As the days get longer in the norther hemisphere, they are becoming
noticably shorter here, shortening by several minutes each day.
Yesterday we finished our sampling for the first leg. We are now
approaching Cape Shirref field station to drop off some people and pick
up others, trash, and equipment.
The ships crew consists of one captain, one chief mate, one second mate,
a chief engineer, two other engineers, three deckhands, and two cooks.
There are 19 in the science party that are on the boat right now. We
will pick up 4 more from Cape Shirref today (they have been doing a
short trial of a radio-controlled helicopter fitted with a camera to
monitor seal and penguin populations). Only 5 of the science party are
full-time NOAA employees. The rest are contractors or volunteers (I and
2 others are volunteers). Several of the contractors have no permanent
full-time job but do field work (like this cruise) throughout the year.
One of the zooplankton researchers is heading to Sierra Leone for a
month after this cruise to train locals in observing fisheries (to
monitor how much and which species the fishing boats catch to keep the
fishing sustainable). My roommate will return to the arctic (where he
was working before this cruise) to continue observing birds on a tiny
island. If I'm able to find a secure place to leave the Twister
(wherever she may be, come January 2012), I may return to do this cruise
next year as a paid contractor.