Icy Inverts 2004
Daily Journal of the R/V Laurence M. Gould
Nov. 28, 2004 --- Position  Lat/Long: S054° 36.924 W061° 07.111
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Wind ~8knots,
Air Temp 7° C,
Depth 274meters

The weather is a bit cooler and rainy today, but not terribly rough. Tows are being dropped according to schedule, and today we start shooting off XBT’s. More on that later.

November 2004
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December 2004
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 We’re heading west again, and will turn south when we’re just below Staten Island (Isla de los Estados). We are in Argentine waters, and so the flag of Argentina is highest on our mainmast. (Do you know whose flag flies highest when we get close to Antarctica?)

Ship’s Personnel: Jamie is one of the Marine Technician’s (MT’s) on LMG, and an able young woman she is! Jamie is most evident on the main deck when equipment is being deployed over the side on the big mechanical rig called the “A-frame”. MT’s wear walkie-talkies on their shoulders, and talk to the Bridge (person at the helm of the ship) to keep them informed of details of the equipment positioning process. Jamie was once a commercial fisherman in Alaska, but interestingly enough, she is from Nebraska (I think she just like places that end in “a”?). So you can see, Jamie has come a long way to be crew on a ship to Antarctica practically from one pole of the world to the other.

When Jamie communicates with the person running the hydraulics (the lifting and lowering rig or A-frame) from a small control room in the starboard mid-ship area, she uses hand signals rather than saying, “A little up, a little down, now to the right,…”. Here are a few of those signals: 1) Make a soft fist and point your pointer finger up. Now make little circles with your finger. Voila!! You’ve just told the person at the Controls to bring the wire up (it rolls onto a giant spool). Point down and do the same thing, and the wire goes down; 2) Now keep the fist, knuckles up, and then hold up your thumb and pointer finger and put them apart and together like little pinchers, and you’ve said, “up slowly, a little at a time”. You can figure, then, how to say “down slowly”; 3) Make a fist, hold it up about head-height and move it in and out and stop sharply - that means “Stop!”; 4) Last lesson: Hold your hand open, fingers pointing up and palm forward, about head-height and without turning your wrist, ‘wave’ sideways. If you emphasize the direction away from you, you’ve told the Control Room to move the A-frame out over the water. If you do the reverse, the A-frame comes in. Now Jamie has to watch out for her job, because you know what she knows! Anyway, I’m very impressed with this woman and the responsibility her job holds.

The Catch of the Day goes to the Salps Lab group. On their dive today, a beautiful pteropod was captured in one of their dive jars, “eye candy” for all to see. A pteropod is a type of shell-less, "winged" snail that lives in the water column (a free floatin’ dude, neither at the top nor at the bottom of the ocean). This particular one was about an inch in diameter, and of the warmest, most velvety maroon (or a fine Chilean merlot) color! [See Image 2 - Brown Pteropod] Its “wings” move in tiny, rhythmic S-curves to propel it through the water as it feeds and mingles with the rest of the column community.

We are mostly doing plankton tows now, on a regular schedule of every 4 hours. Our main assignment is to find certain larvae amidst the masses of copepods. There are snails and clams and barnacles that to the naked eye are just specks in the water. Our great challenge is to find and catch the “oddball” treasures in the magnified fluid as it sloshes in and out of the microscope’s lens range. Oh yeah. It’s fun for me to see tiny, not-quite-microscopic squid larvae.

As small as they are, they are still quite recognizable with their large eyes, yet short baby tentacles with the “suckers” already formed on them. Quite sweet, these guys. (Bring me a cracker!)
Dinner Menu (shipboard, 11/28):

Sweet and sour pork,
Chicken Cordon Bleu,