Friday, November 4, 2011


The last days and hours before an oceanographic cruise are filled with intense activity. The LM GOULD was docked in Punta Arenas (Photos A and B), while people, personal belongings, scientific equipment and supplies, fresh food, and much more were moved aboard, stowed, and lashed down securely. We got underway at 12:00 Noon (Photo C) and headed down the Straits of Magellan to the northeast.

The first afternoon after leaving port was filled with safety briefings. All members of the science teams and the technical staff met for a review of safety procedures by the Marine Program Coordinator (MPC) and Chief Mate; we all put on life jackets and the survival suits. We then heard a briefing about the vessel life boats – and all climbed into one boat and strapped ourselves into the seats. A bit later, a lab safety briefing was given by the Marine Science Technician (MST), followed by a deck safety briefing by a Marine Technician (MT), who explained how to wear the float coats and hard hats required for work on deck. [The exceptionally hard-working and knowledgeable technical support staff employed by Raytheon Polar Services Co. (RPSC) will be introduced in a later post.]

We have crossed the Polar Front and now the SST is 1.5 degrees C. [See Photo E with sea surface temperature (SST) superimposed on the area bathymetry (depth contours).] Winds have picked up and they are now around 25 kts, but both wind and seas to our back. The ship is rolling heavily as we continue on course across the Drake Passage to Cape Sheriff, Livingston Island (Photo E). 

Submitted by Ann Bucklin – 04 November 4, 2011

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