Friday, 27 January 2012

Antarctic Voyage 2012 - 27/01/2012 [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Due to the monotony of marine science work in the Southern Ocean,
away from the ice, it's been a few days since anything particularly
interesting has happened, and thus since my last blog post. That all
changed last night...

A deep low pressure system passed to our north during the course of
yesterday, and with it, came some of the world renowned Southern
Ocean fury. For much of the evening (remember this is essentially the
middle of the night for me given that I am working the night shift),
I lay in bed attempting to sleep while I was constantly shaken in my
bed, sliding back and forth and side to side with the pitch and roll
of the ship. At this stage, it was bearable, but come 9.30 or so, the
ocean stepped it up a notch. The pitch (the tilting of the ship from
front to back) reached 40 degrees, and the roll (the tilting from
port to starboard) reached 48 degrees! The curtains appeared near
vertical from window, objects were flying all over the place in the
room and I was clinging on in my bed trying not to fall out. A quick
look out the window made for a very dizzying sight - one second we
faced straight into the ocean, the next high into the night-time sky!
After dozing, I woke up to some particularly nasty conditions and
realised my laptop was unsecured on the desk, so thought I should
attempt to get out of bed and put it away safely. Boy was that a

And then came my second idiotic moment of the voyage (after running
into the rope). Straight after getting out of bed, with the ship
titled at some ridiculous angle, I was knocked straight onto my bum,
and slid all the way across the floor to the other side of the cabin,
a good 6-7m. The speed at which all this happened was crazy. One
second I was upright, the next I was crumpled on the floor in my
boxers, heading straight for the cabin door! On this apparent roller
coaster ride, I managed to bang my knee (not my injured knee from
snow cricket) on the wall pretty hard, and have been hobbling around
all day. I don't know what it is about me and my knees this voyage.
Remember that I had literally just woken up at this point, and
hurtling towards a door at warp speed isn't something you expect to
happen so I was pretty startled. Upon reaching my final destination
at the opposite end of the cabin, my cabin-mate and I just burst into
laughter at the hilarity of the situation, and continued as such on
and off until the seas abated and we were able to sleep. A small
taste of what the Southern Ocean can produce I'm sure.

Fortunately the seas have died down considerably over the course of
the day, but the impact from last nights drama were clearly visible
throughout the day - chairs knocked everywhere in the mess, objects
strewn all over the floor in the cabins, and bruises from other
peoples falls in night. I'm told the pitching and rolling was so bad
because of the swell and seas coming from different directions,
producing a very confused ocean. This meant we could not escape the
oceans wrath whichever direction we traveled in. Things were bad
enough to prevent any CTDs for the last 18 hours or so (a day off
today!), and a broken generator also didn't help.

On the plus side, I didn't get sea sick, and I'm still alive in

p.s. there seems to be a problem with the sending and receiving of
e-mails. If you have sent me one and I haven't responded, I likely
didn't get it...


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