Saturday, November 29, 2014

We finally made it into the field today! The winds from the storm we had over the past couple of days blew the sea ice away from the docking area, so we could get a boat out to one of the islands we want to sample.

The islands we want to sample are just south of Rothera Station in Marguerite Bay. The boat gets loaded up with our gear, and then lowered into the water with a crane. Water this cold is dangerous, so we wear “boat suits” that are waterproof and well-insulated, with built-in flotation (in case we fall out). We wear self-inflating life jackets over top of that. It keeps us safe, but it is definitely very bulky!

We got to Anchorage Island, but as we suspected, the storm had dropped too much snow on the ground to find the soil we want to sample! We thought this would be the case, but the boat was already going to Anchorage, so we tagged along to use the opportunity to scope out potential sites. We were able to find some sites with soil, moss, and grass that we will be able to revisit later in the season once the snow has melted more. Here’s what it looks like on snow-covered Anchorage Island. That’s Uffe in front of me, and to the left you can see our boat way down below tied to anchors in the ice. (If you look VERY closely, you can just barely see the red “apple” hut that serves as an emergency shelter, above Uffe’s head and to the left, between the hills.