Last night we had thrilling hunt for krill! We were trying to go back to an area where we had seen krill a few days ago, in one of the channels, but the way through the channel was blocked by icebergs. Outside the mouth of the channel though we saw on the acoustics that there was something that might be krill in the water!
Krill swim in schools, and the schools are pretty small, so it can be tricky catching them. To catch the krill, you need to make sure your net is in the same place as the krill are. Sounds simple, right? Not so much. The net is only 1 meter tall, and the water is over 400 meters deep, with the krill school in about 10 to 50 meters of it. To control where the net is you can change how fast the ship is moving, or how rapidly you are putting out or pulling in the cable which is towing the net. What makes it really tricky though is that the net is some distance behind the ship, but the acoustics are right under the ship, and the krill schools move up and down and all around sometimes in just a couple of minutes. It’s pretty exciting, trying to balance everything, control the net, and talk to the cable winch operator and the ship drivers on the bridge, all while keeping an eye on both acoustics systems, with help from Ted and Joe.
The krill hunt was a grand success overall! Lots of krill are now preserved in jars for analysis when we get back to the lab at URI. Our krill hunt has now moved back to Flandres Bay, where we were a couple of weeks ago. We’re hoping to catch some more krill, get some more video of krill, and see how things have changes as the spring continues to progress towards summer here in Antarctica!