We are a 4th Grade class from Sauquoit, New York. We have some questions for you. Did you get to fly our flag? We saw it in a picture from one of your journal entries. How many flags did you bring with you to Antarctica? We just read your journal entry and were wondering how long it takes to drill through the ice. How cold is it right now? Did you find out anything new yet? Have you seen any whales? Today is our last day before Christmas vacation. We will try to write entries from home. Happy Holidays!!

Anne Marie Wotkyns

Hello 4th graders from Mrs. Waldeck's class! I'm so glad you are reading my journals and following along on this great adventure. To answer your questions:1) Yes - I flew your class flag in Punta Arenas, Chile, and then a few days ago, on an ice floe the Oden was tied to for several hours while we had a "science station" to do activities and collect data. I need to count to be sure, but I think I have about 65 flags with me.
2) My team mainly uses a hand auger (drill) (not battery or electric powered) to drill a hole through the ice down to the sea water below. The drill makes a hole about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. The time needed to drill through the ice depends on how thick the ice is, but it usually takes about 2-4 minutes per hole. Some of the other science teams use a motor powered auger to drill wider holes (up to 10 inches in diameter) or a motor driven "corer" which cuts a cylinder, or tube, made of ice that shows all the layers in the ice. This also allows them to sample ice from different layers.
3)As we have traveled southward, the temperature has been dropping a little. Today our temperature was between -5 C and up to -2.5 C. Do you know which one is warmer? -2.5 is warmer than -5 because it is closer to 0 C, which is freezing. When the ship is moving, it always feels colder because the air is blowing past you, so it can feel up to -4 C or -5 C colder than the thermometer says because of the wind chill.
4)So far we have been learning to use the new LiDAR (laser imaging) equipment, and collecting data, so it may be a while before my team "discovers" any new information, but I will let you know what we find out as soon as I can share it with you. I will also let you knolw all about the other teams' discoveries too.
5) Yes - we have seen a few minke whales, and two humpbacks several days ago. But every day we have seen many crabeater seals and Adelie penguins! And most days we have also seen emperor penguins, Weddell seals, and leaopard seals. We look for animals all the time!!
Please keep following my journals over the holidays. And sign up for my webinars on January 6 and January 12! Happy Holidays from the Amundsen Sea in the Southern Ocean!

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/21/2010 - 08:44