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

Skip to Log Entry from the R/V Melville
January 28, 2002: Day 24

R/V Revelle:
Ship: -66 25.1088, -171 57.1794
So. Patch In Drifter: -66 24.9258, -171 53.8344
So. Patch Out Drifter: -66 36.108, -171 46.8828

R/V Revelle Log Entry: Hi again.Weve been busy since 4 am this morning doing a major sampling station inside the patch. Everyone was already tired from transect sampling last evening, so theyre catching a few winks here and there. Makes for good photo ops - for example Phoebe Lam imitating an empty Mustang Suit (the bright orange suits we wear on deck for protection from wind and for flotation).

Weve just finished the station and deployed sediment traps in the middle of the iron fertilized area. The ship is now heading outside to deploy a control trap. When we finish, we begin a SeaSoar survey. The SeaSoar crew (Paul Covert, Burke Hales and Joe Jennings) peer intently at their control station with its four computer screens. This is a very complex system that has provided lots of headaches. However, it is capable of providing such detailed pictures of the chemical cycling in the patch that it is a core piece of our study.

Things are progressing in the experimental patch. The variable fluorescence has increased significantly, although at a much slower rate than in the North Patch.It really took three full days to see the increase. We havent quantified any chlorophyll values yet, the analyses take one day. but the filters from this morning were covered with diatoms. We should see more changes over the next week.

Steve Fitzwater

Eric Drake

OK, were starting an Ernest Shackleton lookalike contest (if you dont know who Shackleton was, get to a library and find any book on him). I first became a fan of Shackleton in grade school when I read Shackletons Valiant Voyage: a story of one of the greatest small boat voyages ever.Got it from the Weekly Reader Club. Having now experienced the seas down here, I appreciate his accomplishments even more.

The first two contestants: Steve Fitzwater and Eric Drake (below). Well have more contestants, including yours truly over the next few days. Well, thats all for now, I have to go help deploy the outside sediment trap (PIT = Particle Interceptor Trap). So long, Ken J.

The crew watching the mighty SeaSoar...


R/V Melville:
Position: 61 degrees, 40 minutes South, 170 degrees, 46 minutes West

iceberg.jpg (24120 bytes)

Kenneth Coale writes: In many ways, research cruises are unique experiments in humanity providing an opportunity to observe a bunch of otherwise unrelated people under extreme physical and environmental conditions where they have to live, work, eat, sleep, recreate, and work some more, in all kinds of circumstances and far from their families. We tend to learn more about each other in a few weeks than our co-workers on shore know about us after years of working together.Two of the Melville scientific party are exceptions to this, not because they are antisocial, but because Michael and William Hiscock have known each other since birth.

I first came to know Mike Hiscock as a participant on the US JGOFS Southern Ocean Program, AESOPS, where he was a student for Dr. Dick Barber and responsible for the construction and performance of the deckboard incubators for measuring primary production on board the icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. In fact I spent many hours underneath these incubators on the helicopter deck of the Palmer, in a soaking wet mustang suit, trying to thaw these incubators with hot water hoses in -40 degree C weather.

I didnt know Mike had a brother until I saw Dr. Frank Millero at a conference in Santa Fe New Mexico and he mentioned to me that Mikes little brother was going to come work with him. I said 'No way!'He said "Yea, Mikes got a little brother, wants to be a chemical oceanographer! Can you believe it?"It was another coincidence that both giants of oceanography (Chemist, Frank Millero of University of Miami and Biologist, Dick Barber of Duke University) were aboard the R/V Iselin during the first iron enrichment experiment in equatorial waters in 1993 and now both brothers are aboard Melville for this landmark enrichment experiment in the Southern Ocean, Bill as a chemist measuring underway nutrients and carbon system parameters and Mike as a biologist, measuring primary production and still messing with incubators.Hey, wait a minute. Why is it that the PIs go to the tropics while the graduate students go to the Southern Ocean?

It wasnt the Southern Ocean but the Arabian Sea that perked Mikes first interest in oceanography. As an undergraduate at Duke, Mikes interest in marine science was noticed by Dick Barber andDick offered him an internship aboard the R/V Thompson for the JGOFS Arabian Sea program. Next thing Mike knew, he was flying to Oman. Quite an experience for one who had not really left the country. The experience stuck and Mike took a job as Dicks technician, spearheading the primary production measurements as part of the JGOFS AESOPS study. This data now constitutes much of his PhD work at Duke.

Bill, on the other hand, was an undergraduate at Colby College, was going crazy from down east seclusion and ready to spring for a biology program in South America when his brother suggested that he come to Duke for a summer. One taste of marine science and he was hooked and his contacts from Colby steered him in the direction of Miami. A single letter of reference and one e-mail later, Bill was in Miami. Now in his fourth year as a PhD student, it is a matter of speculation, who will finish first. Any bets?

bridge watch.jpg (43021 bytes)
View from the bridge as they watch the horizon and the radar screen for those icebergs that just seem to keep popping into view!

Jodi Brewster writes: Time for another update. We are on our way south now and we're presently around 65 degrees South, 170 degrees W. We've had a few days to rest and catch up with our filtering and measurements. People are starting to post their results on the board from the first patch. Things look good, even though we did have a little trouble finding the Northern patch. A few things were abandoned so that we could head south to the second iron patch before it floated away.

Many people are watching movies at night. We had a small birthday party for our chief scientist last night. So far we've had three birthday cakes on board for the scientists. We are supposed to hit the southern patch tonight around 5pm. The Revelle has been keeping tabs on it until we get there to start doing our in/out stations. Then it will be a crazy 10 days of going in the patch one day to sample, and out of the patch the next to sample. We typicallyhave three CTD casts and three TM Rosette casts a day, large GoFlo casts over the side of the ship using a messenger system to trip the bottles, plankton tows, floating traps, and thorium pumps. We have lots to do during the day at each station. It is funny how people act when the CTD comes on board. We take our turns getting the water; there is a strict protocol on who goes first. The TM Rosette, on the other hand, is a free-for-all. Everyone scurries around the rosette with bottles in hand to get their water. They look like they are milking a cow; all you see are people bent over at the spouts.

We've seen a few icebergs and this morning the captain saw humpback whales. The temperature is now very cold. I'd say winter Ohio weather. We wear life vests all of the time while we are outside since the water is still a bit rough. Water temperature has been 3 degrees Celsius, brrr. Some of the doors on the Melville leak badly into the science lab when we get big waves washing over the railings. We've had two fire drills now. We have to grab life vests and our survival suit and bring it up to the science lab. Then we have an abandon ship drill, but only have to muster in the mess hall (usually we'd muster outside). Then we have some sort of meeting with the chief mate. Yesterday's talk was about using fire extinguishers and how to put out fires. I need to go prepare for our first station tomorrow. Talk to you again next week.Go Rams!

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