Antarctic Blog, 6 January 2017

Prince Edward Islands to Kerguelen

by Julia Schmale

Position 46°24′S 51°46′E

After two and a half days it's time to leave Marion, one of the Prince Edward Islands that we visited. Ahead of us are three short days of sailing until we arrive at Possession Island, one of five islands in the French Crozet group.

While sailing, a routine is established quickly: breakfast, checking all instruments in the container, saving and plotting data. Every four hours it's meal time. Those are good occasions to sit down with all fellow expeditioners, have a chat and just enjoy. At night, we started giving science talks. This is extremely useful to understand some of the details of the marine projects and to discover synergies between the projects. Days are short at the moment, as we "loose" an hour every second day adjusting to island times.

The Crozet islands appear soon and things start getting busy again on the ship. Island time is a busy time. The field parties need to get ready, many decisions need to be taken. Upon arrival at Possession, the weather is stormy but sunny. The planned helicopter deployment needs to be cancelled the first day. Instead, we go ashore with zodiaks. The ride is short, but bouncy and the lifesuites get soaking wet. We land at a black sandy beach, populated with a couple of elephant seals and king penguins.
American Bay on Possession Island
This time I got the opportunity to go ashore, because I am supporting another "atmosphere project" that collects biological particles around Antarctica to explore their biodiversity. We go further inland, through a small river, and set up our equipment upwind of the animal colonies. The wind is strong and we need to tie the equipment down. Now we have a couple of hours to sample aerosols with high volume filter samplers. A TV team accompanies us to film and interview us. Time passes by quickly and we have to return to the ship. The following day the weather improves and we can use the helicopters to visit the base and set up the equipment a second time upwind of the buildings. Possession is a volcanic island, very beautiful.
Performing measurements on Possession Island