Latitude: 77.39 S Longitude: 165.54 E Temperature: -10 degrees C Wind chill: -19 degrees C
We were wakened this morning by the roar of ice breaking and the ships' tremors as it did its job. The reprieve from all the jolting and shaking we had in the Ross Sea didn't last long. Looking out from the window in my cabin all I could see was white everywhere. We were in McMurdo Sound and the Oden had begun to break the channel. The fast ice is about 2 meters thick and seems to span the entire horizon ahead of us. Oden is capable of breaking ice up to 3meters thick.
McMurdo eagerly awaits the Odens' arrival because it depends on an open channel to bring in ships with supplies. Ice breaking takes time. The ship is constantly moving back and forth over the same area in order to break the ice into the smallest pieces. It depends on the winds to help move it out of the channel. Meanwhile, all of us inside are either trying to pack equipment and personal baggage or trying to work on computers to finalize reports, etc. I have been working all day trying to put together a PowerPoint of our journey which I will present this evening. This is very tedious because I have to stop about every 30 seconds. The ship really shakes hard all over when it is moving forward into the ice. When it retreats, you have about 30 seconds to type or do whatever your doing before we move forward again. And so it goes....back...and forth...back....
Forward into McMurdo This is the front view from the ship facing McMurdo- along way to go!*
**Looking Back ** You can see the beginning of the channel that was cut through the night behind us.*
The opening of the channel has also brought out a lot of biology. Skuas are feasting on the overturned ice. We have also seen many more whales, both Minkes and Orcas, and a lot of penguins!
Skuas Skuas are feeding on the overturned ice.
Penguins Scattering Away These penguins scatter away as the ship roars by!
The surprise of the day came around noon. I was in my cabin when I heard the distinct sound of a helicopter circling around. I grabbed my camera and ran around the 04 deck until I saw it! The sound drove a lot of people out to see it. Human contact!! I figured it came out to check the work on the channel. Later in the day I received an email from PolarTREC teacher Kirk Beckendorff. It seems he was in the helicopter taking pictures of the Oden!! Can't wait to see those.
Helicopter from McMurdo Helicopter from McMurdo: Proof that we are very, very close!!
Mt. Erebus continues to spew out material. We are in full view of it as we go back and forth. Here is the latest image.
Top of Mt Erebus When was the last time Mt. Erebus had a significant eruption??