Monday 31 December 2007 à 14:28

First deep trawl

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

At three o’clock in the morning, the night shift is stamping their feet. The trawl is currently turning. It has scraped the bottom at a depth of 1,200 m, the deepest we’ve gone to date.

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Monday 31 December 2007 à 14:18

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 66°43.800' S
- longitude: 144°58.740’ E
Wind:
- direction: SE
- speed: 18 knots
Water temperature: -0.5°C
Air temperature: -2.2°C
Atmospheric pressure: 980 hPa
Relative humidity: 97.5 %
UV-B: 2.2 W/m²
Water depth: 630 meters
Sunrise: above the horizon all day

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Monday 31 December 2007 à 13:53

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 31/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 315
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -66 45, 145 18
HEADING: various
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 2.5
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): N/A
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 68.9
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Low cloud, occasional snow and sleet, visibility reduced by snow, wind 15 kts from 140T with gusts to 19 kts
AIR TEMPERATURE: -2.5
SEA TEMPERATURE: -0.5 SEA CONDITIONS: Slight seas, with low NNW swell 1m
ICE CONDITIONS: Scattered bergs and bergy bits, open water.
REMARKS: The epibenthos (seabed surface living animals) at the deep site sampled last night near the Mertz Glacier was relatively low in diversity, and dominated by a few large solitary tunicates and sponges. Some species, such as the green sponge Latrunculia, are found all around the coast of Antarctica and are known from shallow coastal locations as well as these deeper places. The scientific highlight of this site was the discovery on the high definition photographs of highly pigmented patches on the sediment surface. The colour is very like the patches of photosynthetic microorganisms found on sediments in shallower places but at this depth (1300 m) no light penetrates and so photosynthesis is not possible. The most likely explanation is that they are caused by organic material from the upper waters that has sunk to the bottom fast enough to retain photosynthetic pigments. This explanation is consistent with the CTD cast at this site which indicated patches of photosynthetic microorganisms at various depths through the water-column. As I write, these surface sediments are being examined under the microscope to see whether the source of the pigments can be identified.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Sunday 30 December 2007 à 17:38

Grazing the continent!

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Captain Ian offers us a treat for the eyes by taking a short detour into Commonwealth Bay: everybody to the wheelhouse!

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Sunday 30 December 2007 à 17:32

Studying the marine biodiversity in Antarctica

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Discover how the scientists work on board of the Aurora Australis.


Sophie Mouge, Education & Outreach Officer - CAML

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Sunday 30 December 2007 à 17:30

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 67°02.916' S
- longitude: 144°40.036’ E
Wind:
- direction: S
- speed: 12 knots
Water temperature: -1.6°C
Air temperature: +3°C
Atmospheric pressure: 984 hPa
Relative humidity: 65 %
UV-B: 8.7 W/m²
Water depth: 182 meters
Sunrise: above the horizon all day

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Sunday 30 December 2007 à 11:30

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 30/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 314
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -67 02.6, 144 39.8
HEADING: various
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 0
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): N/A
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 75.5
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Sunny with high clouds, good visibility, wind 17 kts from 180T with gusts to 19 kts
AIR TEMPERATURE: 0.5 SEA TEMPERATURE: -1.6
SEA CONDITIONS: Slight seas, with low ENE swell 0.5m
ICE CONDITIONS: Bergs frequent and close, open water.
REMARKS: We are now working within 2 Nm mile of the continent and are the closest we will be to land during the voyage. There is a small outcrop of rock visible directly to the south of us but apart from that the land is entirely covered with ice for as far as we can see. With a depth of just 180 m this is also one of the shallowest sites we will be sampling. The crushed rocks that came up in the last samples are evidence that the seabed at these depths is frequently disturbed by the keels of passing ice-bergs. From here we will head due east to within a mile of the 80 mile long Mertz Glacier. This next site will be the deepest so far at about 1200 m. There we will be sampling sea-bed that was covered by the Mertz during previous ice-ages when it extended out across the continental shelf. Trawling, coring and CTD water sampling continues.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Saturday 29 December 2007 à 12:43

Homage to Mawson

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Today we are in Commonwealth Bay, just a couple of hundred meters from Mertz glacier.

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Saturday 29 December 2007 à 12:19

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 66°41.340' S
- longitude: 143°39.680’ E
Wind:
- direction: SE
- speed: 14 knots
Water temperature: -0°C
Air temperature: -0.3°C
Atmospheric pressure: 977 hPa
Relative humidity: 72 %
UV-B: 5.4 W/m²
Water depth: 760 meters
Sunrise: above the horizon all day

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Saturday 29 December 2007 à 12:17

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 29/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 313
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -66 45.7, 143 17.5
HEADING: various
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 0
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): N/A
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 83.4
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Mostly cloudy with sunny breaks, good visibility, wind 10 kts from 94T with gusts to 12 kts
AIR TEMPERATURE: 0.5
SEA TEMPERATURE: -0.7 SEA CONDITIONS: Rippled seas, with low ENE swell 0.5m
ICE CONDITIONS: Scattered bergs, some brash ice, a continent almost entirely covered in ice in sight.
REMARKS: We have been working within site of Commonwealth Bay for the last 24 hrs and both last night and this morning had radio contact with the team working on Mawson's Hut. They used signalling mirrors to indicate their exact location on the coast and we were able to see their huts from our position about 10 Nm off. We are now heading around the coast to the east towards the Mertz Glacier. The sea-bed has been so rugged at one or two sites that we have not been able to safely deploy the trawl and have instead used the GA Video Camera to document the animals living there. The epibenthic sled is being modified slightly with the hope that we can use it to skim some animals from this boulder-strewn bottom. Everybody is now well into the routine of sampling around the clock and are working very efficiently. The glass sponges, so-called because they have skeletons (spicules) made of fine strands of silicate, looking exactly like glass-fibre, have been the outstanding feature of the last few sites. Note, sitrep no. 309 was mistakenly used twice - to correct the sequence, no. 312 has been skipped.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Friday 28 December 2007 à 12:12

Moon games!

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

The day begins with the magnificent sight of the moon around three o’clock in the morning. One more amazing spectacle!

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Friday 28 December 2007 à 12:03

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 66°33.440' S
- longitude: 143°20.245’ E
Wind:
- direction: SW
- speed: 8 knots
Water temperature: -0.3°C
Air temperature: -0.6°C
Atmospheric pressure: 977 hPa
Relative humidity: 60 %
UV-B: 8 W/m²
Water depth: 820 meters
Sunrise: above the horizon all day

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Friday 28 December 2007 à 10:59

From Martin Riddle

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 28/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 311
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -66 33, 143 19
HEADING: various
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 2.5
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): N/A
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 78.1
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Good visibility, fine and sunny, wind 7 kts from 255T with gusts to 9 kts
AIR TEMPERATURE: -0.5
SEA TEMPERATURE: -0.6
SEA CONDITIONS: Rippled seas, with low NW'ly swell 0.5m
ICE CONDITIONS: Continent in sight, scattered icebergs.
REMARKS: We are sampling in some very dramatic country. One trawl last night was taken from the lip of a very steep drop-off, going from 130 m depth to more than 400 m in a very short distance. Although the trawl was on the sea-bed very briefly, it came up with a good haul of giant sponges and fish, indicating an area of very high production. As we move into some of the deeper sites we are beginning to see the first of the giant crustaceans which are characteristic of the Antarctic. Overnight we caught amphipods that were 5 cm long and isopods that were more than 8 cm long, these groups include the sand-hoppers and sea-slaters which around the coast of Australia are usually less than a centimetre long. We have now used 24% of the ship-time allocated to CEAMARC and have completed 20% of the sampling stations. We are about on schedule for this stage of the voyage, allowing for the extra time used at the first few stations where we tested the full range of sampling equipment before we settled on a standard combination to be used at most stations.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Thursday 27 December 2007 à 10:33

Under or on the sea: a lot to see!

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

The good weather is back, and so are our outings on deck to enjoy the magnificent panorama before us.

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Thursday 27 December 2007 à 10:17

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 66°33.805' S
- longitude: 141°59.903’ E
Wind:
- direction: SE
- speed: 17 knots
Water temperature: -1°C
Air temperature: -1.2°C
Atmospheric pressure: 983 hPa
Relative humidity: 62 %
UV-B: 8 W/m²
Water depth: 320 meters
Sunrise: above the horizon all day

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Thursday 27 December 2007 à 10:16

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 27/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 310
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -66 34, 142 00
HEADING: various
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 0-4
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): N/A
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24
HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 74.1
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Good visibility, sunny with few clouds towards the horizon, wind 18 kts from 145T with gusts to 20 kts
AIR TEMPERATURE: -1.3
SEA TEMPERATURE: -1.2
SEA CONDITIONS: Moderate seas, with low SEly swell 1.5m
ICE CONDITIONS: Frequent tabular icebergs, with some bergy bits floating by.
REMARKS: We have so far caught and documented about 28 different species of fish from the trawl samples. The fish assemblage appears to be quite different from that found at the coastal sites off the French research station, Dumont D'Urville, about 40 Nm west southwest of our current position. Many of these fish are new records for the region and there are likely to be new species amongst them. Last night the winds and swell had eased sufficiently to allow sampling to continue by 2220hrs. The night shift then had a very successful run, completing three and a bit stations before handing over at mid-day. The STS electronics wizards have built a wire counter for the box-corer winch that gives a very accurate reading of the amount of wire paid out and has increased the success rate for sediment sampling. As I write the box-corer has just been put on the deck and the Geosciences Australia underwater video camera is about to be deployed again.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Wednesday 26 December 2007 à 10:12

Pitching and rolling at sea!

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

We were right to mistrust the still water. Today the sea proves to be very rough! The captain sends out a general call to advise us to be careful with our things and tie them down well so they don’t fall. Some of us are suffering a recurrence of seasickness but overall, we’re staying the course!

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Wednesday 26 December 2007 à 10:00

Welcome on board

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

The crew welcomes you on board. Visit the bridge of the Aurora Australis, an area from which the ship can be commanded.


Sophie Mouge, Education & Outreach Officer - CAML

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Wednesday 26 December 2007 à 09:10

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 66°20.395' S
- longitude: 142°36.234’ E
Wind:
- direction: ESE
- speed: 28 knots
Water temperature: -1°C
Air temperature: -2.2°C
Atmospheric pressure: 968 hPa
Relative humidity: 100 %
UV-B: 3.7 W/m²
Water depth: 320 meters
Sunrise: above the horizon all day

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Wednesday 26 December 2007 à 09:05

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 26/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 309
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -66 18, 142 29
HEADING: 115
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 4
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): N/A
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 71
WEATHER CONDITIONS: moderate to por visibility,overcast, rain and sleet, wind 40 kts from 135T with gusts to 50 kts
AIR TEMPERATURE: -2.3
SEA TEMPERATURE: -1.0
SEA CONDITIONS: Rough seas, moderate to heavy SE swell 4-6m
ICE CONDITIONS: Frequent icebergs and bergy bits
REMARKS: The wind got up almost exactly on the shift changeover at midnight last night. The sidescan sonar was deployed at the time - this tool creates an image of the major features on the seabed in a wide path either side of the ships track, such as old scour marks caused by the keels of passing icebergs as they rip up the bottom. The underwater video camera is showing that the sides of these scours are an important habitat for filter-feeding animals living on the sea-bed. After the sonar was recovered in the early hours, the wind and sea state were too strong to safely continue sampling and since then the ship has been travelling gently with the weather to limit the motion as much as possible. The wind is caused by a low pressure system to the north of us and is likely to pass in the next 12 hours or so. Sampling will resume when the sea settles down to the point that working can continue safely on the trawl deck. Meanwhile people are catching up with the various tasks that were neglected during the busy period of sample collection and processing. I understand that more information on the voyage is being posted to the internet at the Census of Antarctic Marine Life web site at www.caml.aq/voyages - feedback on the content would be appreciated as we do not have web access on the ship.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Tuesday 25 December 2007 à 09:44

Cooking on an icebreaker?

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Christmas Eve, 23h: Marc gets up. In one hour, he will start his 12 hours of work in the wet lab. But first, he’d love to have something to nibble. Would the kitchen staff still be up at this hour?

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Tuesday 25 December 2007 à 09:33

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 66°20.230' S
- longitude: 143°19.119’ E
Wind:
- direction: E
- speed: 5 knots
Water temperature: -0.2°C
Air temperature: -1.5°C
Atmospheric pressure: 976 hPa
Relative humidity: 98 %
UV-B: 4 W/m²
Water depth: 704 meters
Sunrise: above the horizon all day

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Tuesday 25 December 2007 à 09:04

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 25/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 309
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -66 20, 143 17
HEADING: Various
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 0
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): N/A
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24
HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 70.7 WEATHER CONDITIONS: Visibility good, overcast, wind 8 kts from 90T with gusts to 11 kts
AIR TEMPERATURE: -1.0 SEA
TEMPERATURE: -0.22 SEA CONDITIONS: Calm seas, low NE'ly swell
ICE CONDITIONS: Distant icebergs
REMARKS: Sampling for CEAMARC continues and has become more stream-lined. Having tested a range of samplers at the first sites, we are now focusing our efforts on those that proved most effective. The combination of samplers that we are now using is giving us a broad representative sample of the full suite of sea-bed animals, including excellent very high definition still photographs from the STS trawl mounted camera system. The team of designers and builders in the AAD's Science Technical Support Section are to be congratulated for their combined skills in producing rugged equipment that works under the very difficult conditions down here. A highlight of today's hauls have been the first solitary corals for the trip. The skeleton's of these animals are made from aragonite - the form of calcium most susceptible to ocean acidification. The specimens collected today were from 700m and had very delicate, friable shells. It will be interesting to see whether they are found at the deeper sites where, because of the increaser water pressure, the aragonitic calcium will have a greater tendency to dissolve. Oh yes....and Happy Christmas to everyone.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Monday 24 December 2007 à 09:20

"Sitidi", what’s that?

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

One of the first abbreviations that the French neophytes must learn to follow a scientific conversation is “CTD", which sounds like “sitidi” in French.

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Monday 24 December 2007 à 09:07

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 66°02’074 S
- longitude: 143°17’750 E
Wind:
- direction: W
- speed: 7 knots
Water temperature: -1.2°C
Air temperature: -1°C
Atmospheric pressure: 987 hPa
Relative humidity: 77 %
UV-B: 3.3 W/m²
Water depth: 480 meters
Sunrise: above the horizon all day

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Monday 24 December 2007 à 09:05

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 24/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 308
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -66 03.6, 143 17.3
HEADING: Various
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 2.5
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): N/A
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 55.5
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Visibility good, overcast, wind 7 kts from 320T with gusts to 10 kts
AIR TEMPERATURE: -1.0 SEA
TEMPERATURE: -1.26
SEA CONDITIONS: Rippled seas & long low swell
ICE CONDITIONS: 3/10 open pack ice, with some older ice present
REMARKS: The first CEAMARC site took about 20 hours to complete as gear was tested and fine tuned. Each haul of the sleds and trawls is bringing up new and interesting material, a highlight this morning being the first Antarctic record for a particular group of molluscs. Yesterday the first run of the GA underwater video camera allowed us to see what the sea-bed we are sampling actually looks like. It is mostly fine sediment with typical soft sediment animals such as sea-cucumbers and brittle stars, dotted with rocks forming habitat for those species that need something firm to attach to, such as the feather stars.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Sunday 23 December 2007 à 09:04

First trawl!

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

We all wake up at dawn this morning. Well, it’s just a figure of speech since, as you realize, the sun has decided not to set now! Fortunately the curtains over the portholes are thick enough to provide a semblance of darkness.

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Sunday 23 December 2007 à 08:52

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 66°00’080 S
- longitude: 142°39’995 E
Wind:
- direction: ESE
- speed: 12 knots
Water temperature: -0.6°C
Air temperature: -2.5°C
Atmospheric pressure: 974 hPa
Relative humidity: 77 %
UV-B: 6 W/m²
Water depth: 436 meters
Sunrise: above horizon all day

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Sunday 23 December 2007 à 08:30

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 23/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 307
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -65 59.8, 142 39.6
HEADING: 186
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 2
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): N/A
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 74.4
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Visibility good, sunny periods, wind 9 kts from 134T with gusts to 12 kts
AIR TEMPERATURE: -1.5 SEA
TEMPERATURE: -0.6
SEA CONDITIONS: Rippled seas &long low NE swell
ICE CONDITIONS: 2/10 loose pack ice, distant icebergs
REMARKS: The ship is now doing scientific activities around the clock with most people working 12 hour shifts. Transfer of equipment between the decks in preparation for the CEAMARC sampling went smoothly yesterday and was completed by 1500 hrs. We started set-up of the first Polynya mooring at about 1600 hrs and this was deployed by 2030. During the night the remaining 3 moorings were prepared and deployed, with the last one in the water in the early hours of the morning (0400 hrs). We then moved through loose pack-ice to the first of the CEAMARC sites (Ceamarc-27) and at 0715 deployed the first of the CEAMARC sampling equipment - the very robust epibenthic sled which collects the top layer of seabed and anything living in it. The first organism to be photographed, tagged and bagged was an octopus. The sled contained enough sea-bed animals to keep a large team happily sorting for several hours - zoot alors! qu'est-ce que c'est? We have since collected a CTD water sample and used the box-corer to collect a relatively undisturbed sample of the seabed sediment. We have tested the procedure for deploying the beam trawl and are fine tuning the information read-out which tells us how much winch wire has been paid out and the tension on the wire. The next deployment will be the Geosciences Australia seabed camera so that we can see what the animals look like in their undisturbed habitat.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Saturday 22 December 2007 à 18:22

First midnight sun, first ice floe, first penguins!

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

The morning, the sun did not rise... because it did not set the night before! The light stayed quite bright until 2300 h.

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Saturday 22 December 2007 à 18:19

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 65°57’970 N
- longitude: 143°35’614 E
Wind:
- direction: W
- speed: 10 knots
Water temperature: 1.2°C
Air temperature: -2°C
Atmospheric pressure: 982 hPa
Relative humidity: 77 %
UV-B: 9.6 W/m²
Water depth: 438 meters
The sun did not set yesterday!

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Saturday 22 December 2007 à 12:00

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 22/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 306
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -65 58, 143 35
HEADING: 23
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 0
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): 14
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24
HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 192
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Visibility good, sunny periods, wind 10 kts from 300T with gusts to 16 kts
AIR TEMPERATURE: -2.0
SEA TEMPERATURE: -1.2
SEA CONDITIONS: No swell
ICE CONDITIONS: 4/10 loose pack, few ice-bergs
REMARKS: Our early Christmas went very well yesterday with several expeditioners saying they had never before been treated to such a meal - our thanks to all in the galley for making it a very special occasion. The first ice-berg was spotted at 2145 last night and since then we have regularly been seeing ice-bergs, pack-ice and the wild-life that confirms we have arrived in Antarctica. This morning we passed the tourist vessel Orion within 6 Nm and made radio contact as they headed north after visiting Commonwealth Bay. We are currently stationary in a patch of loose pack-ice while equipment is being transferred between the heli-deck and the trawl deck in preparation for the next phase of the voyage. Now that we are well into the ice those who were taking underway samples to look at the microorganisms in the water are having a short break from sampling so they are ready to start again in earnest when the survey continues.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Friday 21 December 2007 à 15:55

Merry Christmas!

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Martin Riddle had told us from the beginning of the voyage: the first requirement for members of such an expedition is flexibility! We’re fully and happily proving it today since we’re celebrating Christmas four days ahead of time! Beginning December 22, operations on board the Aurora Australis will keep us from being able to revel all together on December 25.

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Friday 21 December 2007 à 12:30

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position :
- latitude: 63°2’ S
- longitude: 142°9’ E
Wind:
- direction: S
- speed: 10 knots
Water temperature: 1°C
Air temperature: 1°C
Water depth: 3971 meters
Sunrise: 3h13 (16h13 UT)
Sunset: 23h39 (12h39 UT)

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Friday 21 December 2007 à 12:00

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 21/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 305
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -62 48, 142 51
HEADING: 181
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 9.1
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): 192
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 282.7
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Fog, wind 5.1 kts from 200T
AIR TEMPERATURE: 0.7
SEA TEMPERATURE: 0.54
SEA CONDITIONS: Rippled seas and northwesterly swell 2m
ICE CONDITIONS: nil
REMARKS: In transit to the main sampling area for both CEAMARC and the southern CASO sites. Expeditioners and crew are busy with last minute preparations for Christmas lunch and festivities this afternoon. The 3rd CPR is currently in the water. Yesterday afternoon the first bulk seawater sample was collected for metagenomic analysis using techniques based on those developed for sequencing the human genome.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Thursday 20 December 2007 à 15:52

First passage of the Antarctic circle: Neptune’s rage!

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

How many people have crossed the Antarctic Circle where the god Neptune reigns? And among them, how many have returned sound of body and soul? For woe to those who forget to pay allegiance to the god!

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Thursday 20 December 2007 à 12:30

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position :
- latitude: 58°51’S
- longitude: 142°32’ E
Wind:
- direction: N
- speed: 18 knots
Water temperature: 3°C
Air temperature: 4°C
Water depth: 3916 meters
Sunrise: 4h18 (17h18 UT)
Sunset: 22h39 (11h39UT)

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Thursday 20 December 2007 à 12:00

From Martin Riddle

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

DATE: 20/12/07

REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 304
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -58 08, 142 15
HEADING: 176
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 14.3
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): 480
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 284.8
WEATHER CONDITIONS: overcast, moderate visibility, wind 18 kts from 348T
AIR TEMPERATURE: 4.0
SEA TEMPERATURE: 2.9
SEA CONDITIONS: Slight seas & following north westerly swell 2m
ICE CONDITIONS: nil
REMARKS: In transit to the main sampling area for both CEAMARC and the southern CASO sites. Various meetings are happening around the ship to fine tune details of sample collection and processing once the shift work starts. The ship is also being prepared for an early Christmas to be held tomorrow 21 December while we are still in transit. The seminar series started this morning with a brief over-view of the major scientific activities on board from each of the lead scientists, with the intention of stimulating further collaborations among the various research groups. This was followed after lunch by a talk on the structure and evolution of reptile venom. Information on the voyage is now being posted to the internet and is available at the following website address <http://mersaustrales.mnhn.fr> and then click on the icon "A BORD" (that means 'on board'). Feedback on the web site would be appreciated as we can't see it.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Wednesday 19 December 2007 à 15:03

Crossing the 50th parallel: good weather helps with positioning scientific instruments

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

That’s it: we’ve crossed the latitude line 50° South, called the “Furious Fifties,” because the weather in these regions can be terrible! You usually expect the worst because this is where oceanic and atmospheric currents of the temperate and polar zones meet. Paradoxically, today we’re enjoying the steadiest of the ship’s movements: the captain is pleasantly surprised by the good weather overhead. “Touch wood,” is what we hear on the bridge!

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Wednesday 19 December 2007 à 14:00

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle

DATE: 19/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 303
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0300
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1400
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1400
POSITION: -53 45, 141 50
HEADING: 286
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 1.2
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): 736 DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 333
WEATHER CONDITIONS: overcast, moderate visibility, wind 8 kts from 340T
AIR TEMPERATURE: 6.0
SEA TEMPERATURE: 5.3
SEA CONDITIONS: 2 m W swell
ICE CONDITIONS: nil
REMARKS: Awoke to foggy conditions that would have made a mooring recovery difficult, fortunately the fog cleared by the time we arrived at the SAZC mooring. The mooring was released successfully, reaching the surface by about 11:00 and all buoys, lines and instruments were on the deck a little after mid-day. Samples from the mooring are now being processed. We then moved about 3 Nm and have pressure tested equipment to 1000m on the CTD, collected some water samples and are currently deploying the 2nd acoustic mooring for the cetacean monitoring. When that is completed we will commence the 740 Nm transit to the main CEAMARC sampling area on the continental shelf between Dumont D'Urville and the Mertz Glacier.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Wednesday 19 December 2007 à 12:30

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position :
- latitude: 53,4°S
- longitude: 141,5° E
Wind:
- direction: N-NW
- speed: 9 knots
Water temperature: 5,3°C
Air temperature: 6°C
Water depth: 2940 meters
Sunrise: 4h57 (17h57 UT)
Sunset: 22h02 (11h02UT)

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Tuesday 18 December 2007 à 16:37

First experiment for the CEAMARC program

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

We’d barely sat down for breakfast when Martin told us that the first measuring instrument for the CEAMARC program was about to be put in the water.

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Tuesday 18 December 2007 à 12:30

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position :

- latitude: 48,5°S
- longitude: 143,5° E
Wind:
- direction: W
- speed: 24 knots
Water temperature: 10°C
Air temperature: 10°C
Water depth: 3 930 meters
Sunrise: 5h51 (18h51 UT)
Sunset: 21h26 (10h26 UT)

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Tuesday 18 December 2007 à 12:00

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 18/12/07
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 302
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -48 53, 143 55
HEADING: 195
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 14.7
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): 302
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 189
WEATHER CONDITIONS: sunny breaks, wind 19 kts from 272T
AIR TEMPERATURE: 9.9
SEA TEMPERATURE: 10.1
SEA CONDITIONS: 3 m SW swell with 1 m SW sea
ICE CONDITIONS: nil
REMARKS: The first CTD cast, measuring conductivity-temperature-depth from sea surface to sea bed and simultaneously collecting water from 24 depths was completed yesterday evening. After this we deployed an Argo float - an autonomous CTD controlled by an on-board computer that sinks and rises through the water-column measuring as it goes. The float will drift around for about 4 years sending back data by satellite and is part of a global network providing information on the world's oceans. We then moved about 25 nm south to deploy an acoustic mooring on the sea-bed at about 2000m which will record the calls of whales, with the data used to estimate the presence, relative abundance and movement of the different species in the region. We are now in transit towards the SAZC mooring and have the CPR deployed to our stern. Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Monday 17 December 2007 à 21:32

First night on board!

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Weird deep noises sometimes invade our surroundings on board: we look at each other questioningly, asking ourselves what could be happening. But we quickly figure out that we can’t tell because of our unfamiliarity with the ship! Only the crew can know.

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Monday 17 December 2007 à 12:30

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30 (= 1h30 UT)

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position :

- latitude: 44.5° S
- longitude: 145.3° E
Wind:
- direction: SW
- speed: 5 knots
Water temperature: 14°C
Air temperature: 12°C
Relative humidity: 68
UV-B: 5 W/m²
Water depth: 3,500 meters
Sunrise: 5h55 (18h55 UT)
Sunset: 21h22 (10h22 UT)

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Monday 17 December 2007 à 12:00

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 17/12/08
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 301
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -44 40, 145 35
HEADING: 187
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 1.5
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): 1.5
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 189
WEATHER CONDITIONS: sunny breaks, wind 10 kts from 200T
AIR TEMPERATURE: 11.4
SEA TEMPERATURE: 13.4
SEA CONDITIONS: 3 m SW swell with 1 m SW sea
ICE CONDITIONS: nil
REMARKS: Everyone is settling in well with most appearing for breakfast or at least lunch. The swell last night was enough to remind everyone to stow things securely. We are currently laying out the PULSE mooring - a trial surface mooring, which if successful will become the design model for future moorings fitted with sediment traps to collect sinking particulate matter. The mooring is now streaming for about 2 kilometres behind the ship ready to be deployed in the next hour. The three hour delay in departure yesterday to continue working on the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) was well worthwhile, the ADCP is running well and giving good data to depths of up to 500-700m. Our thanks to everyone at the AAD, particularly SAO and Macquarie Wharf, for helping us get away well prepared for the scientific work ahead and to the P&O crew involved in the dry-docking and fast turnaround.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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Sunday 16 December 2007 à 21:26

The departure

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

We are supposed to embark at 8:00 am. We decided to meet at 7:00 am in front of the hotel. We are very impatient to board the Aurora Australis and to begin the adventure at last!

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WEATHER


Water temperature: - 0,5 °C
Air temperature: - 2,2 °C

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