Sunday 6 January 2008 à 17:48

Hump day with humpback whales

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

"Happy hump day!" is written today on the slate in the dining room. No one seems surprised, except for the non-English-speakers who are asking what message means.

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Sunday 6 January 2008 à 17:33

Data for the Aurora Australis at 12h30

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

Position of the icebreaker:
- latitude: 65°32.021' S
- longitude: 143°09.419’ E
Wind:
- direction: SE
- speed: 7 knots
Water temperature: -0.2°C
Air temperature: -0.8°C
Atmospheric pressure: 991 hPa
Relative humidity: 82%
UV-B: 4.1 W/m²
Water depth: 2,700 meters
Sunset: 00h24/ sunrise: 02h42

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Sunday 6 January 2008 à 17:11

Final preparations before the mission begins

Stéphanie Pavoine. Based in Dumont D’Urville station

First contact with Anne Goffart, our mission leader, over lunch at the base. We talk about materiel and logistics mainly. She sets up a rendezvous for us, David, Thomas and me, at 16h on the ship.

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Sunday 6 January 2008 à 13:50

Position of Aurora Australis

Sophie Mouge. Correspondent aboard the Aurora Australis

FROM: Martin Riddle
DATE: 06/01/08
REPORT (SITREP) NO.: 321
UNIVERSAL TIME: 0100
LOCAL (SHIP) TIME: 1200
AUSTRALIAN EASTERN STANDARD TIME: 1200
POSITION: -65 39.6S, 143 02.4E
HEADING: Various
CURRENT SPEED (KNOTS): 1.0
DISTANCE TO NEXT WAYPOINT (NAUTICAL MILES): N/A
DISTANCE COVERED LAST 24 HOURS (NAUTICAL MILES): 61.6
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Cloudy, good visibility, wind decreasing 8 kts from 125T
AIR TEMPERATURE: -0.5
SEA TEMPERATURE: -0.2
SEA CONDITIONS: Slight seas, confused swell ICE CONDITIONS: Isolated bergs, occasional bergy bits, otherwise open water.
REMARKS: We all expected the Big Polychaete to be the undisputed highlight of the voyage, however, the Southern Ocean continues to turn-up surprises. Yesterday, while sampling the transect from 400m to 2100m down the shelf we blew out the trawl net as we tried to bring it on deck after sampling the 800m site. The video footage from the trawl-mounted camera explained why. Almost the entire day shift crammed into the STS electronics cupboard to see the footage and, after the first gasps of 'incroyable!', watched in hushed awe as a scene rivalling the best parts of the Great Barrier Reef was revealed. The sea-bed was 100% covered with living material - colourful branching coralline species and gorgonians forming the major lower storey structure and large branching sponges the upper storey. Amongst this were numerous sea-stars, sea-cucumbers, crustacea and fish of types at yet unseen. After repairing the trawl nets we returned to re-sample the site, this time being very cautious with the time allowed for the trawl to be on the bottom, and were rewarded with a relatively small catch but with many species not previously collected. In marked contrast the communities at 1600m and 2100m were rather sparse with much un-colonised rock and coarse sediment visible, but again the samples, although small, contained many species new to us. The deck crew must be congratulated for their skill and persistence in successfully sampling these very difficult environments, without which the scientists would have nothing. We have now commenced the main CASO sampling for the voyage.
Regards, Martin and Sarah.

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