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.