Monday, 4 March 2019

From Chile to the Falklands and beyond: ORCHESTRA Part 2...by Carol Arrowsmith

A Magellanic penguin
Carol Arrowsmith is currently part taking in an expedition to the Southern Ocean as part of ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports), a NERC funded programme with partners at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) (lead), the National Oceanography Centre, (NOC) Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and many more including BGS.  

I left the UK last Saturday and flew to Punta Arenas in Chile. There we waited (with various, BAS, NOC and university colleagues) to board the RRS James Clark Ross; a few days later we departed for the Falkland Islands. On board our first task was to lash down all the equipment in the ship’s laboratories needed for our sampling and familiarise ourselves with the layout of the ship. We have been accompanied for most of the journey so far by a variety of birds and mammals, including magnificent black-browed albatross, that mostly just sit in the water surrounding the ship waiting for food (to upwell from beneath the ship).

Carol in front of the RRS James Clark Ross in Stanley
After three days sailing we docked at Stanley, Falkland Islands. We were unexpectedly granted 3 hours shore leave so some of us disembarked (even after 3 days of an 8 week cruise it was great to be on land!)…The Falklands bright and breezy as its late summer here.  We walked to nearby Gypsy Cove, the most accessible wildlife site from the capital city. It is part of the Cape Pembroke peninsula which is a National Nature Reserve. The small bay with its white sandy beach is sheltered from prevailing winds and is home to good numbers of Magellanic penguins who breed here, nesting underground in burrows.

Heading back to the ship, we were caught in a hailstorm and there was even some snow, all to be expected in a day in the Falklands!

In Stanley we dropped off some crew and picked up a mass spectrometer and fresh supplies. We are now heading  for the Drake Passage and to the Antarctic Peninsula, some of the roughest oceans in the world! We expect to start sampling soon after…


ORCHESTRA is in the second year of a five year collection programme around the World’s oceans. I will be collecting samples from the RRS James Clark Ross. I will be tweeting @CarolArrowsmith and @ORCHESTRAPROJ and Facebooking (Orchestra project) along the way, as well as updating the BGS Geoblogy. Carol Arrowsmith is a chief technician in the stable isotope facility at the BGS. 

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