Nov 30, 2008
I flew to Miami and on to Montevideo before boarding a small boat that took us on a 2-hr ride to the Oden, an icebreaker docked offshore which will be my home for the next several weeks. The ship is run by the Swedish Polar Research group, and aside from the Swedish crew, the scientists onboard are a mix of Scandinavian and American teams. There are a few language barriers between different groups, but everyone has been extremely friendly so far. My cabin is much nicer than I ever would have imagined; I’d pictured living in accommodations similar to a military barracks but I share a room with just one other person, another grad student, and we have a small shower and bathroom we share. There are 53 people on board the ship.
We spent the first two days tying equipment down to secure it for our trip through the Drake Passage, and according to local weather forecasts we’re going to wait around near the start of the Drake for a storm to pass through before heading down to the Antarctic peninsula. A few people saw dolphins and sunfish today, but I was asleep at the time. This is the route we’re going to take– we’ll cross the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica (the top left corner of this map) before heading down the Antarctic Peninsula and stopping at floating expanses of sea ice in the Amundsen and Ross Seas to do experiments and take samples of sea ice. At the end of this trip in a few months, we’ll reach McMurdo Station in Antarctica; a permanent base on Ross Island, and fly home (via New Zealand) from there.
I haven’t taken too many pictures yet, and the sea spray from every wave is so strong that when you get caught in it walking outside on the deck you look like you’ve just left the log ride at Disney World, so I want to be a bit careful with my camera and keeping it dry. When the water is calmer (below) it’s quite beautiful, but the majority of the time the waves have been crashing high onto the ship and we’ve been warned to stay inside until after we get to calmer seas.