1. Still in transit
We are still on our way to the Bellingshausen Sea. The seas have been rough the past few days — we encountered a large low pressure system that brought strong winds, so the boat has been rocking a lot. We had to stop for almost two days to let the low pressure system pass us so that we could continue our transit safely. We have started to feel the cold, outside it is 7°C (45°F) with a wind speed of 40 km/hr (25 mi/hr), and so the wind chill feels about 2°C (36°F). It is time to get those jackets!
2. Around the Araon
And because we are still in transit, I have had some time to walk around the Araon. Here are some things about this research vessel.
It has several fully equipped laboratories for sampling, treatment, and storing sediment, water, and biologic samples.
In addition, the ship has 2 dining areas, a gym, a sauna, a library, 2 laundry rooms, 2 conference rooms, a medical facility (with a physician), 53 rooms (to accommodate 85 people), and space for 2 helicopters!
I’ll be spending most of my time in the geophysics lab and the geology/paleoclimate lab. The geophysics lab is where we visualize and analyze swath bathymetry multibeam and subbottom profiles. I’ll explain more about these when we start collecting some data. The geology lab is where all the sediment cores will be sampled. We are planning on collecting three different types of cores: long cores, gravity core, and multicore. I’ll show pictures of each type when we start collecting them.
The science team is rather small. The chief scientist of this cruise is Dr. Min Kyung Lee, she has been at the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) for about 6 years, working as a paleoclimate researcher. Dr. Sunghan Kim is also joining us, he has been at KOPRI for almost two years and his expertise is paleoceangraphy. Dr. Joe Prebble, from GNS (a research company in New Zealand), is joining us too. He is a palynologist (works with pollen found in sediments). And five graduate students: Katelyn Johnson (PhD student from Victoria University in New Zealand), Simon Reeve (masters student from Victoria University), Joshua Shutter (PhD from Harvard University), Younho Noh (PhD from KOPRI), and me. Fortunately, we will get some help from KOPRI marine technicians that are sailing with us and have some experience collecting geophysical data as well as sediment cores.