Archive for the 'AMT21' Category
So it’s Tuesday morning in Southern Chile, the sun is up, it’s cool and the shower at the hotel is freezing! But today the time has finally come to head home. Our flight is scheduled to leave Punta Arenas at 11.15 this morning and heading back first via Santiago and then Madrid, we will be back on British soil tomorrow afternoon at 16.30. I am really not looking forward to the flight as I seem to have an inability to sleep in the air; with the time difference it’s going to take 32 hours from the tarmac in Chile to the runway at Heathrow. However I am really ready to get back now, to quickly slip back into the regular routine of daily life and to soak up the unnaturally early Christmas spirit that seems to sweep the British Isles around early October every year!
Posted by: Rob Ellis on Tuesday, 15th Nov, 2011
So departing the ship at 9.30pm doesn’t really give you all that much time to explore a place properly and see what it is really like. But after being confined on board for over 6 weeks this didn’t stop anyone from getting off and having a little explore. The port is right in the centre of Punta Arenas so within 10 minutes you can be walking around the central square and taking in the local sights.
Posted by: Rob Ellis on Monday, 14th Nov, 2011
As we entered the Straits of Magellan yesterday morning the promise of dry land was a welcoming thought. And for a good part of the day it seemed likely that just after lunch we would dock and depart for our first foray into South America. I say seemed, because as we progressed through the straits, along the approximately 80 mile journey from the pilot pickup to the port, the weather conspired against us. To dock apparently the wind needed to be below 40 knots. Leaving the pilot station this seemed easy, the sun was up and it was a calm morning, if a little chilly.
Posted by: Rob Ellis on Sunday, 13th Nov, 2011
There has been a very distinct change in mood on board these past two days, science has finished, cruise report writing and packing is well underway and land has been getting tantalisingly close. We haven’t seen land since departing the Bristol Channel back on the evening of the 29th September, the last fleeting glimpse of terra firma was Lundy Island just off the north Devon coast, which at the time presented a stunning vista for the setting sun. Accompanied by our very own cetacean procession, we left UK coastal waters, and the haven offered by land, with the departing daylight 44 days ago.
Posted by: Rob Ellis on Saturday, 12th Nov, 2011
Over the past 6 weeks we have each collected quite a lot of samples, which when processed will provide an awful lot of data. But what happens with all this data once it is processed? Obviously we will each have first access to our own data to do what we want with it, be it publish it in an article or present at scientific meetings. But the nature of the cruise means everyone’s data is in some way related, which when compared can provide a much bigger picture of biological, chemical and physical ocean processes. So just sitting on your own data and hiding it away would be a real waste, if you were to do this you may miss some patterns that would become apparent if you were to compare each other’s results. Whilst crucial to get the most out of the cruise, comparing data isn’t as simple as just emailing everyone your results; it takes some real co-ordination and organisation. Because of this we have had our very own data manager assigned to AMT21. Therefore I introduce Rob Thomas, he is our data manager on board, and is going to explain a little about his role.
Posted by: Rob Ellis on Friday, 11th Nov, 2011
So we have finished all science on board Discovery. All the samples have been analysed or stored and the scientific objectives for AMT21 have been achieved, but we are not due into Punta Arenas until Saturday evening at the very earliest, and it’s more likely to be Sunday. So with 4 days at sea with no science to fill you day what do you do?
Posted by: Rob Ellis on Thursday, 10th Nov, 2011
Yesterday morning the CTD arrived on deck, but this time with a few added extras. I know water is regulated on Discovery and therefore we should hold back on washing until we have a full load, yet it is really coming to something when the scientists feel it is necessary to wash their socks by sending them down to the depths. Unsurprisingly this isn’t a daily activity, the phenomenon of laundry adorning the rig only seems to occur when we are sampling down to 1,000 m! Quite peculiar.
Posted by: Rob Ellis on Wednesday, 9th Nov, 2011
Being at sea can be especially frustrating, there are no local hardware shops to pop to, or technicians you can call out to fix your equipment, it’s all down to you. I’m really lucky, my sampling rig is about as simple as it gets, any problems are easy to fix and each day there is a lot of time when the rig isn’t being used if I needed to fix a problem. However as part of the AMT program there are a number of measures that are continuous, and far more technical, than anything I have to do. Therefore to explain about the constant struggle an underway system presents, I introduce Laura Lubelczyk from the Bigelow laboratory in Maine, in the United States.
Posted by: Rob Ellis on Tuesday, 8th Nov, 2011
Getting a spot on AMT isn’t as easy as just turning up in Avonmouth with a suitcase, some scientific equipment and an empty diary for 7 weeks. However, there are a number of different routes on board. For many people on Discovery the research they are undertaking forms a significant part of their core research, either as oceanography academics or PhD students. For others, like me, the berth was gained because the program has core measures that needed taking, and effectively I am acting as a technician to collect those samples without the worry of having to analyze the data at the end! Additionally, over the past few years there has been an extra berth reserved for a visiting fellow. This fellowship is awarded by the Partnership for the Observation of the Global Ocean, or POGO.
Posted by: Rob Ellis on Monday, 7th Nov, 2011
Yesterday morning normal order was resumed. The winds dropped, the sea
became far calmer and we were able to sample again. Our avian escort
also departed, I hope it’s not that they know something we don’t!
Now I never thought I would say this but I was really relieved to be
working, that even sounds a bit crazy when I read it back! But I can only
speak for myself as a British male on board Discovery, I’m not too sure
what life is like at sea for anyone else, especially a Spanish lady.
Therefore today’s guest bloggers are Elena García-Martin and Maria
Aranguren-Gassis from the University of Vigo in Northern Spain, and they
are going to explain what life on board is like for ladies from Spain.
Posted by: Rob Ellis on Sunday, 6th Nov, 2011