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Feb 28: Science meeting, albatross and whale!

By February 28, 2022March 4th, 2022Antarctica

Li Ling – Feb 28:

Today after lunch we had a full science meeting, where a few of the PIs (principle investigators) presented the datasets that we collected during the cruise. Despite never getting anywhere close to the Thwaites Glacier (our initial cruise destination) due to the sea ice conditions, we managed to gather a lot of data at Dotson Ice Shelf and at Getz A and B Ice Shelf. Probably enough data to keep the scientists busy for a few years!

Here is a short summary of the NBP22-02 cruise in numbers:
– 297 CTD casts (including 28 TMC casts)
– 249 VMP profiles
– 19 Kasten cores, 11 megacores  and 6 monocores
– 14 Hugin missions, with 1732 km travelled in total, and 1075 km of these under ice
– 12 ALR missions, with 245 h of operational time in water, and 90 h of which under ice. The ALR travelled 42 km into the Dotson Ice Shelf cavity at its longest!
– 6 gliders deployed, with in ~1300 dives and ~150 glider days – 21 seals tagged, 20 Weddell seals and 1 Elephant seal. As of 24th February, these seals have helped us collect 392 CTD profiles, and will keep generating more until the tags fall of at the end of this year!

On something completely different: sometimes happiness on the ship can be as simple as having cup noodles! Or at least sharing the last spicy Korean instant noodles on the cruise with friends 😃

Three happy faces each with 1/3 of the last pack of spicy Korean instant noodles that Asmara has been keeping in her drawer (From left to right: me, Asmara and Yixi)

(Michael from the THOR team helped us get this cup noodles group photo 🍜😃!)

After dinner, I stood at the bow for a bit looking for birds. After around 20 minutes with two Blue Petrels, nature treated me with something absolutely fantastic!

First came an albatross flying at a distance!

And then, as I was checking my photos on yet another Blue Petrel, I was alerted by a strange sound to the starboard side. When I looked up, there was a whale! I cannot quite describe the feeling of standing alone at the bow, hearing the open ocean, the wave, the swell and the whale. The experience was just so special and magical!

After with Hannah, Gui and Lars, we came to the conclusion that this was probably a Fin Whale, the second largest animal on Earth!