Monday, October 31, 2011

31 October - Trick or Treat ?

Melissa M (left) and Katie are excited to have landed in Punta Arenas. Both of them were participants in our first field season last year and despite that, have come back for more Salp-tastic adventures!

Sadly, there has been no trick or treating today here in Punta Arenas. But we have been finding lots of surprises as we unpack all our equipment on the ship and discover what we forgot to pack (could have used a few more sample jars); what things we brought too much of (not sure yet); and where my running shoes were for the past year (ok, that last one only applies to Joe).
Ostiones (scallops) a la parmesana  was one of our dishes the other night for dinner. It's like French Onion soup, but with scallops instead of onions and a lot more cheese and cream. Yum!

There are two science groups on the cruise this year, both of which are studying salps. However we use different methods and instruments and are investigating different questions about these interesting organisms (don't worry, later posts will go into much much much more detail about the salps and the experiments). Yesterday and today (and part of tomorrow) were spent unpacking gear, setting up equipment, dividing up the lab space so we aren't bumping elbows with each other, and make sure our gear is secure for both the Drake Passage crossing (the 2-3 day trip from South America down to the Antarctic continent) as well as for when we're doing experiments during our cruise as the boat does tend to move about a fair bit.
This won't be confusing at all: Melissa (from the ship's crew), Melissa (Stony Brook grad student), and Melissa (recent Stony Brook graduate (undergrad)) are all sailing on this trip. We welcome nickname suggestions to differentiate the 3 Melissas in the blog comments! [and yes, that is Chuck Norris photo-bombing in the background]

When we're done for the day with work, we've been able to have some fantastic meals in the local restaurants of Punta Arenas. Lots of great seafood and other meals so far. We've also been able to eat lunch on the ship and I can report that our initial supply of chocolate chip cookies are fantastic!

29 October - En Route to Patagonia

Joe's trip started with an LIRR ride.
 Traveling from New York to Punta Arenas, Chile involves planes, trains (sometimes), and cars (sometimes) all in order to get to our boat! It's an odd bit of traveling as with layovers and multiple flights (usual route is NY to Miami to Santiago, Chile to Punta Arenas, Chile) we're travelling for more than 24 hours. I left Hampton Bays at 12:30pm on friday and arrived in Punta Arenas at 7pm saturday. And I had to adjust my watch a total of ONE HOUR!

This is not New England after the snowstorm, rather the Andes mountains as we flew south.

It's odd as you end up feeling exhausted but you're not really jet lagged as most of your travel is due south. Fortunately we all got out of NY before the snow storm arrived, but we did get to see some beautiful scenery flying over the Andes which divides Chile from Argentina. Lots of mountains, glaciers, glacier-fed lakes and luckily for us we had clear visibility so the final flights were really pretty.
A glacier feeds into a (very cold) lake in Patagonia. Unlike most places in the world, some of the glaciers in this region are actually increasing in size!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

T-10 days. Yipes!

The last (hopefully) set of lab equipment and supplies for our upcoming research cruise in Antarctica. It's too late to ship these down to the ship in Punta Arenas, so we'll be taking them on the airplane with us.

In just over a week, our field team will be assembling in Punta Arenas, Chile and begin to load our gear and supplies aboard the research vessel (Laurence M. Gould) for our 2nd year of field work for this project. Most of our gear and equipment was shipped down several months ago (from NY to CA where it got put on a boat that took it down to Chile), however there's always a fair amount of random gear that we either needed to use in the lab, on other projects, or forgot to pack originally!

The four of us participating in the project this year will start posting daily updates once we arrive in Chile so stay tuned for another exciting year of Salp adventures in the Southern Ocean.