Sunday, January 8, 2017

Passing by Heard island

January 8

Today we got to yet another island Australian Heard Island of the McDonald Archipelago. However, we did not go ashore since we did not get the required permits from the Australian authority. So we steamed by Heard Island around 6-7 AM ship time. Jenny woke me up to see the island, otherwise I probably would have overslept.
The highest point of Heard Island is almost 3 km high, so there are glaciers forming up top and sliding all the way down to the sea level. A very unusual scene, we haven't seen glaciers from the ship so far:

I have to say this is my first cruise where we see land so often. Granted these are mostly small subantarctic islands, but nevertheless - excitement. All my previous Arctic cruisers provided a very different scenery - grey polar ocean, low cloud cover, maybe some ice every once in a while. Each day was just like the previous one, occasionally we saw some polar bears, walruses and seals
This Antarctic/subAntarctic cruise is rather scenic in comparison.

Yesterday we learned that there has been a lot of recent volcanic activity near Heard Island and that the new ocean floor has not been properly mapped yet. Hence, we did not go close to the island, just steamed by it, collecting some plankton and benthic specimens on the way. We have a big oceanographic day planned for tomorrow, with a deep CTD cast as soon as we get to deep waters. So I better go to sleep now.
I also need to tend to my atmospheric sensors tomorrow as one did not seem to record data and today I couldn't quite figure out why.
Wish me/us luck!


  1. Hi Masha.
    I am a molecular biologist with side mineral photography project of coastal sand. Much easier to collect and handle then large rocks. In addition to the standard photos and micrographs a few samples have had SEM images taken. Currently converting a old Beckman spectrophotometer to measure reflected light off the samples. I have several questions to ask you. Please feel free to contact me. Enjoy living the dream. Mark

    1. Hi, Mark.
      Sorry I did not have proper internet access during the cruise and sort of never checked back messages. What did you want to ask me?