The new CO2 project is operational! Myself and Dr Elizabeth Jones arrived at Rothera on New Year’s day, which I have to say was an exceptional way to start the year. We sailed in on the James Clark Ross, and arrived in perfect 24-hour sunny weather and calm seas.
The next couple of weeks were spent undergoing our training on the base, getting accustomed to life at Rothera, and unpacking the lab. We are currently stationed in the Analytical Laboratory of the Bonner building, which has turned out to be perfect for our requirements. NWO: Sometimes the Gerritsz lab is full We nervously unpacked our VINDTA (Versatile INstrument for the Determination of Titration Alkalinity) that had been packed aboard the RV Pelagia after the GEOTRACES cruise in the Mediterranean in August. But all was well, and the instrument survived the trip and its installation into a very different, polar setting.
We have been conducting CTDs out in Ryder Bay aboard Sea Rover with Dr Johann Bown, and have been pretty productive with 26 casts completed already. It is a lot of fun going out on the boat and controlling the CTD winch ourselves, with the mountains, icebergs and the occasional seal in the background. It is quite different to the shipboard CTDs we are used to! Yesterday as the boats were being lowered a large group of Orca were spotted very close to the wharf, and the dive team were lucky enough to be out with them, circling and swimming under the boat. Unfortunately we were not down for the early boat, but hopefully we’ll get the opportunity. Needless to say, you need your camera permanently on standby down here!
As this is the first time that the CO2 system has been measured in high resolution in Ryder Bay, we are keen to sample full depth profiles from the Sheldon glacier out towards the bay itself. We even managed to sample from CTDs at two sites out in Marguerite Bay, aboard the American ship the RV Lawrence M. Gould that called into Rothera.
So, for the rest of the season we are going to try to sample as much as possible, ice and weather permitting, and continue to enjoy life down South!