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

Skip to Log Entry from the R/V Melville
January 30, 2002: Day 26

R/V Revelle:
Ship: -66 25.9728, -172 7.9248
So. Patch In Drifter: -66 23.2782, -171 53.8428
So. Patch Out Drifter: -66 36.108, -171 46.8828

R/V Revelle Log Entry: Hi. We finished our ironing at 14:30 local this afternoon. Its kind of a nasty day, although the wind seems to be moderating now. Barometric pressure dropped rapidly, but it has bottomed out at about 963 mbar. Its a little weird on a ship - no one knows what day it is, but almost everyone knows what the barometer is doing: going up, going down, holding:"Hi, hows it going?"- "Great, the barometer is 990 and steady."

Were all linked up with MELVILLE now. We have a wireless Local Area Network going so you can move files back and forth between the ships by just dragging and dropping files on the desktop.Pretty amazing. So what did I get: a picture for the daily update: heres the view of REVELLE from over there.

My cabin is up top, just under the bridge: 'shaken, but not stirred.'All the way up top is the antenna farm. The ship has plenty, but weve augmented theirs with our own ship-to-ship VHF so we can talk right to the MELVILLElab, an antenna for our FreeWave LAN, and an antenna for our packet radio that transfers data from the drifting buoys.

Things are really starting to go in the patch. We can find it now with the fluorometer on the flow through system.This measures fluorescence from chlorophyll in phytoplankton, thats light absorbed by the phytoplankton and then re-emitted because they cant use all of the solar energy. More phytoplankton = more fluorescence. Thats just what were seeing. Each time we go across the patch, theres more fluorescence because there are now a lot more phytoplankton. Hmmm, maybe this iron thing works after all.Time for e-mail to go out.
- Ken J.

Latest contestant in the Shackleton lookalike contest:Dick Barber out cleaning snow off the incubators.


R/V Melville:
Position: 66 degrees, 20 minutes South, 171 degrees, 57 minutes West

Melville in typical Melville weather, South of the Antarctic Circle.

R/V Melville Log Entry: On our way South to join Revelle yesterday afternoon, we hove to for about 10 minutes to repair a radio antenna used to communicate between the ships labs. Only a couple hours later, I heard Ken Johnsons voice crackle over channel 8. It was nice to hear a familiar voice so far from home. Revelle has been working this site now for a few days and could direct us right to a station in the middle of the Southern Patch. This was quite a bit easier that hound dogging our own way using discrete and continuous underway measurements. We fired up our freewave antenna and Eric from Revelle transferred positional data as well as a recent plot of chlorophyll at this station. So, it seems we have a working network between the vessels and can now send large files back and forth between ships, for free. This is an operational first and I am sending all my log entries because they dont seem to be getting through by conventional means.

The value of a two ship operation is really being felt by both groups. The program requires both high resolution mapping and intensive water column sampling, mutually incompatible activities on one vessel.Already Revelle plots have saved Melville days of ship time and the Melville station plan allows Revelle to focus on other time intensive activities. For instance, today we got a radio call from Craig Hunter aboard Revelle. He said the inside patch sediment trap was drifting out to the south and that they would not be able to pick it up for a few days. This would confound the results of these measurements by combining sinking particles from the enriched patch with sinking particles from un-enriched waters. In addition, their outside drifter buoy has been out of range for a few days. Melville responded on her way to an outside station, recovered the sediment trap and will monitor for the drifter buoys transmissions. On another level, both crews and scientific parties feel some comfort in having a friend in these remote and sometimes hostile waters.

It is the coldest we have seen it yet on this trip and we have broken into the mustang suits (big jump suits that serve as insulation as well as floatation). If you go skiing, mustang suits are the things that the chain monkeys wear, you know, the guys who put your chains on for $15. Well we look like a bunch of chain monkeys, and we are pretty cozy, except for our noses and hands. My last log indicated 15 icebergs on the radar, I should have said over 50 (count em in the radar image I sent yesterday). The night before, Bob Bidigare had wished for snow.You better be careful what you wish for. The next morning, snow covered the decks and it snowed in blizzards through the day.

Spectacular scenery: waves, snow, icebergs, birds, chain monkeys in orange suits, and after another TM Rosette, pit crew overhaul, a fourth computer, a replaced fuse in the deckbox, new sensors on the meter wheel and a replacement set of leads the equipment is working almost flawlessly. I understand the weather in California is similar.

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