"Hump" Day

An oceanographic tradition is "celebrating" what is known as "Hump Day." Celebrating really means noting or acknowledging, as the work continues unabated. We departed from Lyttleton, New Zealand on December 17, and today is January 11. So we have been gone for nearly four weeks. As we are due at McMurdo Station on January 26, we have passed the half-way point of the cruise, or Hump Day (as in over the hump). IceburgThis actually occurred during our last transect along 76°S, along which we encountered relatively low concentrations of phytoplankton and extremely dense fog, cloud cover, and snow squalls. We did not see the sun for five days, in fact. Because a few important supplies did not make it to the ship prior to departure, we chose this time to make a relatively short trip towards McMurdo into the ice, where a US Antarctic Program helicopter met us, and dropped essential goods to us. Our trip into the ice found us excellent, clear weather, no wind, and warm (for Antarctica) air temperatures—2°C or 35°F. We were treated to views of numerous grounded icebergs during the transit, as well as myriads of penguins and seals on the ice. Upon the delivery of the materials (including coffee beans from our VIMS colleagues in McMurdo Station; thanks, guys!), we exited the ice and are en route to a new transect along 77°S. We hope the great weather follows us! Only 13 more science days are left, and we are in the midst of some exciting experiments and observations, some of which will be described in reports of the following days.