Sunday, May 1, 2011

Southern Ocean - Solander Voyage

I just got back from 3 weeks at sea on the RV Tangaroa. We went down to the Southern Ocean, south of New Zealand. Although I have been on several voyages before this one was slightly different as I was in charge!!! There were 16 crew and 17 scientists (including 6 students). It was steep learning curve being the voyage leader, but I was very lucky to have such a great team (crew and scientists) that was very supportive of me and advised and helped me throughout the trip.

Loading up the Tangaroa in Wellington.

RV Tangaroa with a fresh coat of paint

We saw lots of wildlife down in the subantarctic - whales, dolphins, seals, squid, lots and lots of birds!

Southern right whale

Dolphins playing in the wave at the bow

Mollymawk flying in front of Solander Island

In three weeks we were really lucky with the weather with just two storms. The first storm we experienced a week in to the voyage, which stopped us from deploying most of our gear over the side, but we continued mapping. The second much larger storm happened two weeks in to the trip - on Easter day, was much too large to do anything with 80 knot winds and 10 m swells that occasionally broke over the bow and bridge of the ship.

Big storm on Easter day

Knitting and chatting with the bosun Pete during the storm - first and only day off in 3 weeks!

So it wasn't all work... although we did a lot of that and got a lot of samples that I will spend the next 5 years or so working on. When we weren't on shift we sometimes play cards, watch movies, go to the gym, read books, write e-mails, practise the ukelele, do some other work....

The daily card game...

The Tangaroa ukelele orchestra playing a few tunes at the end of voyage party

And we got some great sunrises and sunsets.

Waiting for the green flash at sunset

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