"Potter Cove and the weather gods smiled at us during our visit to Carlini Station. Now we are surrounded by the many scientific stations of Maxwell Bay, including the Chilean base of Frei, which is home to a major airfield, linking Antarctica to Chile."
07:30 - 08:30 Breakfast will be available
08:45 Short briefing about the landing at the Chinese Station, Great Wall
09:00 Ashore at Great Wall
12:00 Lunch is served
PM Cruising South East across the Bransfield Strait towards Antarctic Sound and the Weddell Sea
19:00 Dinner is served
We were granted permission to visit the Great Wall Station (China Base) on a restricted visit - meaning no buildings were accessible and we had protocol to follow. There were eight Chinese representatives to welcome us. They had arrived in early January and were stationed there until the end of the year. We were allowed to walk around the main square area, which contained traditional monuments, including a bell, modern buildings and a helipad. Once we returned, our HB Chinese participants relayed some information from our guides for us. They appreciated us adhering to the rules, with about 10-12 staff year round, they can usually expect up to 60 seasonal staff. The last of the scientists were leaving the base that day, possibly a reason for our restricted visit. The base was established in 1985. The scientific research conducted on base fluctuates with the scientists hosted. It can include anything from algae to wildlife (i.e. seals) to climate change effects. Sometimes the staff visit other stations for fun, especially during the winter when there is only 10 or so of them left. The base consists of recreation areas and accommodation blocks. They did have a wind turbine, however it broke as there was too much wind! The old building (est. 1985) was now a museum, although it was structurally unsafe, so we couldn't visit. Natasha, one of our expedition guides, said she'd been in it last year before it was closed. One of the things that resonated with me was that the base used to be covered in snow and a stream ran from the glacier and was a supply of drinking water for the base. Now though, the glacier had retreated so much that the landscape was rocks and the stream was no longer there.
The base had four large red symbols near the landing area (I was not sure if we could take photos at that point). The symbols are the Chinese words for Patriotism. Practicality, Innovation and Hard Working. The base has seen an increase in Chinese tourist visits..
The start of the much anticipated Science Symposium @ Sea, an opportunity for us all to present ourselves and our research / science / work / career. Now to meet some of the amazing scientists I'm sharing this journey with. In addition to the HB participant biography details here: homewardboundprojects.com.au/participants/2018-participants/
Symposium @ Sea: Session 1 (brief summary based on my notes from each presentation*)
*may include inacuracies, from illegible handwriting due to being on a moving ship!
Anais Pages - studies astrobiology, in particular stomatalites - microbial ecosystems that are 3.7 billion years old (!), they look like rocks. They only exist in two places, Barbados and the West coast of Australia. Anais uses non-destructive mineral exploration technologies to looks at the microbial communities
Maddie Brasier - just finished her PhD studying animals on the Antarctica sea floor, specifically Antarctica as a biodiversity hotspot, shaped by ice regions, ice-retreat and physical barriers. Maddie focused on the evolution, biochemistry and role of these animals in their ecosystems.
Rebecca Waddington - is based in Florida, Rebecca is a NOAA core pilot! Specifically she flies planes to track hurricanes and extreme weather systems.
Rebecca (Bec) Doyle - is a PI (principal investigator / group leader / lecturer) in cognitive behaviour and animal welfare
Rachel Zombor - is a neuropsychologist who focusses on dementia and traumatic brain injury - specifically cognitive impairment and how this can impact the decision making process
Megan Oaten - is an experimental psychologist, focussed on our disgust reaction and how this stops us from harm, in particular from contamination / disease
Émille Lefol - studied king penguins, spending months on an island in the East sub-Antarctic, looking at the impacts of climate change, fuel and human trash. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Sherbrook, Canada studying the Tree Swallow (bird), in particular the UV colour observed by this bird species and how it is useful for their commuication
Gaia Dell'Ariccia - studies seabirds, in particular penguins and petrals and how they orient in the ocean and swell. This involves combining her passions with work and ovecoming the challenges of field work in nature by adapting lab experiments to the field.
Kate Clarke is a small animal vet, and has been for the last approx. 20 years, she is currently based in Melbourne, Australia and illustrated that work very much was about people skills and mangling values and expectations.
Following on from today's leadership program, we move to emotional agility defined as the distinguishing components and skills of highly effective leaders for both short-term and long-term effectiveness. Why this, why now? Developing strategies to protect ourself form inner dialog / critics, to allow us to get on with it, to show up (less abidance and self-sabotage to more positive outcomes). This involves addressing our triggers by slowing down, taking time, opening up and pursuing to go from stimulus to response by recognising, using, understanding and managing emotions. A tough session but interesting how many of us have that inner dialog and ignore rather than deal with it.
The iceberg on Tuesday has now been put into perspective. The afternoon program was occasionally interrupted by these huge pieces of ice floating by our ship, they really are beautiful. After living in Canada for four years, I thought I had seen my fair share of snow and ice, however, the powerful landscape here has shaped these floating sculptures into quite mesmerising objects. Now we get to learn a bit about ice. To be perfectly honest I had no idea there was such a vocabulary to explain "icebergs". To begin, icebergs are technically ice larger than 5 meters (16 ft) - the smaller parts are known as "bergy bits" (smaller than 5 meters, usually an iceberg broken up) and "growlers" (less than 2 meters with under a meter showing above water)- and yes, those are the scientific terms. Another important fact is that icebergs are formed on land and "calve" from an ice shelf or ice sheet into a body of water (in this case the Southern Ocean). They then travel with the current, causing navigational issues to marine traffic, did you know that the Titanic disaster resulted in the `International Ice Patrol to be formed. The IIP uses satalite data to track icebergs, but these are only for large icebergs, greater than 500 meters squared. All icebergs are defined by their shape, caused by either their formation or deterioration. Two broad categories exist, tabular (can be seen in the two pictures below) or non-tabular (pictured above), non-tabular can be further categorised, but for me, that's a bit challenging (unless it's a dome or wedge).
Dining room with a view - In reality, the windows were quite high up which meant that if you were next to one, many dinners were spent repeatedly standing up!
Dinner was rushed, this sunset was too good to miss, over our first sighting of the dramatic Antarctic Peninsula