Southern Ocean Iron Experiment (SOFeX) Cruise
January 5 - February 26, 2002
Skip to Log Entry from the R/V Melville
January 25, 2002: Day 21
Ship: 66 25.71 S, 171 40.43W
So. Patch In Drifter: 66 28.02 S, 171 45.06 W
So. Patch Out Drifter: 66 37.98 S, 171 38.98 W
R/V Revelle Log Entry: Were pumping iron in the South Patch. And were getting hit by the weather.The wind was a steady 40 knots late this morning, but its easing now down to 30. Craig Neill tells me the rule of thumb is that the worst seas come about 6 hours after maximum wind and thats what were getting now. The decks are awash in the 6 to 8 m seas.
Last evening we picked a course that would put us going straight up and down swell, the most comfortable course. Shortly after we got started and committed to the grid we had designed, the wind clocked around to the beam and put us right in the trough. One of the cooks asked me how long we were going to be here and, when I said two weeks, I thought they were going to pitch me over. The galley crew has the hardest job in these conditions and theyre doing a great job. I wouldnt be surprised to see cold sandwiches, but theyre still doing a full meal.
Snow is accumulating on deck, where the waves dont wash it off, so its kind of slippery. Dont go out alone.People are otherwise keeping a low profile, thankful for a couple of days with little activity while we spread iron for the South Patch. Things will start full swing late tomorrow when we finish adding iron.
Bye for now.
- Ken J.
Position:55 degrees, 26 minutes South, 171 degrees, 30 minutes West
R/V Melville Log Entry: We finally saw some sun today. I was hopeful for a satellite image of our study area, and because of the intense UV light at this latitude, I put on a little more sunscreen than usual. 'A jinx' said the captain.We were blasted by a biting squall during our Go-Flo bottle casts at the rail. Yet two more 30 liter bottles now sit cozy in their racks full of Southern Ocean water.
We have spent the last two days conducting round the clock operations in the Northern Patch area, about 55.3 degrees south, 171.2 degrees west. We are measuring the difference between iron infused waters that the Revelle left for us. The infused waters, we hypothesize, represent the ice age condition of the past and the unenriched waters are typical of today. What are the differences between them? And what do these experiments tell us about our biogeochemical heritage? Is there evidence for the changes we see in the sedimentary record? How can understanding the past help us to interpret the present and see into the future? These are the questions of the day, the answers to which swirl and heave beneath us.
Yesterday was a marathon with activities of all kinds, and more problems. The heavy rolling resulted in a game of bumper cars between the ship and our Trace Metal Rosette system. Guess who won?. We were able to re-terminate the wire, reconnect the Kevlar cable, fix the broken pieces, and redeploy for the next cast all within a few hours. We were not so lucky with the Trace Metal winch that, due to heavy vibrating on the fantail, had many fatigued, loose, and broken wires in the control box, power switch, and solenoids. We think the winch wore itself out dancing to the rhythms of the ships propellers. With more solder, tape and a replacement controller, we are back in business - on the job repair training at its most demanding. As you can see, the questions we seek to answer will not yield easily to us.
In spite of these problems, the casts are rolling along and samples pour through the lab, the ship is abuzz with activity and spirits are high.