Saturday, 9 August 2008


Today has, in some ways, been rather frustrating. It's been nearly a month since I've been able to get out to do a CTD - the CTD is an instrument which measures Conductivity (from which you can work out the salinity (saltiness) of the water), Temperature and Depth. It also hosts a PAR sensor (which measures Photosynthetically Active Radiation i.e. the part of the sunlight that the phytoplankton use) and a fluorometer (which measures the amount of phytoplankton in the water). The CTD is attached to a winch mounted on a RIB (small boat) and taken to a site in Ryder Bay where it is winched (by hand) to 500m and back twice a week in the summer and once a week in the winter. This gathers important oceanographic data which contributes to a data set spanning 10 years for Ryder Bay, this is one of the largest data sets for Antarctic waters and one of very few spanning summer and winter months.
Since early July some promising-looking sea ice had been forming in Ryder Bay, sadly high temperatures (up to 2oC) and high winds have caused the sea ice to break out and we're back to open water. After being unable to boat because of the ice (which was too thin to take skidoos on in order to do a CTD) this week has been too windy to go out boating. It started to calm down yesterday afternoon but no sooner had we got out to the CTD site (about 3km from base) the wind increased and changed direction causing us to head for home and making recovery of the boats rather interesting. This morning the weather looked promising once again but the pesky wind picked up just as we were donning our boat suits. It did drop off this afternoon, only to give way to snow showers which reduced visibility too much for us to go out. Still... sitting around waiting to see what the weather did involved drinking lots of tea so it wasn't such a bad thing.

Deploying the CTD on a dingle day in summer

Elsewhere on base.....

Adam and Matty have been setting up the new overhang on the climbing wall in Fuchs House. Graham (chippy) has done a marvellous job on the structure and we're all looking forward to trying it out. The only problem is there is a shortage of large holds so it could end up being rather challenging.

Currently there are a number of people on base training for the Rothera Triathlon, basically we're going to put ourselves through a few hours of utter tedium sitting in the gym for a 5km row, 30km bike then 10km run. For some there is the challenge of getting their best time or being the fastest. For me it's more a case of if I don't die I will be delighted :)

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