Last night the winds finally abated enough, during a favorable tide, to let us come into the fuel pier at Cabo Negro. Loading 200,000 gallons of fuel takes a while, close to 10 hours actually, so all morning we have been fueling. Once we finish fueling, the only thing left to do before we can head for the ice is to pass customs, and we are scheduled to depart in 2 hours!
Yesterday afternoon we had a science meeting to start to coordinate how best to get all the different samples everyone wants in a very limited amount of time in the Antarctic. Many organisms have different behaviors at different times of day, so to understand all of their behaviors we would like to sample them at different times. That can get tricky when different scientists want to take different kinds of samples at the same time, so we are working on coordinating. Last year, when we were sampling in winter, there were only a few hours of daylight, so it was a challenge to fit in everyone’s daytime sampling. This year we’re here in the Southern Hemisphere summer, so there won’t be much night time to share! Even here in Chile the sun has been coming up before 5 am, and not setting until past 9 pm! As we go further south, and the days progress towards the solstice, the days are only going to get longer! If we get as far south as the Antarctic Circle the sun will never set at all on December 21, the summer solstice.
The labs are all set up and tied down now, and the camera team has been using this time to test their instruments. Several of us also took advantage of some of this down time to do another important thing – laundry!