Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A big splash and a long wait - by isa R.

A good roll.

Still waiting for the weather to get better. We got caught off guard by some nice big rolls (20 degrees), which made people, chairs, food, cups.. everything flying. Fortunately, no injuries!

Cold and angry.
While we wait, we go to the bridge, and we witness the majestic power of this ocean: the bow dips in the waves every now and then, the sun touches the tip of some breaking waves, the surface of the ocean is painted in gold here and there, and the turquoise blue of the breaking waves add some intense beauty to what is already difficult to describe. A dark and snowy storm rushes above us, but only for a moment. Like a ghost, or a breath. Just enough time for our breath to stop, and feel the chill in our bones. Then another one comes, this time gentle through the sun rays, bringing large snowflakes that run toward the window.

It's poetry, it's nature at its crude power.

Andrew C., me and Dani

The weather is slowly getting better, but there are still some really big rolls, as the swells push us to the sides.

Still waiting.

This waiting is frustrating for all of us, we're eager to start working again.. The time's falling through our hands.

I spent a good portion of my morning at the bridge, today. I love coming here. The perspective of the outside world that you get from the bridge is pretty unique. Staying balanced is way harder on this top space than it is on the lower decks, and I find it pretty entertaining. I spent these hours chatting with Captain Eric, third mate Todd, ABs Pam & Jeremy. We evaluated the swells. We shared stories and pictures and great laughs.

And I learnt about the beautiful Matanuska glacier in Alaska, where you can walk on it and its perfect transparency and pureness makes it the perfect companion for a delicious glass of whiskey; not only do I want to go to Alaska now.. but I wouldn't mind a good glass of Japanese whiskey either..
    And I learnt about all (ok, maybe not all) of the screens that monitor the propellers, bow thruster, generators and tanks on the ship
    And I learnt about this confused sea which shoots swells at us from any corner.  The constant swells have prevented us from doing any CTD stations, yet.

(left) Todd, me, Jeremy and Pam. (right) Dani, Jess, Max and Mike.

I imagine the drifters we sent flying into the sea getting dragged off in all directions by these erratic surface currents. One of them is our second special one, adopted by the Doral Academy of Colorado. Drifter #300234066338770 was deployed at 60S, 30E on April 22.  A fun deployment, in much calmer conditions. But in these part of the world, the quiet moments don't last long.

Dani and Max deploying the drifter (ph. by Andrew C.)

The drifter is in the water!! SPLASH! (ph. by Andrew C.)

May King Neptune bless their voyage across these satanic waters! (cit. Max K.)

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Candyman Mystery - by Chelsi L.

The candyman has yet to be revealed.

The story begins on a dark night in the Southern Ocean. Life at sea has many perks, one of which is the abundance of delicious sweet treats. Everything from candy bars, cookies, pies, cakes, you name it, is available 24/7. Given my tendency to have a sweet tooth, I committed to a dessert-free diet for the duration of the cruise. Some of my wonderful shipmates had decided to join me in solidarity, and we therefore began the no-sugar challenge.

However, one sailor was secretly against this pact. Roughly 24 hours after our declaration, I began finding sweet treats hidden around my lab space. There were m&m packets and sodas in my coat pockets, in my glove-liners, and even in my boots. Apparently, war was declared.

Several days go by after the candy began appearing, with no sign of further retaliation. I resisted the candies with all my will-power, and taped the evidence to the white-board, declaring my refusal to give in to the candyman's game. Of course, someone began eating the treats from the board, thankfully removing them from my sight.
One cold morning, I noticed a note on the whiteboard, asking me to check my email. I found a message from science member 29, with a delightful riddle.

"If you think you know the culprit,
to conclusions you are leaping.
Pay close attention to,
who is awake and who is sleeping

The gifts shall continue,
there's sugar aplenty.
You'll find the next surprise,
behind boxes whose sum is 20.


Of course, I looked behind my sample boxes, finding candy behind boxes 9 and 10. That is 19. Maybe I am missing something, or the candyman miscalculated. Yes, I checked box 1. There was nothing there.
I was confident the candyman revealed his identity. A list of our names next to our science number was in the lab, but not to my surprise, the candyman covered his tracks. The name on science number 9 was blacked out.
So I recruited Croy, the science technician who handles our internet connection. He agreed to temporarily block Sci9 from the internet, to see who would come to him to troubleshoot. I knew I had him backed into a corner. I responded to his poem.

"Hello candyman.
 Your reign is about to end.
Consider yourself, unwrapped.


(My ship nickname is Cheryl)

Their response?

"My reign is never-ending
My power only grows
These emails I'll keep sending
Who am I? No one knows.

I lurk in the shadows,
Ive covered my tracks.
Let's PROPEL this charade,
to it's sugary MAX.

Croy cannot help you,
my line can't be tapped.
Soon you will find,
it is YOU who will be unwrapped!


Time passed and no one came to complain about their interweb connections. Candyman was always two steps ahead of me. Of course, I found a chocolate bar in my PROPEL electrolyte box. And I was beginning to question MAX, a watchstander. Though I knew the Candyman would not reveal themselves so easily.
Upon further inspection of the science list, by flashlight, the crossed out name was of a person who helped load the ship but is not sailing with us. Interesting. Again, the candyman was covering his/her tracks. I was beginning to lose hope.

Days passed, and I had no new evidence. I was beginning to think the whole team was conspiring against me. I watched my back, trusting no one.

Today, the candyman appeared once again. I left an empty cup in the computer lab and left the lab temporarily. Upon my return 5 minutes later, Candyman had filled my cup with m&ms. Good move, I was impressed. But it must be someone who was awake and nearby, watching my every move.

However, I received new information today. The only thing I can say is, I found you Candyman, you can hide from me but you cannot hide your IP address. I'm coming for you, when you least expect it.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Patriot is in the water! - by isa R.

Patriot before its deployment (ph. by Mike Kovatch)

On April 18, at 23:39 UTC Patriot, the float adopted by the Kings Mountain Middle School of North Carolina, has started its journey in the cooooold waters (-0.6 C or 30.92 F at the sea surface) of the Southern Ocean, at 65.5 degrees South, 30 degrees East!

A very smooth deployment (ph. by Mike K.)

Patriot is part of the fleet of floats that the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project (or SOCCOM for short) is deploying in the Southern Ocean, an incredibly rough and extremely difficult place to visit and study (especially in cold months, when storms are more frequent and sea ice is at its maximum). Being deployed so far south, Patriot will likely "disappear" under sea ice at some point in winter. But no panic! These floats are equipped with a software that allows them to just keep drifting and profiling the water column every 10 days, and will then resurface once the sea ice disappears from their trajectory. And at that moment, they will send all of the data that they had collected since they went under ice.

In the water the float goes! (ph. by Mike K.)

Let's the art begin!

My students and I had a lot of fun decorating the float with the school logo. I love working with them, seeing their care, curiosity, and engagement with every task I propose, even the ones that might look more boring (like writing labels).

We are a team, and in an environment like this one, team work is one of the most important things: "Team work doesn't seem work" (marine tech on the R/V Melville). For small or big tasks, we all need to do our part to make this micro society a functional, safe, happy and healthy environment. Like when during the CTD cast, someone shouts "Push-up!" and we all gather together on the floor to give our best (well, all of us except the CTD driver and the lazy ones ;-) ).

Every day activity at the computer lab. Models are the M&M&M (Max, Mike and Manuel)

To follow Patriot's journey, use the ID #12878 on the SOCCOM website, at www.mbari.org/science/upper-ocean-systems/chemical-sensor-group/soccomviz

Update of February 26, 05:30AM: as we are hiding from a nasty storm, waiting on weather patterns for few hours (basically we just ran away somewhere safer), we have cheese parties, movies.. and some catch up with work to do.. but we keep smiling and enjoy our time living and working together on this floating house.

All from me now :-)

Hi! from Susan B., me and Andrew C.

Easter on Board - By Giuliana V.

When I go to sea, I love to read books about the intrepid explorers who came before me.  In some ways, things have changed a lot since James Clark Ross first charted the Antarctic coastline — we no longer get daily rations of grog, for example, and we're much less concerned with the prospect of scurvy — but in some ways, things have barely changed at all. It's still very cold (temperatures have been slowly creeping up as we move north but just went up above freezing), extremely isolated (we haven't seen a new face since April 3), and there still is ship-wide excitement at wildlife sightings (although we don't shoot penguins these days).

One thing that sticks out from every book I read is how those on board tried to preserve a bit of home for the holidays on board: a roast ham for Christmas, or a champagne toast on New Year's.  Last weekend, we celebrated Easter on the Thomas G. Thompson, our floating home in the Southern Ocean.  There was a lot to live up to (holidays are big in my family) but my fellow boat residents did not disappoint. 

I couldn't help but decorate my egg as a Seaglider (the ocean robots I use to do research).
On Saturday, our cooks provided us with hard-boiled eggs and various colors of dye. The creativity on display was exceptional: several egg people, lots of nautical-themed eggs, and a few sporting favorite sports team logos.  It was just like when I was a kid — except that on the ship, there is a much more real fear of your egg rolling off the table and smashing. 

Spotted in the sampling bay: one scientist and one Easter Bunny.

With the galley decked out in Easter baskets and marshmallow eggs hidden around the ship, there was a festive mood in the air on Easter morning.  We were graced with the presence of not one, not two, but three Easter bunnies hopping around the ship (full disclosure: I made two of the bunny costumes).  Zac, my rabbit-y compatriot, gamely sported his giant ears all day, even when collecting water samples.  The first rabbit scientist in Antarctica, perhaps?

Well after his shift ends, Max is still hard at work — decorating Easter eggs! 

In the afternoon, we were even sent a sign of spring: a "fogbow" arcing across the stern of the ship.  As we basked in the relatively mild weather, one of our technicians, Mark, spotted a small bird diving under the water.  After doing a triple-take, we realized that there was a pair of chinstrap penguins swimming around the boat.  We immediately raised the alarm on board — finally, 1200 kilometers from the Antarctic continent, we had seen our first penguin of the voyage!  It was an unconventional Easter, to be sure, but a great one nonetheless.

Scientists crowd the side of the ship hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive chinstrap penguin (ph. by Patrick Mears).

Monday, April 22, 2019

A tale of pancake ice, furious seas.. and a drifter - by Isa R.

"Below 40 degrees south there is no law and below 50 degrees south there is no God"
- anonymous sailor.

Until now, we have sailed in defiance of this idiom of the Southern Ocean, blessed by remarkably calm weather as we made our way to Antarctica. But now the ferocious brutality of the Southern Ocean has finally arrived; and I love it!!

The Screaming Sixties, strong westerly winds blowing south of 60 degrees S, have made a crashing entrance today. Initially standing-by because of winds up to 45 knots, we managed to deploy the CTD rosette in the water during a briefly calm window. We can hear the winds roaring outside now at 30 knots, while our CTD rosette fights against the swell of 2 m on its ascent back to the surface. Our highly skilled winch operators, marine techs, captain and mates and the students at the CTD console have been doing a remarkable job in keeping the position of the ship, deploying the rosette in this weather, driving it 5 km down to within 10 m of the sea floor, and now hauling it up to the surface.

Snow petrel on pancake ice.
In the past days, blessed by an almost flat ocean, we kept a very fast pace, and completed 24 stations. The start of our I06S line occurred in one of the most incredible places I've ever seen…

Slowly approaching our first station, the first lights of dawn revealed a stretch of grease ice, which turned into pancake ice. I felt like an intruder in that silent space of Antarctic life and was incredibly grateful to be able to witness it!

CTD rosette deployment during the first I06S station.

Giuliana, me and Loicka with the Troyeshchyna Gymnasium's drifter (ph. by Jackson)
Not only did we keep a remarkable pace with CTD operations, but we had an intense series of deployments as well. Today let's talk about the drifters. We have a total of 16 buoys planned for deployment on this cruise, and the first one (#300234066615940) was deployed at 66 deg S, 30 deg E. A drifter is an instrument that measures sea surface temperature (and sometimes other parameters such as barometric pressure, salinity, wave height, wave speed and direction) and records its location. The data are transmitted to a satellite, using an antenna on the surface float. At the bottom of it there is a drogue (a long cylindrical tail), which allows the buoy to be pulled by ocean currents beneath the surface, rather than just pushed down by winds from above. Data are commonly used to map surface currents, sea surface temperature… and, importantly, in forecasts.

Off to its journey! (ph. by Jackson)
#300234066615940 is special not only because it was the first of the cruise, but also because it was "adopted" by the Troyeshchyna Gymnasium (Nataliya Byzova) in Kyiv, Ukraine, as part of the Adopt-a-drifter program!! This is very exciting, as the teacher and the students can now track the life of their instrument, in its errands around the Southern Ocean!! Looking for more information? Check the program's website to know more: https://www.adp.noaa.gov

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Smooth Seas Don’t Always Equal Smooth Sailing – by Jess P.

The UVP mounted on the rosette (ph. by Isa)
Finally sampling! The time passes so much faster with science in full swing. Or really, I should say nights as I've slowly turned into a night-walker, on shift from midnight to noon. Maybe it was the gentle rocking of the ship over the last few weeks in these unexpectedly calm seas that lulled me into complacency or maybe it was the sleep lost as I didn't want to miss the whales, icebergs, or stunning sunsets that happened outside of my shift hours…but all of a sudden everything seemed to go sideways. I run the Underwater Vision Profiler, UVP for short, which images particles and zooplankton in the water column, keeps track of their size, and stores images for identification. This information is being used to describe how carbon is cycled in the oceans, and gives a glimpse into zooplankton communities without taking the extra time needed to deploy nets and capture them.

The UVP is mounted onto the rosette frame behind the sampling bottles, with mere millimeters to spare. Usually my shift consists of plugging and unplugging cables, downloading data, and sorting images; then there's days where I find myself climbing onto (and almost into) the CTD rosette. As Murphy's Law dictates, anything that can go wrong will…and that's how I was feeling as I looked down onto my instrument, realizing cables had detached while underwater…and that the pieces specially formulated to fit the UVP on this frame were falling apart.

Checking the instrument from the top of the rosette.. while Dani makes sure that everything goes well ;-) (ph. by Isa)

Fortunately, even though the ship is isolated, you're never alone in trying to resolve issues out here. Other scientists, the marine techs, and crew members offer up extra sets of hands and their knowledge whenever possible...it's certainly not the first-time unexpected things like this have happened. Within 24 hours, and with much thanks to the ingenuity of the marine techs Joseph ad Jon, the instrument and new mounting hardware were tested and ready to deploy again. Looks like there's many more days of cable duty and image sorting ahead!

Krill – Characteristic of Antarctic waters, these crustaceans are one of the primary food sources for many whales who swim vast distances to feast upon them. Larvacean – This image shows the remnants from a larvacean 'house', which is a structure the animal builds out of mucus to filter its food out of the water column. Powered by the animal's tail waving, water is sucked into the house and pushed through the maze of mucus, allowing for particularly tasty food to be captured and engulphed. There is lots of particulate matter in the ocean the larvacean doesn't want to eat, so these houses get clogged with unwanted things after a time and are then left behind or discarded so the larvacean can build a new, clean one. Jellyfish 1 & 2 – Gelantinous zooplankton like these jellyfish often get broken up by nets, so other methods such as imaging are useful to see these creatures in their native state.

Keeping fit on a rolling ship - by Kay M.

"Activity was the key to survival on any closely packed ship, but particularly in these wild and inhospitable places, where it must have been only too easy to lose any sense of purpose"
Michael Palin

Many of us like to stay active at sea to keep healthy and in good spirits. The Thompson has a gym with a treadmill, an elliptical, a bike, and an assortment of free weights and yoga mats. I am an avid runner back on land, so I've mostly been using the treadmill. But, this isn't always easy on a moving ship!

Our first few days at sea, we had rough weather. I wasn't sea sick, but running was certainly not an option. I walked to try to get used to the rolling of the ship. Once I gained my "sea legs" and the weather calmed down, I started running.

For the first week, I had to hold on to the sides to keep my balance. The treadmill is facing the port side of the ship, so when we roll, it's basically like running a few seconds uphill, and then a few seconds downhill. Now that I've gotten used to the motion, I can run without holding on, although I still run much slower than on land. 

Upward facing dog performed by our lovely yoga teacher Jess on the back deck (ph. by Isa)
Another way we have been staying active is group yoga. One of the scientists, Jess, is a lovely yoga instructor. When it was warm, we did yoga on the back deck with the sights and sounds of the ocean. Now we have to find space inside and it's not quite as scenic. 

And sometimes we break out into dance while taking water samples. It keeps the mood light, and gets us a little bit of activity. Plus, it's always fun to find out who loves Kesha.

Kay, Loicka and Chelsi (ph. by Isa)

Monday, April 15, 2019

A glow in the sky - by Kayleen F.

It's 3 am and far more folks than usual are awake on the Thomas G. Thompson.

We're nearly at latitude 68 and there are some faint white lights dancing behind the dark clouds of snow we keep passing through. There's some doubt at first, seeing as we're far south enough that twilight is longer than usual, but some long-exposure photos with those familiar green colors put people's doubt to rest.

Aurora from the TGT (ph. by Croy Carlin)

Aurora.. and V-shaped stars ;-) (ph. by Isa R.)
People are sneaking down to their staterooms to nudge their roommates awake so nobody misses the fleeting phenomenon. There have been a couple quick sightings of those classic Aurora shapes, columns dancing in S-patterns. Hoping to see some ice floes in the morning! Everybody's thrown off their shift trying not to miss anything before we're heading north for a few weeks of open ocean again. At least the science will finally begin as we hit our stations on our transit north!

Moby Crick - by Kayleen F.

We found the cricket. 
That's right, there's a cricket on our ship and she's about to become a red-nose cricket. Has any cricket ever been this far south? Has a cricket ever crossed into the Antarctic circle? There's a lack of evidence to suggest so, so let me be the first to introduce you to the brave and bright premiere Antarctic cricket explorer: Moby Crick. Moby's a she, as determined by our scientists who have a suspect amount of training in entomology.

We've been hearing her in the CTD bay for the last week or so, and a  bounty was offered by the captain for her head. The bounty was contingent  upon our brave little explorer being crushed upon retrieval but,  thankfully, our scientists and crew value life far too much to be swayed  by a ship t-shirt.    She's now in a box, equipped with a moist sponge, a banana slice and some  lettuce (entomologists, help, our google is very slow, how do we keep this  poor lady alive??). It was a very exciting moment for all of us, as you  can see by this photo of us all huddled around Moby Crick's enclosure.

We cross into the Antarctic circle tomorrow and have to undergo a ceremony  to become Red Noses. I was assured it doesn't involve hazing in the same  breath that I was told we have to perform in animal costumes, so I'm not  really sure which of those conflicting statements is true. Stay tuned. Or  don't, actually. I'm hoping this is a Fight Club kind of deal and there  won't be pictures of me in whatever kind of costume I can muster up.   

In other news, Joseph has been confined to the refrigerator for his  salinity measurements. I maintain that he has somehow done something  worthy of being confined to a makeshift brig but he insists it's about  "temperature control", whatever that means.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Where did the storms go?! - by Isa R.

The weather has been surprisingly great. The forecasted storm patterns changed just that bit that we've been steaming in between two of them, with favorable currents. This allowed us to navigate an uneventful and fast course, so far. We even reached speeds of 13.1 kn!!! EEE-HA!!

I really enjoyed the sunrises during the first days of the transit.. with the water painted in gold and the dance of "early-bird birds" (i really don't have a better word in english, but you can learn the italian: "uccelli mattutini"), the mornings have been quite magical.

I almost don't recognize the Southern Ocean… Where's my beloved angry-looking vastness of waters? If it wasn't for all the fronts that we crossed on our way (the subtropical, subantarctic, and polar), the surface water temperature of 1.1 C and an outside air temperature of -3 C, I would think that we were in some subtropical ocean. But a look at the location on the map brings me back to reality: we are now at 59.5 S, 26.8 E, and fast approaching the Antarctic shelf, which we will reach in about 2 days.

Black-bellied storm petrel
A ping-pong tournament keep us busy after lunch (which for me is dinner, giving that I wake up at 11PM), and I made to the semi-finals, after beating Chief Alex 2-0!!! :-D I might have just won his stateroom hahaha!!
Uh!! I almost forgot: we "saw" our first iceberg! Still a bit far to see it well with naked eyes (even with my eagle-like sight) or with my 200 mm lens, since it was 17 nm away. There will be definitely more to come, and my camera and I are ready for that!
Approaching our first CTD station.. ``we are anxiously waiting for the beginning of our science!'' (cit. Jess)

Update: at 04:26 AM UTC (or 6:26 AM local time) we crossed 60 S!!!!!

Queen - A kind of magic

One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal
One golden glance of what should be
(It's a kind of magic)
One shaft of light that shows the way
No mortal man can win this day

The waiting seems eternity
The day will dawn of sanity
It's a kind of magic

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

What we do when we wait - by Isa R.

Ship in front of the coast of Cape Town

We waited for 4 days close to Cape Town for the new pump of the engine to arrive, and we are now on our way to the stormy South. Looking at the forecasts, the future looks grim.. a chain of ferocious storms awaits for us, and with them: waves up to 30 ft. But then.. that’s pretty much like any day in the Southern Ocean.. and I can’t wait for it!!

Wind map from www.windy.com (the white line from A to B is our planned track)

Waiting during these days not necessarily meant resting. We had in fact the CTD test cast, where we assessed our instrumentation, the procedure of deployment and recovery of the CTD rosette, collected some samples of waters and trained the watch stander students, who will be in charge of the CTD and will help with some water sampling as well. It’s so energizing to see so much excitement and joy in their faces, and the cure they put in what they do!!

Teaching moment led by Joseph and Jackson (SIO/ODF). From the left: Max, Kay, Giuliana, Garrett, Joseph, Jackson, Dani and Ben

I love watching these birds (Cape gannets)

Super meals on the TGT!!
I’m using this time to focus on some work of my postdoc I need to finish, knit some new projects, burns some calories at the gym (the food is 5 star quality!!! Thanks to Liz, Laurie and Niki, our super chefs, meals are superb! But it’s really hard to keep fit!! haha!), and enjoy some time outside with my shipmates.

Today we had a great yoga session outside on the back deck under the sun, led by Jessica, from the University of Alaska.

A very serious albatross

We had beautiful sunny days, with lots of wildlife passing by. Gannets, albatrosses, petrels, and then seals, whales, a little shark, great shearwaters (maybe?), and dolphins (these were very far to spot, but Mike identified them as common dolphins).

Yesterday night my shipmates spotted some bioluminescence. It was, of course, after my shift and I was sleeping. They show me some beautiful pictures.. I cannot express in words how jealous I am!! hahaha!!

Ship on a painted ocean

Friday, April 5, 2019

Setting sail - by Giuliana V.

View of Cape Town from the TGT, with Devil's Peak (left), Table Top Mountain (middle) and Lion's Head Mountain (right). Ph. by Isa Rosso

Pilot boat leaving (ph. by Isa Rosso)
It's just about 4 pm on April 5, which means the R/V Thomas G. Thompson has officially been underway for a full 48 hours. Over the last two days, we have left the beautiful Cape Town skyline behind, ventured out along the southwestern coast of Africa, and found ourselves caught amongst 4-5 m waves as we rode out the remnants of the most recent Antarctic squall. 

The seas were almost glassy as we left Cape Town harbor two days ago.  As the pilot's boat pulled away, we had the odd realization that he was the last new face any of us would see for nearly six weeks (a pilot is an experienced sailor, often a retired captain, who knows the harbor like the back of their hand and steers other ships safely into and out of it).
Our ship track gave us beautiful vistas of Table Mountain, the 12 Apostles, and the Cape of Good Hope as we began to make our way south. 

Giuliana (Caltech) and Max (Caltech) enjoying the last view of the South African coast (ph. by Isa Rosso)
Those of us who stayed on deck as we left were even rewarded with our first wildlife sighting of the trip — spouting whales, far in the distance.  The rugged coastline made for a beautiful backdrop for the first of many marvelous sunsets to come. 
Beautiful sunset (ph. by Isa Rosso)

However, the smooth seas belied what lay ahead, and by the time of our fire drill yesterday morning, the swell was large enough that the call came over the PA to secure the deck (that is, stay inside) due to dangerous weather.  Slowly but surely, my shipmates began to drop back to their cabins as seasickness overcame them, and our meals because conspicuously more and more poorly attended as the day went on. The ship was eerily quiet throughout the day and those few people that I did see moving about were like bouncing like pinballs off the walls of the ship.

Relief came accompanied by bad news: one of the engine pumps on board the ship has failed, forcing us to make our way back towards Cape Town to await a spare part from Seattle. This means undoing the last day's worth of southward progress and a delay in starting our science.  

Bonding time (ph. by Isa Rosso)
On the bright side, the seas have calmed considerably and even the most seasick among us has resurfaced today. Pristine blue skies and relatively still waters meant that many of us have spent hours so far today lounging in the sun on the back deck — playing guitar, reading, or just soaking in the warmest weather we are likely to see for the next month and a half.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Greetings from Cape Town! - by Isa R.

TG Thompson, our home for the next 6 weeks
After a veeery long journey from San Diego, I arrived here 4 days ago. I only had the chance to visit a small part of the city, close to the waterfront. It's gorgeous, especially because of the view of Table Top and Lion's Head Mountains. We had a couple of days with a very beautiful marine layer, a thick fog coming from the ocean and enveloping the mountains... a spectacular view!

The loading of the equipment and the setting up of the labs went smoothly. There are still few more things to finish, but overall this initial work went very fast.

John Calderwood (ODF/SIO) and Joseph Gum (ODF/SIO) with gear for the CTD rosette

Andrew Meyer (UW, SOCCOM) preparing 2 Navis biogeochemical Argo floats. On the back: Craig Hanstein from CSIRO, Australia working on core Argo floats.

There's a wonderful atmosphere on the ship, result of a very welcoming and professional ship's crew.

This is my 3rd US GO-SHIP cruise, and the 2nd as co-chief scientist. Needless to say.. I'm very excited and I can't wait to "set sail"! On board we will have not only CTD operations, but also several additional projects.. so stay tuned to know more about our work in the next weeks!

Pirate ship in the fog ;-) ...with Table Top and Lion's Head mountains in the background..

We are almost ready to go... so follow us in our adventure in the South Indian Ocean!

Alex Orsi (chief scientist from Texas A&M University, on the right) and me (Isa from SIO, left) ready to go!!

Alan the krill in the Agulhas - by Melissa M.

SOCCOM stands for Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling, so it makes sense that most of the seven floats deployed ...