Tagging Whales in the Antarctic Seas

At Sea (Wed., 4/29/09) – Deadliest Catch: Out with the Icefish team
by -- April 29th, 2009

The visual survey team has been out fishing with our colleagues on the icefish research team for the last three days. On our first day, in transit to Dallman Bay, we had great conditions and saw lots of whales (see Sunday’s blog).

We paid for those conditions yesterday and today.  Yesterday morning we awoke to a steady 40 knot wind, with gusts to 50, horizontal snow and visibility of less than 150 m. Today was not quite as bad, but it has been blowing 25-30 knots for most of the day.  We are in a pretty exposed place, so the seas are quite big and the boat has been rolling – none of us got much sleep last night.

We are retrieving fish pots and trawling for icefish.  For those of you who have seen “Deadliest Catch’ – the pot work is exactly like that – throwing a grapple out to retrieve the pot buoys in freezing spray.  Yuck.  Yesterday, with such reduced visibility, we helped the bridge crew to spot the buoys in the snow and high seas.  Today Reny helped place the live fish into aquaria for transport back to Palmer.  Some of the less fortunate icefish ended up on the dinner menu last night (don’t ask – I’m a vegetarian).  When we’re not helping with the icefish work, we’ve been reading, doing a little work and watching videos.  There are lots of good birds soaring around the boat and this morning a leopard seal visited the stern of the boat.

We’ll finish up the last trawls tonight and steam back to Palmer Station tomorrow to pick up the rest of the crew and load our gear before heading out to look for whales.  We’re all hoping that the weather will turn for the better.


  1. Tom M
    Apr 30, 2009


    hard to imagine how you can work under those conditions or stay on track. I mean do all the instruments work in the cold and wet? And how do you eat when the ship is rolling? And what do you eat? Softserve?

  2. Capt Dale Britt
    May 1, 2009


    Hey Andy and Crew………..,sure am glad that we weren’t on the Sensation for that “Perfect Storm”……,sounds like quite an adventure that you all are on…….,thanks for the blog…….,hone up your bow shooting skills for Hatteras………,and be safe!

  3. Andrew
    Nov 23, 2009

    What a great experience.

    What a terrific experience, sounds like loads and loads of fun. Were there any animals traveling on board? I have a dog but he eats Vegetarian Dog Food so I refer to him as my little grass eater. Would you like to take him on your next trip? Please?

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