Posts Tagged ‘sea ice’

28th December 2008

December 29, 2008

We are still searching for leads heading south but heavy snow and visibility, down to 500m, is making searching for anything difficult right now.

The weather is SW 20kts, air temp -2, sea temp -1.5, sea flat calm, sea ice drifting NE at ½ kt.

For now we have stopped and the chief takes the opportunity to shut the main engine down so he can check oil filter screens, change oil in the turbo and generally give the old girl a rest for a while. We will be back in search mode as soon as the snow stops, that can be while down here.

The rest of the crew are using this down time to check all the fire fighting gear, sharpen up their response times and generally be as ready as we can for an emergency – if we’re unfortunate enough to have one.

After that its time for the crew to chill out and please themselves what they do… reading, chess, cards, videos and play station challenges are a good way to pass the time until the fishing action starts again.

Rgds: John B.

Fire training drill. Theo, Ren, Grover and Shand checking out BA gear and fire suit.

Fire training drill. Theo, Ren, Grover and Shand checking out BA gear and fire suit.

Marli watching a video in her cabin. ( Yes...It is a small cabin and I agree... she doesn't look that comfortable does she...... But, she assures me she's quite happy, thank you).

Marli watching a video in her cabin. ( Yes...It is a small cabin and I agree... she doesn't look that comfortable does she...... But, she assures me she's quite happy, thank you).

26th December 2008

December 27, 2008

Day 33 . Boxing day.

Mike serving xmas dinner

Mike serving xmas dinner

After a good meal and some R&R its back to work, weaving our way south toward the fishing grounds.

We all take turns at lookout searching for good leads that will take us south.

Me searching for leads through the ice

Me searching for leads through the ice

We are now 80nm south of the ice edge with around 250nm to go before we exit the ice bridge and enter the Ross Sea.

When we finally get there we could have traveled over 600miles weaving back and forth, in and out to find the safest track.

Today we have a long low swell from the NW, this is good news for us. A big swell (next to the warm water currents that thaw the Ross Sea from the inside out) is probably the next strongest force that breaks the sea ice up and speeds the thawing process. While we stopped for dinner 3 leads opened up that weren’t there before. We’re heading down one of them now.

Rgds: John B.

23rd December 2008

December 23, 2008

Yesterday afternoon CCAMLR issued notification to all vessels that areas B,C and G would be closed to all fishing at midnight 22nd December 2008. After that time we must make all efforts to haul our lines from the water and cease fishing in this area. Now all vessels are faced with the same dilemma, how to get access from the northern grounds to the southern grounds in the Ross Sea when there is still 360 mile of slowly melting sea ice between here and there. Indications that we have from satellite images are showing several possible tracks that we could take. But for now we must wait for at least a few days as more information comes in so we can find the safest course through the maze of leads and open water.

At least we will have plenty of down time to enjoy a good Christmas dinner without having to rush away on deck to start our shifts.

One of the most fascinating things to come across in Antarctic waters, are “Jade” ice bergs. I have attached some photos of the only Jade bergs that I have seen in 10 years of fishing these waters. Hopefully we get to see another one this season. Try and Google (Jade icebergs) they are fascinating.

Jade iceberg

Jade iceberg

Jade iceberg 2

Jade iceberg 2

Jade iceberg 3

Jade iceberg 3

Rgds: John B.

19th December 2008

December 22, 2008

Today we crossed the magic line into the Antarctic Circle at:
66 35s and 177 30e.

Little by little we’re working our way south toward one of our favorite fishing spots, in past seasons we have done quite well there, obviously I can’t tell you exactly where it is, it’s a secret. One of the best things about this area is the easy ground for our lines to settle on, unlike areas to the north where the rocky bottom is a problem and stuck lines, huge tangles and strong currents can be dangerous for the crew in the hauling room.

During the last 10 days we’re seeing more and more sea ice and ice bergs as we move south. On the last count we had 10 large ice bergs on our 12mile radar range and 7/10th first year sea ice. To navigate in 7/10th sea ice it’s a bit like following a gigantic maze that zig zags for hundreds of miles with just as many dead ends. When we come to the end of a lead (the term used for an open track in the ice) we must turn back and look for another track or lead that will hopefully takes us in the general direction that we need to go. Sometimes this process takes days or even weeks depending on the season and how the ice is thawing, or isn’t with some seasons.

Heavy pack too thick for us to go further

Heavy pack too thick for us to go further

Many factors govern the rate that sea ice thaws. The obvious ones are, water temp, air temp, (sunny days are good but few and far between) wind strength and direction, sea swell, tidal movement and the east setting Southern Ocean Currents all combine to break the ice up. We receive the most up to date satellite images daily from our support team back home and we can also access the National Ice Center web sight for more information if needed. Check it out at

http://www.natice.noaa.gov/products/antarctic/index.htm

then click on Ross Sea Central and you can sort of see where we are on the big picture.

For now we are just stooging along, setting the odd line in clear water as we find it while we wait for the ice condition to open up and allow easy access into the Ross Sea.

The leads are small now but growing fast

The leads are small now but growing fast

The photos were taken during the last few days. One shows a small lead toward the south and the other is ice too thick for us to enter.

Rgds: John B.