Icy Inverts 2004
Daily Journal of the R/V Laurence M. Gould
Dec. 4, 2004 --- Position  Lat/Long: S062° 06.323 W058° 23.427
[Air Temp:-1.7C / Wind: 22-24kn / Wind Chill: -19.3C /Water Temp: -1.0C / Depth: 740 meters]
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Watches have been a little off kilter for the past 2 days. We’re in very deep water, so no benthic tows.

November 2004
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December 2004
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 The plankton tows have been farther between, and we’ve collected some interesting larvae, but all in all, it’s been rather low key. That is, until we made our way into Admiralty Bay…Admiralty Bay is a long harbor halfway along the south side of King George Island. When we were entering the bay, Crock (one of the chefs) came into the lab to alert us to a “scenic vista”, and what a feast to the senses it was!! The snow-covered black rock mountains totally surrounding the calm waters and eating up half the sky were a sight to behold. Because of the low, bright sun and large cloud breaks, the sunlight shone on those snowfields in ever-changing shades of black and white, with occasional blue from the sky’s reflection. You never knew there was so much personality to the shades of black and white, nor how beautiful they can be until left to the hand of Nature!!

We were cruising the bay seeking out water shallow enough to do a bottom reading (mud sample). Lucky for those of us not depending on the research that it was mostly a very deep harbor, because it gave us a good long time to drink in the views. We were walking the decks taking pictures of the same views over and over again, because they kept changing with the changing light. A shy minke whale circled us a couple of times, then disappeared for the duration (I missed it, no photos), and a flock of about 60 Cape petrels "buzzed" us in synchronized swoops the whole time we were there. The only thing better would have been to turn off all engines and blowers, and have complete silence (but then I probably would have burst out crying). Anyway, there are several (4 or 5) international outposts along the waterfront in the bay, but you practically had to have them pointed out to you, they were so small in contrast to the whole vista. (Does anyone know the purpose of those outposts? Science? Military? Quite a remote existence I imagine, except for those “mixers” on Saturday nights!)

The views here are so vast and large and ...unencumbered by human or technological interference. Pristine is hardly the word, because it looks rough and forbidding. Being the one looking at the whole picture is, I'm sure, much better than to be standing in the middle of it. But I can just ever-so-barely imagine what the lure of exploration might be for those equipped (or not) to do it.

Catch of the Day: Grab from the bottom of Admiralty Bay yielded brittle stars and scale worms on mud and volcanic gravel. The real show was up above today.




We are moving along the South Shetlands, back in the schedule of plankton tows, and benthic tows as depth allows. The icebergs continue to catch our eye, and most of the ice we’re seeing now is coming from the Weddell Sea. We are especially awed by those bergs about the size of Fenway Park. The Green Monster has nothing on these babies!

Dinner Menu (shipboard, 12/4):