We have been on our way for 4 days now and our current position is at 54°33″ South, 171°55″ West. We are chased by some persistent winds that made the captain change the suggested route so that we complete all work in the Amundsen Sea (furthest South) first and then go back North to the Udintsev Fracture Zone, a funny little twist in the ocean floor above which the currents appear to gather like a magnet.
Yesterday the scientific instruments that were stored at the aft deck broke free and started to float away in the knee-deep water that was sloshing over deck. We had to quickly wade out, in jeans and snickers, catch and grab all boxes and gear that we could get hands on and send it indoors where a chain of people were hauling it to a temporary storage room. The gear was stored safely at the start of the cruise, but some of the boxes were made of cardboard and when the seawater started overflowing the deck they became wet and disintegrated – so the ropes that secured them and all other gear got loose and everything escaped. This was the first slightly dramatic incident I have encountered in about 20 years of science at sea. As far as we can tell everything was salvaged though!
I was too busy saving gear to take pictures of the incident, but I did capture the kitchen staff trying to hold on to the benches as they bravely try to cook dinner despite the rolling and moving kitchen utensils!
All well on board, and look forward to reaching the ice in a couple of days!