Monday, July 14, 2008

July 10, 2008 - The Last Day in Port

Today is our last day In port. The ship leaves at noon but everyone is expected to be aboard at 10:00 am. Last night we moved from our hotels to the icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer after everyone went shopping for things that we will not likely find on board (candies, chocolates, etc). It was also our last opportunity to check the Internet for news. It will be almost a month without internet connection to the real word. Only limited-email communication will be available. The web blog, you are logged right now is updated by a computer technician at University of Hawaii. We just send our texts and images and she uploads them in the web. Thanks Tara Hicks for doing this for us!!

Yesterday we finished loading the ship and started working on a few last minute tasks such as assembling the float lines for the camera mooring and making a few adjustments to the camera system. We weighed the camera tripod (lowered by the winch) under the water so we could calculate the number of floats we need for the exact buoyancy of the whole mooring line.

Everyone is getting excited about steaming down south. The temperature in Punta Arenas is still below the freezing point ( 28 degrees F, -1 degrees C) and we are all wondering how it will be after a couple of days at sea getting closer to the Antarctic continent.

The other US Antarctic vessel, RV Lawrence Gould, arrived in port from Antarctica a couple of days ago. The scientist and crew aboard had a rough the crossing of the Drake Passage. They had winds blowing at 50 knots and waves higher then 23 feet bouncing the ship around. We hope our crossing of the Drake Passage (named after Sir Francis Drake!) will be a bit smoother!
Keep posted for news of our crossing of the Drake, which some sailors say is the roughest body of water in the world. Aloha!!

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