by Tina van De Flierdt
Today at 10:30am we left port. All scientist and many of the technicians and the ship’s crew were on top of the bridge to watch the departure. It was a sunny day, and two little boats towed us until we were far enough away from land that the ship could be turned to face the open sea.
We left Aotea Quay,Wellington, under blue sky. For the next couple of days we will be sailing along the eastside of New Zealand. Since weather and ice observations will be key to our expedition (some of the sites we want to drill are still covered by seaice), we have two experts on board, Kjell and Diego, who watch out for weather and ice conditions at any time and inform the ship’s crew and the scientists.
This means that we all know that we will probably hit some heavy seas tomorrow with winds up to 40 kt. I started taking a small dose of sea-sickness medication, as I want to be prepared for when the ship starts rolling. It is a wonderful feeling to be underway!
The transit to our first drill site on the continental shelf off Wilkes Land will be about 8 days. We are supposed to arrive there on 17 January. Of course we hope that until then the ice conditions are even further retreated. So far everything looks great …We will spend the rest of today with science meetings discussing our research and sampling strategies.