Dr Helen Bostock and Emmanuelle Sultan - reposted from Sciblogs

Date: 20/2/2013
Location: 65.114305°S, 142.304997°E
Weather: Cloudy and calm
Sea state: Calm

One of the primary aims of this voyage has been to monitor the formation of High Salinity Shelf Water at the Wilkes/Adelie Land shelf and its end product, the Antarctic bottom water.

Setting sail on day one the weather was brilliant and the swell minimal, a good omen for what was ahead.
This past week I have been based in Wellington. My favourite aspect of being here so far has been the field work
I have just completed the first week of my Blake NIWA Ambassadorship down in Lauder.
The last few days have seen a smorgasbord of new experiences for me already.
Just as we were ready to dust of our Jandals, you may be wondering why suddenly it feels as though we have been hit with a second winter!
Hundreds of amazing images have come back from NIWA’s NZ-AU Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage 2015 on RV Tangaroa.
Now back on dry land, Voyage Leader Richard O'Driscoll reflects on the final days of RV Tangaroa's 2015 Antarctica expedition.
Our journey is slowly coming to an end. The past five weeks has passed so quickly and I have loved every moment of it.
Today marked the last official day of science here in the Ross Sea. The ship has now been turned north and the 8 day steam back to Wellington has begun.
In his last update, NIWA project leader Dr Richard O’Driscoll talks about the challenging search for whales in foggy and icy conditions.
It has been another amazing week here on the Tangaroa. On Saturday we saw Antarctica which was an absolutely breath-taking experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life!
Today marks the halfway point in our journey and we have started the demersal trawling part of the voyage. Each day has been full-on with excitement and new things to learn and see. The highlight of the last few days was holding one of the biggest fish in the Southern Ocean in my arms - an Antarctic toothfish.
Favourable weather has provided excellent photographic conditions for NIWA's photographer Dave Allen, who has accompanied the 6 week voyage.
Through the cloud a large dark shadow appears in the distance. I look at Blake and ask him, “Could that be it?” We both wait with anticipation, fizzing with excitement, and eyes fixed on the horizon.
Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division explain the blue whale research they are leading onboard the New Zealand-Australia Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage 2015.
It’s now day 18 on board the RV Tangaroa and spirits are as high as ever. After seven days of amazing weather and a lot of successes with the blue whale work in the northern Ross Sea we have decided to put the last three days allocated to this scientific objective on hold for later in the trip, and to head south to start our third scientific objective which is the demersal trawl survey.
NIWA voyage leader Dr Richard O’Driscoll updates the Tangaroa’s encounter with the planet’s largest living beings – the Antarctic blue whales – and discovers what’s on their menu.
We have now said goodbye to the towering cliffs and vast glaciers of the Balleny Islands and have been heading southeast tracking blue whales by following their low frequency calls. Yesterday we broke into the polynya that is the Ross Sea. The fantastic weather is following us - making it easy to appreciate this surreal part of the world.
It’s now day 8 at sea and day 3 at the Balleny Islands. The Balleny Islands are a group of volcanic Antarctic Islands situated at 67 degrees south. They are mostly barren rock, with steep cliff faces and covered by massive glaciers, but they are also home to some incredible marine wildlife!
On day five at 9:07 am we all held our breath as we passed 60 degrees south.
It’s day three at sea and things are all humming along nicely. We’ve just passed 50 degrees south and any faint sighting of the mainland is long gone. The next time we will see land will probably be the Balleny Islands in a couple of days.
Our 42 day adventure to Antarctica aboard NIWA’s RV Tangaroa is just beginning! My name is Blake Hornblow and I am a 2014 Blake NIWA Science Ambassador.
Being selected as one of the two 2014 Blake NIWA Science ambassadors is the most incredible opportunity ever. I still remember the phone call at uni late into second semester last year.

A NIWA scientist has been looking at the effects of shifts in climate on water resources, in water-limited parts of New Zealand. 

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