Voyage update 4 from Evan Solly, Ice Pilot

The clear sky and exceptional visibility made our approach to Woods Bay very memorable with Mount Melbourne dead ahead and Mount Murchison on our starboard beam.

Wed 27th: Arrived off the Possession Islands at 00:00 to multi-beam into the shallows for DTIS camera runs near the bottom. Completed several passes proving navigable water into 35 metres depth. The first DTIS transect targeted 45m but needed to return on-board after only 7 minutes bottom time due to bands of heavy ice sweeping down from the north at approach speeds of up to 3 knots driven by the local tides. Two other DTIS runs successfully deployed in 200m achieved their full 30 minutes bottom time. Some very interesting detail and comparisons with the 7 minute shallow footage and the 200m footage. Very rugged terrain out the office window this morning. 

Leila the ship’s steward who is kept very busy each day cleaning dishes after every mealtime amongst all her other duties aboard Tangaroa. She washes and dries 749 spoons, 798 knives, 714 forks, and 609 teaspoons per week, along with ensuring the companionways, recreation rooms also are kept in a clean and tidy state.

She goes about her duties in a very positive happy manner and is always very helpful to the voyagers and their questions.

Ship’s accommodation inspections are carried out weekly by the Master to ensure all spaces are in a clean and hygienic state. 

Thu 28th: Carried out 2 mid-water trawls to identify species at specific depths for the science team. Trace metal water sampling was carried out and the bongo net was also deployed. Arrived off Cape Hallett this evening and completed a series of multi-beam transects to prove navigable waters to deploy the DTIS. 

Fri 29th: Two DTIS runs completed early this morning on exciting new ground close to Cape Hallett. Very good footage obtained in shallower waters. Later Tangaroa attempted to access Cape Daniell but a heavy ice band forced us further south to attempt approach from the south east. Ice again curtailed our approach to the coast. 

Sat 30th: Wiggled our way in through successive ice bands aligned north/south to approach the coast near Cape Phillip. Again the ice was sufficient to keep us away from the shallows closer to the coast and the shallowest water obtainable was 290m. Completed a single trace metals cast then wiggled our way back out through the ice by 20:30 that evening. Ice is very dynamic here shifting northwards at about 0.7 knots. Steamed south east overnight to approach Woods Bay from the east along the 74° S parallel.

Sun 31st: Midnight sun in the clouds was very spectacular as we proceeded south before turning to the west at 74° S.

The clear sky and exceptional visibility made our approach to Woods Bay very memorable with Mount Melbourne dead ahead and Mount Murchison on our starboard beam. Easily visible from 60 miles. Completed another trace metals cast followed by bongos tow followed by a couple of DTIS transects with this marvellous scenery as a backdrop in perfect weather conditions. Sea surface temperature was 3.5°C which explained the large phytoplankton bloom observed all about this area. 

Mount Melbourne

Arrived in the southern end of Woods Bay and commenced multi-beam survey to ensure tomorrow’s operations were to be in navigable waters. A single rectangular mid-water trawl was also undertaken for samples close to the sea surface. 

Mon 1st Feb: White Rabbits 5 DTIS transects completed in the morning close into the glacial edge. Scallop beds seen on the camera along with other very exciting fauna on the seafloor. Another pristine day weather-wise with calving ice off the glacial fronts, rugged exposed cliff faces and serene snow-covered mountains. Two Van Veen grabs completed to obtain samples from the seabed, both successful and trace metal casts at 08:00 and again at 16:00. This was followed by an RMT tow. Departed the southern end of Woods Bay late this evening for return (2019) to Terra Nova Bay tomorrow morning to deploy a mooring off the Italian Antarctic base there. 

Tue 2nd: Worked our way through open ice waters to gain access to Terra Nova. Again a perfect day with a cloudless sky and calm sea. Completed an RMT station and a mid-water trawl at 170m and at 08:00 the morning trace metal cast with a bongo tow was completed. Deployed the mooring as planned at 13:00 and spent an hour ranging it in on the bottom to confirm its position before turning eastwards and departing Terra Nova for eventually the Iselin Bank where our final mooring is to be deployed. It again has been a very picturesque day with multi tabular bergs in the near vicinity with an awesome coastal backdrop. 

Mount Melbourne & Cape Washington from the office window this morning as we entered into Terra Nova Bay