Sunday, February 12, 2017

Marie Byrd land coast

February 10

We came close to the Antarctic coast yet again during ACE. It was not necessary planed, but in cruises like this one needs to rely on the weather and sea ice conditions. We were en route to Peter the 1st island, but we learned that it is surrounded with heavy sea ice and we might not be able to get there or will have to lose valuable time getting through the ice.
Mary Byrd Land coast on the other hand was miraculously free of sea ice and the weather was nice. So we decided to do our “island” field work and ice coring on the Siple island. The Russian marine guidebook (лоция) had very limited information about the coast, suggesting that most vessels passing by encountered heavy ice conditions and never came close to the land. We were lucky.

Coming closer to the coast we encountered many beautiful icebergs.
I couldn't stop taking pictures, it was beautiful in all directions. I even felt like a tourist and asked a friend to snap a picture of me
 We also saw quite a few penguins swimming and hanging out on the ice
a few seals and some whales. I was less lucky with spotting whales, but this is just my curse this cruise, I always miss them.

Since we were in uncharted territories our helicopters went off flying and exploring the coast, while a few of us went on Zodiacs to explore nearby icebergs and see the penguins up close. What a great adventure!

Overnight we deployed ROPOS for another dive, but unfortunately this was a short dive, since the ship couldn’t be stable for a long time. Hopefully we will have more dives and get more things collected from the bottom of the ocean.

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