Today was another busy day – getting ready to run some experiments! We have lots of big active krill we collected swimming around in 2 giant tanks and lots of 5 gallon buckets in the aquarium. We keep the doors from the aquarium room to the outside open all the time, so in the aquarium it’s like being outside, to help the krill feel as comfortable as possible. Krill are fast! I’ve worked with krill before, but mainly in the winter, when they are less active, and mainly with smaller individuals. When the krill are frightened, they swim really fast by doing what is called lobstering. In lobstering they basically fold themselves in half really fast and shoot backwards. It’s called lobstering because lobsters do a similar thing. It’s taking me a while to outsmart these fast krill – I don’t think I’d make a very good penguin!
Today was also Gabby, our Electronics Technical (ET),’s birthday! To celebrate we decorated her hard hat, with some random electronics testing cable, a toy pig of Joe’s named Sir Pingsalot, stickers, labelling tape, and a string of Christmas lights, among other things.
Mike the cook also made chocolate cake for Gabby’s Birthday. We’re lucky to have such a good cook as Mike – when everyone is working hard, and doesn’t have much choice in what to eat, it makes a big difference when the food is good. Cooking on a ship is no easy task – all the food has to be brought down for the whole month, and there’s a limit to how long fresh fruit and vegetables can last. It’s also a challenge to cook for a huge range of tastes – many of the ship personnel are from Louisiana, while most of the scientists are from New England, and some of the crew are from the Philippines. My favorite thing Mike makes: spicy hot cocoa – I’ll have to get the recipe!
As we get further south, we are running into more sea ice. Today we saw our first ice algae. Ice algae grows in the sea ice, and there is so much of it here it has colored parts of the ice orange!