Southern Ocean Iron Experiment (SOFeX) Cruise
January 5 - February 26, 2002

Skip to Log Entry from the R/V Melville
January 23, 2002: Day 19

R/V Revelle:
Ship: -66 26.5692 S-171 50.2534 W
North Patch In Drifting PIT: 55.681 S, 171.786 W
North Patch Out Drifting PIT: 55.463 S, 171.861 W

R/V Revelle Log Entry: Good news on all fronts.We spoke to MELVILLE this morning and they have found our drifters in the North Patch, verified the presence of the SF6 tracer and have begun sampling. They had a very rough ride down, which caused a late arrival, but they were excited to begin sampling. That is really encouraging. It is the 10th day after we started adding iron and their results should really show what is going on in that experiment. So far so good.

Meanwhile, were sitting here in calm weather and no worries.The rest of the weather, other than wind, has been really variable - a sunny noon and then we just finished the last station in a snow flurry (and Ginger was worried about missing winter!). The one thing the weather hasnt been is warm. Sea surface temperature is -0.5C and the air temperature hasnt changed much from that, its been -1C most of the day. Dick Barber just said this must be a really interesting place in winter, but believe me, I have no interest in finding out about that. Veronica Lance is learning the hard way how cold that -0.5C water is as she draws samples from the Rosette. Chris Guay is mighty glad that there is no water coming over the bulwarks as he prepares the MLVS pumping system for the pre-fertilization sampling station.

Were just finishing the pre-fertilization site survey and are heading back to the experiment site. The spot we had initially selected near 170.4 W is just on the edge of a weak salinity front. Wellmove the target area over to 170.8 to avoid any complications from the front.Conditions are otherwise quite uniform. There are a lot of senescent diatoms in the water column and it looks like this system is all primed to go, just waiting for iron, we think. Big bloom, here we come. Well start the pre-fertilization station in a few hours and then begin adding iron tomorrow afternoon.

Time to go.
- Ken J.


R/V Melville:
Ships Position:55 degrees, 26 minutes South, 171 degrees, 30 minutes West

Caffeine Monkeys after a long sleepless night (left to right):Mike Landry, Bob Bidigare (U. Hawaii), John Andrews (WHOI), Zack Johnson (MIT), Amy Apprill (Scripps), Mike Hiscock (Duke).

R/V Melville Log Entry: After a very rough night with 3-6 meter seas on our starboard, gale force winds gusting to 50 kts, we finally reached the Northern Patch. Our chemical and biophysical sensors operational and antennae bristling, we made our first transect within 130 meters of the sediment trap placed by the Revelle. The rest of the day has been tedious. The caffeine monkeys gather in front of the lab espresso machine. No one has had any sleep the night before because of the weather and now the patch is fickle, almost as if it is hiding directly beneath our hull. As I write, the bow thruster is broken as is the uncontaminated seawater line. So, in terms of finding the patch we are crippled and almost blind except we still have some buoy positions to go by. As soon as we can get underway we will be off to the buoy where we will launch our first 'In Patch' station and see how long our stamina will hold out. We made satellite contact with Revelle today so we know they are doing well, in calm and sunny seas and will be spreading iron soon. We are very anxious to get out of the furious fifties and into calmer waters, but not before we take full advantage of this unique experiment beneath us.

- Kenneth Coale


Hi one and all. We are finally on our way and at the first iron fertilization patch. We found where the currents took the patch from where the R/V Revelle fertilized the oceans with the iron. We are now doing some mapping through the patch from several different angles, to determine how big it is, how fast it is moving, and where would be a good place to do our inside/outside stations. We are also looking for buoys and drifters deployed by the R/V Revelle as well as deploying our own to float along with the patch. The R/V Revelle has moved down to where the second patch will be fertilized, encountering some good ice bergs along the way. They didn't quite make it to the Antarctic circle. All of the scientists are getting excited to begin analyzing water samples, but the weather here is really rough. Most of us didn't sleep well last night because of the large swells and the idea that we'd fall out of our bunks! Some described it as holding on to their mattress with two hands like they were surfing the waves. Others had death grips on the mattress and tiny silver bar to hold us in our beds. Most of us look horrible and bored, but with renewed excitement now that we are at the patch. Hopefully, the weather will get better as the day goes on and we can put our CTD Rosettes in the water to collect samples.

CTD cast at northern patch

There are many scientists on board (37) and 25 crew. We have 3 square meals a day and snacks like popcorn and juice and fruit for other times of the day. Wehave two cooks who are really nice, actually all of the crew are really nice and help in any way that they can. We had a big leak last night from all of the waves washingoverboard and they had to fix it. This ship is very clean and in tip top shape. The bridge is on 4 hour watches, two shifts a day. We have the captain, chief mate, second, and third mates piloting the ship. We've had a few albatrosses hangingout with the ship the whole time. I saw two rare dolphins before leaving Lyttleton (a sign of good luck on a voyage). Our soda machine is broken for therest of the trip, so we've been drinking a lot of bug juice. Even though it is chilly outside (around 50 degrees Farenheit, balmy to some of you), theair conditioning is going full blast in the ship. The days are really cloudy,but long (night only comes after 9pm and is up way before I get up at 7:30am). We have two lounges to keep us busy with VCR and DVD players. I should get back to work now.

- Jodi Brewster

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