Nov 11 - Bird Island Science
Noon Position - Lat: 54° 15.6' S Long: 038° 20.5' W
Location - Scotia Sea Heading for the South Orkneys and Signy
Total Distance Travelled: 7812.0 Nm from Immingham, UK
Air Temp: -1.3°C
Sea Temp: 1.9°C
Bird Island and Science.
When we left you last week we had just started the relief of the Bird Island Research Station. Unfortunately after a good start on the Sunday the wind picked up, meaning that we spent Monday at anchor awaiting some improvement in the weather. The forecast for Tuesday seemed to bode well, so it was an early start for all to ensure the job was completed. In the end we made good time which allowed the shore workers the reward of a trip to see the wildlife a little further afield than that just around the base.
The Bird Island is separated from the main island of South Georgia by a stretch of water known as Bird Sound. Normally the ship would sail to the southern end of Bird Sound and anchor just off the base, but not this year. Luckily it was a light cargo year for the base and so required fewer tender journeys, so it was practical to operate from the more sheltered northern waters. This did have the added bonus for those on the boat of seeing some different views of the island. One such image being the Macaroni Penguin colony pictured below - yes all those specs on the enlarged image really are penguins.
To summarise the rest of the afternoon I'll make no apologises for just enclosing a few pictures from around the base.
Science - The Western Core Box.
Bird Island complete we headed back to sea and the infamous Western Core Box krill survey. It is only infamous because of some of the weather we have experienced whilst doing this experiment in the past; you could say it has been a little bumpy. However, this time as if to prove us wrong it was like a mill pond. Leading to the inevitable comments questioning if we were actually in the right bit of the ocean.
For our newer readers the core box is a acoustic survey using echo sounders mounted in the bottom of the ship and looks at an area of the ocean situated at the north western end of South Georgia. The aim is to ascertain the amount of krill living in that area at differing times of the year. To this end the survey is carried out three times a season, so we shall do it again just before Christmas and then the other crew will do the last survey before the ship heads back to the UK in April. If you'd like to read a bit more about the subject please click here to read a previous explanation.
Once the core box was completed we are heading south once again, this time for the South Orkney Islands to open the summer only base on Signy Island, but more of that next week. First we have to exercise our brains this evening at the quiz evening organised by Jim Ditchfield our 3rd Engineer.