traps. As I turned toward the bridge door out walked Dave Karl with direction finder in hand. Apparently, Ed, the bridge watch, had spotted the flash and notified Dave. The setting was absolutely beautifull. Moon, iceberg, sediment traps and glass smooth water. By this time the news had spread through the ship and we hastly form a recovery team. We spent the next hour retrieving the buoy array and traps. The traps had taken a severe beating. It appeared that most of the traps below 100 m had drug along the bottom since many of them were horizontal instead of vertical. Of those left many had missing baffles. Also attached to the line or array was 2 crinoid starfish and one sea urchin. The location of the retrieved traps was: 63 56 S 61 01.5 W @ 0218 hr. Turned in around 0430-0500 hrs. Our shift relieved the night shift at 1200 hrs and finished the fast grid with station #33 which was old station 31 (two additional stations were added for the next fast grid and this numbering system was retained to prevent confusion). Took a nap sometime that afternon and upon waking found that Tony wanted to take some of the meterological equipment to No Name is. Left the ship about 1900 hrs and returned about 2200 hrs. Andy and I managed to transport the tower, 2 battery packs, generator, and other misc. tools up the hill to the erection site. Interestingly, the following day we had a surplus of help and very few items to carry up the hill.
Date: 11/6/89 Location: Station A Comments: Tony, Andy, Bruce, Cole and I left the ship at 0630 and headed to No Name island. We were fortunate the weater was with us and by 1130 hrs the weather station was erected and we were back on board. Mission finally accomplished. Took another short nap before the sediment trap deployment which was scheduled for 2000-2200 hrs. Apparently, the 2 humpback whales we had seen earlier put on a show. The sea has been like glass. Sediment trap deployment went smoothly. Traps deployed at 1936 (local) @ 64 11.31 S ; 61 18.40 W. Trap depths 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 140 m with 8 traps/z except for 140m which had 6 traps (46 tot.). Checked trap position about 2300 hrs. They had not moved much at all. Very little to no wind and very calm sea conditions.
Date: 11/7/89 Location: A2 Comments: Weather conditions still clear and calm, although the barometer is falling. Collected second station A CTD profile, however, CTD triggering problems made it necessary to collect the profile in 2 casts. Cast A208 we collected 200 & 150 m depths and cast A 210 100, 75, 50, 30, 20, 10, 5 & 1 m depths. Finished processing samples by about 2000 hrs. OHH deployed C14 in situ array? Captain advises that we may be in for another blow. Barometer still falling. We will pick up traps tomorrow am.
Date: 11/8/89 Location: A2 Comments: Retrieved traps at 0620 hrs (64 11.74 S, 61 16.33 W). Weather cloudy & glass calm seas. Barometer is rising. Worked on reducing and graphing DO data. Significant increase in mixed lay DO over A1. Other biological indicators suggest that bloom is beginning or may be well underway. Correlated FA1 (5m) Chla with O2. Linearity at high values, much scatter at low values. Processed trap samples for SiPNC (200 ml for PNC thru combusted GFF and 100 ml thru 0.22 um Nuclepore) from 1830 -2400 hrs.
Date: 11/9/89 Location: A2 Comments: Collected DO profile from cast A219 at ~1300 hrs. This was a spur of the moment decision and the rosette had already been sampled before the O2 samples were taken. Resampled CTD for DO profile cast A220 at 1800 hrs. Began fast grid (FB) at 1930 hrs.
Date: 11/10/89 Location: Enroute FB09 @ 2210 hrs. Comments: Fast grid is going well. I have expanded DO sampling to include a profile at FB37 and some special samples for Stan and Tony. I have determined that I have enough reagents to do ~700 samples from this point on. At most the scheduled samples,even with additional stations, will be only 220. Therefore, I could do 3 profiles (10 depths) during the fast grids and 4 additional station A profiles and still have enought reagents for the scheduled samples. The total number of samples would be 670. Lara has been doing a great job with the ATP, particulate filtering, LPS and DNA/RNA sample processing. In fact, she can do the whole routine by herself faster than with help. It appears that the filtration apparatus is faster when the second manifold is not in use. Georgia is taking care of the radioisotope labeling in the isotope van. A number of experiments are in progress utilizing labeled substrates and incubations. It seems a misnomer to call these incubations since the temperature is around 0 degrees C. Just before our shift ended we did station FB09. At the previous station FB03 Georgia noticied some particulate material in the bucket. She thought it was polycheate larvae or something similar since it was longer than wide and wormlike in appearance. At station 09 the bucket contained a large number (D. Bird counted about 27/liter) of fecael pellets. These looked very similar to the ones we caught in the traps which were supposed to be from krill. After we fractionaed the sample I retrieved another bucket sample and it too had many pellets. This was the bucket sample that D. Bird counted. It's curious that these pellets, which D. Karl estimated to have a density of 2.1, could be maintained in suspension. But obviously this was the case since the second bucket sample was collected at least 5 minutes after the first and the pellets in the bucket settled to the bottom in less than 1 minute (a more accurate settling rate would be more like 30 seconds or less). At this sinking rate (20 cm/60 s), the pellets which were caught in the first bucket sample should have sunk below the sampling depth of the bucket. Yet pellets were caught. It is possible that the ship screws may have upwelled deeper pellets but there was no surface indication of this. Also, the wind and sea surface were very calm.
Date: 11/11/89 (Saturday) Location: FB36-FB19 Comments: Nothing new or exciting. Ran another oxygen profile at FB17. Completely different than FB37. Seas have been relatively calm which has allowed us to complete the "stations of death" as Andy calls them (FB17-20). We seem to be maintaining the proposed schedule due to the exclusion of the MOCNESS tows because of an electrical problem. Chlorophyll values have increased sharply in the bays along the southeast coast of the Gerlache. The same pattern is evident in the dissolved oxygen. The bloom seems to be progressing westward from the coastal margins, although the lee of Brambant island shows a decrease in productivity due to unknown factors at this time. Called Susan about 2100 hrs (1800 her time), but no one home. Operator left message that I called on answering machine.
Date: 11/12/89 Location: FB28-33 Comments: Station FB27 was just completed prior to our shift. This would have been a good one for a water mass DO profile. I will try and get it on the next fast grid. I did get FB 28 which is just a little southwest of FB27 and further down the channel. DO indicated relatively low productivity occurring in the upper water column only.
Date: 11/13/89 Location: Station A (FB33) Comments: Arrived at FB33 (Station A) at 2350 hrs. Dave decided to launch the traps after the usual station work was completed. The trap deployment went well. Seas were calm with a light snow falling. In places the sea was coated with a white blanket of newly formed sea ice covered with snow. Took a few pictures of the trap deployment (in the snow) and sea ice. Traps deployed at 0122 (started at 0045), position: 64 11.711 S 61 18.636 W Tracking: Position Time Date 64 11.846 S 61 13.318 W 0307 13 Nov.'89 64 12.1 S 61 18.0 W 0515 13 Nov.'89 64 13.150S 61 15.086W 2120 13 Nov.'89 64 13.86 S 61 14.58 W 0052 14 Nov.;89 During the first 20 hrs the traps moved 2.4 hrs with a heading of 125 true.From the last 2 positions the traps moved ~3/4 mi in 3hr 20 min. bearing 165 degrees true. The traps are fairly close to an iceberg (last two positions), but they appear to be in no immediate danger.
Date: 11/14/89 (Tuesday) Location: Station A Comments: While I was on the bridge during the last trap fix, the bridge received an emergency call from Tony in his cabin. Apparently, he had rupture an artery and was bleeding profusly. I immediately headed down to his cabin. I ran into Georgia on the way and asked her if she could get a first aid kit from the kitchen. When I got to Tony's cabin both Dave Karl and Stan Jacobson were there attending to him. He had his left foot elevated with a blood- soaked towel wrapped around it. The bleeding had slowed to an oozing although Tony's description of the initial bleeding was more like an artery than vein. The wound itself was very small. I applied some guaze and wrapped it with a guaze bandage. The leg was elevated and the blood, which was pooled on the floor, cleaned up. It was decided, after contacting the doctor at Palmer Station, that we would steam to Palmer so the doctor could evaluate the injury. We arrived at Pamer about 1000 hrs. After the doctors examination he advised Tony to stay at the station. We departed Palmer about 1400 hrs and headed to Station A via the Neumayer Channel. Very scenic. I managed to shoot another roll of film during the passage. Should be on station sometime around 22-2300 hrs. Will locate and retreive the traps. May be another long night. Arrived in the vicinity of the traps earlier than expected (~2100 hrs.). Instead of heading straight for station A we decided to try and intercept the traps using their last know location and past drift course. It was also a good opportunity to check the range of the RDF. It may be that the ship was blocking the signal and that I may have been able to pick it up farther if I had been on the other side. This, however, seems somewhat unlikely since I was out on the starboard wing of the bridge and interference shouldn't have been a problem. As it was, the range was approx. 7.5 nautical miles. On second thought, the ship may have interferred. When we spotted the traps they were about 90 degrees to port from our cruise track, which, we thought was in direct line with the signal. Therefore, the signal may have been blocked by the ship on earlier attempts.
Date: 11/15/89 (Wednesday) Location: A3 Comments: Retrieved traps without incident. The seas were friendly and everything went well. Georgia spent the early morning hours processing trap samples while I got together the materials for the diel oxygen profiles and 12 hr incubations. The oxygen experiment was hastily designed to answer two questions; 1) is there a respiratory component evident in a series of 24 hr oxygen profiles taken at 6 hr intervals and, 2) what value of carbon fixation is derived from a 12 hr incubation at various light levels. The experimental design comprised 6 depths (1.5,5,10,20&30m), sampled at 0600 hrs. Separate samples were obtained for the profile and light-dark bottles at each depth. The light levels of the deck-top incubators were estimated by OHH since he could not find the measured values. These were 2-56%, 3-28%, 4-22%, 5-6%,and 6- 2% (incubator #-% light). The incubations were started at 0600 hrs and ended at 2000 hrs (14 hrs.). Spent the remainder of our shift working up the above data.
Date: 16 Nov.'89 Location: FC05-07 Comments: Began fast grid "C" at 0300 hrs. Spent most of our shift titrating DO. We also did a CTD transect between Arctowski Peninsula and Markmann Bay. This took approx. 7 hrs and put us 2.5 hrs behind schedule, however, there was some very nice scenery and lighting. Dave made a special close interval CTD cast for an upper water column DO profile at FC04. It was the highest DO values we have seen to date (up to 14.7 ml O2/l). This was one of the Charlottes Bay on the southeast end of the fast grid track. These bays are areas of very high productivity as determined by DO.
Date: 17 Nov.'89 Location: FC13-17 Comments: Deleted the Croker Passage CTD transect to get back on schedule. We are approaching the "Stations of Death" and true to form the wind and seas are building. The weather is overcast with occasional snow flurries. Seas have settled somewhat and everything is progressing smoothly.
Date: 18 Nov.'89 (Saturday) Location: FC24- Comments: Another transect is planned. This one will be across Orleans Strait. We did not collect a DO profile for FC20, however, we will for FC27 which should be Weddell seawater flowing into the northeast end of the Gerlache Strait.
Dates: 19-20 Location: End of fast grid and A4 Comments:
Date: 21 Nov.'89 (Tuesday) Location: A4 and beginning of fast grid Comments: Conducted another DO experiment to determine dark uptake. Took water from the 1200 hr cast (A412). Took replicates at 1, 5, and 10 meters and single samples at 20 & 30m for profile and dark uptake. I also took the 50 m depth for the profile (t=0) only. I wrapped the dark bottles in foil, took the samples, and wrapped them again in black or brown plastic and covered with foil. They were then put into the deck-top incubator which was a cooler with seawater running through it. The samples were incubated from 1300-0230 hrs. I had planned on pulling them out after 12 hrs but we ran into an iceberg while transiting to our first fastgrid station and that threw the whole schedule off. The iceberg that we ran into was no small berg. I was working in the starboard hole laboratory when all of a sudden the ship lurched to the left which coincided with a loud crashing noise and sudden decelleration. A few moments later, as we were trying to steady falling objects, another shock wave reverberated through the ship and it was obvious that something major had occurred. I ran out toward the stern and all I could see was a massive wall of ice off the port side. The engines were strainning trying to free the ship from the berg. At that moment I noticed that the ship was listing badly to starboard and it occurred to me that we may be taking on water. It was an interesting moment. My initial thoughts were that the ship was in real danger of sinking and various thoughts raced through my mind regarding data, survival gear and fellow passengers. However, no bells or waring was sounded so I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures. I took some of the wall of ice and then headed toward the bow to see why we were listing. I still believed that we were taking on water but since no alarms were sounded they must have it under control. I was very much relieved, when I gained a vantage point, that the source of our list was not liquid water but rather tons of frozen ice and snow that had fallen onto the bow. I managed to get a number of pictures before I pitched in to help clear the snow and ice. It was a formidable job. The skipper estimated 30 tons and it took most of the crew and scientific personnel about 3 hrs to clear the bow. During a shoveling interlude I had an opportunity to speak with Mark Huntley about the accident. He said that Fred was on watch when the accident occurred and that it resulted from him or someone hitting the manual steering without knowing it and therefore overriding the auto pilot. Apparently, the ship was going close to full speed (about 11-12 knots), when it hit the berg. Miracuously, the ship sustained relataively minor damage (I estimate 2-3 hundred thousand dollars to repair), and the captain decided that we would continue operations as planned. After the shoveling I took a sauna and watched the end of the Blues Brothers and by that time had almost forgotten about the DO experiment. Thats why I was late getting them out of the incubator.
Date: 22 Nov.'89 Location: FC7,8,3,9,1 Comments: Awoke to a beautiful day. We were in Willomeina Bay and the sun was shinning and the water calm and smooth. It was also very brown. Just as I got out of the bunk I happen to peer out the porthole just in time to see the zodiac pass by with D. Karl and about four others. I later found out that the captain wanted to inspect the damage to the hull. I spent most of the day working on DO samples and related computer work. I lost the FC file and started today to do it over. What a drag, it was a very long file and I don't even know what happened to it. The file name is still active but there is zero bkytes in the file and an error message flashes when trying to open it.
Date: 23 Nov.'89 Location: FD15-20 Comments: Today is Thanksgiving and Brendan prepared the usual turkey and ham dinner. It was good but I sure miss the family get together. Another bit of bad luck has struck the Huntley group. They lost their MOCNESS net system (station 17), estimated to be worth about 50 K. Apparently, the wire had become slack and the ship rose in response to a large swell creating a force which ripped the chinese grip from the cable. This occurred in plain sight as the net approached the stern. They have experienced repeated problems with the MOCNESS and only last nite had to reterminate the connectors due to the cable breaking below deck (the winch drum is located in the low hole). Just before that it was an electrical problem. Many proclaimed that it was fortunate that the net was not in the water at the time otherwise it would have been lost. At least then the ship's insurance may have covered the loss. So far a relatively slow day. The weather is good for the "stations of death" with clear skies and winds only 10- 20 kts, however the swells are 8-10 feet. The water color is blue, unlike the brownish tint in the bays and other areas of the Gerlache Strait. It is obvious that these stations, on the eastern edge of of the Bransfield, are less productive than the coastal bays and margins along the eastern side of the Gerlache.
Date: 24 Nov.'89 Location: FD28-33 Comments: Rapidly approaching station FD33, the last station we will do on this cruise. After which we will steam to Palmer to pack (also will be doing that enroute), and pick up Tony.
Date: 25 Nov.'89 Location: Palmer Station Comments: Completed starboard laboratory packing and cleanup early this morning. Dave K. got a good headstart on the packing and he finished most of it early this am. In fact, he stayed up all nite packing and well into the early afternoon coordinating offloading, etc. We got an opportunity to go ashore and I climbed the glacier with Ricardo. Georgia was coming down as we were going up. Lara and Walter went x-country skiing. Also went over the channel in the hand drawn cable car. The Palmerites hosted another party which again lasted well into at am hours. Andy, for reasons unknown, decided he wanted a mohawk haircut and the Palmer barbers were happy to accomodate him.
Date: 26 Nov.'89 Location: Transit to King George Island for SAAM flight Comments: Left Palmer at 0600 hrs and steamed to Racer rock (formerly "No Name island") for group photos. Great day and place for pictures, however, there was a number of gull nests with eggs and we caused quite a distrubance. After the picture taking session Tony and I went up to the "met" station to check the alignment of the tower. It was only 6 degrees off true north, according to Tony. Should be some great pictures of our group, however, mine will probably not turn out. For the second time, this trip, the film did not rewind properly and the film was exposed when I opened the camera to remove it. Made a detour to Deception Is. on our way to King George. Arrived about 2200 hrs. Took a short cruise into the crater for observational purposes. The crater is filled with seawater and is about 30-40 m deep at the sill will high precipitous cliffs on the north side lining the entrance. The rock is dark to black and apparently rather soft judging from the landslides and finely crumbled debri. I do not know what the bottom depth inside the crater is althought I would guess a couple hundred meters. Ozzie was saying that they used to do or had routinely done CTD casts within the crater and the water was distinctively different than outside. Since it was 2200 there was not much light for my daylight film. We saw an old whaling base which like the others in the carater are deserted. Apparently a number of bases were active in the early part of this century but a relatively recent eruption halted this acitivity. A very cold wind is blowing and on the horizon appears some weather. The light is becoming fainter. We travel on.
Date: 27 Nov.'89 Location: King George Island Comments: Arrived King George Island about 0630 hrs. At about 0900 hrs we will find out if the SAAM flight left Punta Areanes which should confirm our departure if the weather at this end cooperates. If everything goes as planned we should be in PA by about 1800 hrs tonight.
Date: 28 Nov.'89 (Tuesday) Location: King George Island Comments: Things did not go as planned. The weather continued to deteriorate yesterday until visibility was reduced to less than 1/4 mi. Therefore, it was anticipated that our flight would probably be cancelled. But we did not anticipate the news that our plane was grounded in Antigua (somewhere in the Carribean), with mechanical problems, and would not arrive in PA until Wednesday. This news was probably a real shock to the DV'd (Distinguished Visitors), waiting for their SAAM flight out of PA to King George. We were going to return to PA on the same flight that they arrived on and they were going to board the Polar Duke for an official visit to Palmer Station. As it stands now we are all in a holding pattern. Ricardo made a call to the Chilian base yesterday hoping to find a flight out of here so that he could attend his wedding Saturday in Santiago. He was connected to the base commnader and was fortunate enough to be given a seat on a return flight today. However, the weather is still not cooperating and at last word the flight was either cancelled and/or on hold. The latest news on our flight is that it is suppose to arrive in PA tomorrow and then get in line for the flight to King George. Although, king George is only 2 1/2 hrs by air from PA, they only allow 1 plane on the runway at any one time. That usually works out to 1 flight per day. Also, if there are weather delays, which appears to be the rule instead of the exception, then the scheduled flights are bumped back accordingly. That means that our SAAM flight, which is behind the Chilian flight, will not be cleared to land until the Chilian plane leaves. If they cannot get in today they will try again tomorrow, etc. If there is only one flight ahead of ours, and the weather clears, then the earliest we can expect to leave will be Thursday. If the weather does not break, its anyones guess.
Date: 29 Nov.'89 (Wednesday) Location: King George Is. Comments: Heard from Dave K. that the Chilian flight circled the field but could not land due to the fog. Therefore, they will try again tomorrow. Our flight is suppose to arrive in PA today. If the DV's are still coming they may get the flight scheduled earlier than we anticipate, however, we have heard very little from them regarding any plans at all. This morning, Mark Huntley (Chief Scientist), circulated a telemail letter directed to Dr. Wilkness (Director of NSF) asking to be informed of plans at their end (PA), so our personnel could make the appropriate arrangements. I also heard that the ship needs to be in PA by Dec. 6th. That puts a limit on our stay in King George. I believe they would have to leave by the end of the week to make that date if they are going to stop at Palmer to pick up passengers. We'll see what happens. Ricardo's plans to fly out on a FAUST flight have been negated by NSF. Apparently, one of the flights was going to be a cargo flight and it would have plenty of room for return passengers. The space was offered by the commanding officer of Marsh Base (Chilean base in King George). That meant that we now needed permission from NSF to take that flight. When solicited they replied "absolutely" no NSF personel will be permitted to return on the chilean plane. This unfortunately include Ricardo.
Date: 30 Nov.'89 (Thursday) Location: King George Comments: Apparently, Mark's "nastygram" as they called it, caused quite a stir in the NSF arena. But it did achieve results. Shortly after being sent a call was received from Wilkness apologizing for the inconvenience and lack of updates. We learned that the plane was now in PA and that they would be flying in tomorrow (weather permitting). A FAUST flight had landed early in the am when it was relatively clear. Then, I believe, another FAUST flight came in around or before noon. This one left sometime in the late afternoon since the weather had deteriorated. I am not sure if there was 2 flights, there may have been only one.
Date: 1 Dec.'89 (Friday) Location: King George Comments: Today is the day! Got news that the C-130 left PA at 1300 hrs. That will put its arrival in KG at 1530 hrs. During the interlude everyone finished packing and cleaned their rooms for the oncoming DV's. The first zodiac load left the ship 1400 hrs and the rest of us will follow shortly. Weather is beginning to deteriorate. Relatively clear skies that initiated the SAAM flight have been replaced by low-lying fog. Went outside, just about the time the flight was to arrive, and joined a group on the bow looking longingly toward the sky. I heard the plane fly over once and then nothing. We found out later that the flight had been denied clearance to land, circled a few times and then departed for PA. So it goes, unfortunately without us. Got word that the DV's had cancelled their plans and that there would not be another flight. So now we head to Palmer.
Date: 2 Dec.'89 Location: Palmer Station Comments: Arrived Palmer about 1500 hrs. The ship needed to load some cargo and passengers so we got about 5 hrs shoreleave. Most people were in the bar and some on the glacier. Mark H. had bought some liquor and was serving "adios amigos" drinks composed of various shots of brandy, gin and rum--I think. I spent some time in the bar and the remainder in the hot tub overlooking the glacier.
Date: 3 Dec.'89 Location: Entering the Drake Passage Comments: Weatherfax indicates good weather which should make the passage tolerable. Today the seas have picked up mitigating the mealtime crowd. A number of passengers are waiting out the passage in their bunks.
Date: 4 Dec.'89 (Monday) Location: Just about across the Drake Comments: The captain has kept the "pedal to the metal" , taking advantage of the relatively calm seas. By 1800 hrs tonight we should be at the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego. I understand we will transit the east side up to the Magellan Straits where we will take on a pilot. From there it is about 70 nm to PA. Should arrive sometime tomorrow afternoon.
Date: 5 Dec.'89 Location: Within the Magellan Straits Comments: Revised ETA is 1900 hrs this evening. Our group has been booked on the 0900 LADECO flight to Santiago tomorrow with waitlist status from there on. A message on the board says that we are going to have a BBO this evening. The weather is blustery so it ought to be interesting. Spent most of the early, and then late morning tapeing VHS segments from Allan Campell, Tony Amos, Don, George, Karen and others shots. Not too much to see except for numerous oil rigs burning excess natural gas which Tony says reflects the name Tierro del Fuego (land of fire and ice). This is the last leg of our expedition and the end of RACER II (parting shot).