Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last Day in the Southern Hemisphere

Fair winds and fast sailing has brought the students, faculty and crew of S223 to within a day of crossing the equator. Seas are beautiful, the temperature has remained hot and muggy but the strong breezes have cooled the ship. Its almost picture perfect. Stations for science morning and evening are on going. Bird diversity is being monitored across the transect hourly, and the ship has been successful catching fish for science and the galley. The students are engaged in a variety of individual and ship-wide science projects ranging from examining squid and pteropod diversity along the transect, to collecting first-rate carbon data along the track- setting a baseline for future studies. We put an ARGO float over the side yesterday which will sample continuously to 1000m for the next five years.

Lectures during class by faculty provide a structured classroom setting during the afternoons and delicious snacks are served by the students in the galley both am and pm. The big news is the crossing of the line. At sea there is a long tradition of having a "Line Crossing Ceremony." Sailors who have not been across the line are called pollywogs and experienced veterans are Shellbacks. Of course King Neptune and his wife are sure to make an appearance and a certificate of crossing will be issued to all the pollywogs of S223.

-Dr. Barbara Block

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