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April 8th-10th, 2014 - Laurence M. Gould

Heading South aboard the Gould

by Andrew Klein

Andrew's head

We departed Punta Arenas around 8 PM and steamed east to emerge on the eastern side of Terra del Fuego where we took a more protected course heading south along the coast. The first day of our trip was quite pleasant as we got accustomed to our new environment and the shipboard routine.

After lunch on our first day out we had our first muster and discussion of how to board the life boats if we have to abandon ship, which we hope we will not have to do.

The food is good and there are 20 some passengers most of which will disembark once we reach Palmer Station

birthday cake aboard the gould
Happy Birthday!

Fortunately, our first trip though the Drake Passage was a good one with very calm seas, seldom seeing waves more than 3 meters high. Once we entered the Drake Passage, people had the opportunity to volunteer for some science. As we went across we did a XBT (Expendable Bathy Thermograph) survey to record the temperature profiles of the upper 1000 m of water every 6 minutes of latitude. These XBT probes resemble a plastic missile with a zinc nose cone that is launched into the sea with a hand-held launcher.  Periodically a XCTD probe was launched to record both the temperature and conductivity profile of the upper 1000 m of the water column. 

We (Steve and Andrew) drew the  8 PM to midnight time slot – and had the luck to do both the first and last cast of the cruise!

Because we needed to be ready to sample before we reached Palmer Station, it was a relatively busy crossing for Steve and I – and I am glad the seas were not too bad – otherwise it would have been not so fun.
The first item of business was to construct our sampling cores. Steve shipped down 16 feet of 3 inch clear plastic tubing and another 16 feet of 1 ¾ inch tubing. We turned this tubing into sediment sampling cores that will be used by both the divers when we sample off of Palmer Station and by Steve and I from the Smith-McIntyre grab samples we will collect off the Gould.

It was a bit of work to turn 16 feet of tubing into sampling cores. First we had to hacksaw the tubes in half to make them easier to handle. Then our wonderful Marine Techs suggested we use their circular saw to cut the tubes into 1 foot lengths – this saved us a lot of time and made much better cuts then we were doing by hand. Once we had produced sampling about 15 sampling corers for each of the two tube diameters we had, be had to file down one end to make it sharper and easier to push into the sediment. We spent considerable time in the hold one day filing away. Once we had accomplished that, we added stoppers at both ends held in place by cord.  We think we did a quite nice job!

Files and one of the core tubes we developed

Steve filing away
Steve admiring his great work on one of our larger core tubes