Friday, January 28, 2011

In Maxwell Bay

17:00 GMT, 28 January, 62�12.4 S 058�56.5W

We've been anchored in Maxwell Bay, in sight of Chilean, Russion, and
Chinese bases, since yesterday morning. The engineers have been busily
working to repair the starboard rudder. Maxwell Bay is like a
miniature United Nations--there are Chilean, Russion, Chinese,
Argentinian, South Korean, and Uruguayan bases. Only the Chileans make
no pretense of being a research base. I've been told that most of the
others are also an attempt to stake a claim in Antarctica rather than
to study it.

Yesterday we went on field trip to look for a GPS/CTD seal tag (it has
a GPS as well as instruments that record the water temperature,
pressure--ie depth--and conductivity--ie sailinity--and a transmitter
that sends the data to a sattelite. The tag had been on a nearby beach
for a month or two without moving, indicating that the seal was dead
or the tag had fallen off. We didn't find the tag, but it was nice to
walk around on land for a bit. I tried, but didn't get any footage of
penguins pooping, but I'm hopeful that I will by the end of the
cruise. We also did some sightseeing in the zodiacs (inflatable motor
boats). We pulled up next to an iceberg and got as close as is prudent
to one of the many glaciers that end in the ocean.

The food on RV Moana Wave is good and plentiful. Since there are
people working and sleeping around the clock, four meals are served--
breakfast (7 to 8), lunch (11:30 to 12:30), dinner (17 to 18), and the
late-night meal (23:30 to 00:30). Freshly baked cookies or muffins
appear several times per day, and it's hard to resist the temptation
to grab one every time I walk by the galley. Breakfast is the least
varied meal. It always includes fried eggs with beans and rice,
scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, yoghurt, and honeydew melon and
cantaloupe. The other meals are equally hearty but with more variety.
Yesterday's dinner included sauteed shrimp, spaghetti and ravioli with
tomato sauce and pesto, and some sort of chowder. The remains of the
shrimp and spaghetti made an appearance at today's lunch in a shrimp
pasta salad. The cook is good at incoporating the usable remains of
yesterday's meals into the today's, although he certainly doesn't
hesitate to throw food out.

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