Sunday, January 17, 2016

A long exciting day in the Southern Ocean

I got up yesterday morning at 10 am, after 6 hours of sleep. I did my 55' of run and my boxing drills, which gave me some energy for the day to come.. a long and with lots of excitements day !

I gave my talk, which went spectacularly well :-) Usually we have talks lasting more or less 30', question time included. Mine took a whole hour!! I think I never got so many questions and so much active discussion.. haha!! It was awesome!! And what a beautiful day, too! The sun pushed us to spend a longer and much more pleasant time outside, even under a chilling wind, which froze our fingers in the attempt of taking photos. We all waited with great expectation for the sunset (which happened around 9.30 pm), as we knew it would have been spectacular.. And quite rare, as clouds usually cover the sky at these latitudes. 

An albatross, master of the wind, flying free around the ship.


Sunset view from the bow

Some relaxing time at the bridge

We then deployed an Argo float (similar to a SOCCOM float, but with only temperature and salinity sensors) for the Argo program, an international collaboration that collects profiles of temperature and salinity from ice-free global oceans (if you want to know more: The lauch was super easy, as they are deployed inside a cardboard box which opens in just few minutes once in water. Pete Harmsen from CSIRO/MNF got a very nice video of the operation, which I post at the end of the cruise as we have a very limited internet connection.

As we were heading towards the next station, I got the second SOCCOM float ready: sensors cleaned and new "look" prepared.. This float has been named John Witherspoon, as it is the name of the Middle School in Princeton (NJ) which I am in contact with (Hi guys!!! :-D ). The history teaches me that John Witherspoon (1723-1794) had quite an interesting life: he was the only active clergyman among the singers of the Declaration of Independence, elected to the Continental Congress and then to the state legislature in New Jersey and finally president of the College of New Jersey from 1768 to 1792, which is now known as Princeton University (!!!).

To this man and the John Witherspoon Middle School, this float is dedicated to! The next floats will be named by the students of the school ..and I have a special surprise for them, as I got Annalise Rees, a very talented artist that we have the pleasure to have aboard, involved in the decoration of the floats! (If you want to know Annalise's work, have a look at her websites: and


Annalise on the left, John Witherspoon float in the middle and me, on the right, wearing a wolf-ewok-teletubby-koala (open to interpretations) beanie that I knitted myself ;-D 

Float #9645 waits for its dive outside on the back deck, while curious albatrosses and petrels fly around.


Deployment of the float from the back deck ( was roughly 4 pm, local time).

I haven't slept much in the last 30 hours and won't sleep much for the next 30 as well, but we have a great coffee machine, which is my best friends in these days (in perfect italian style, I drink MANY espressos!).

Of course during this long day we didn't just deploy the floats, but many different operations have taken place (1 in particular regards the calibration of our float), but I think I'll talk about them another time, as I have to go prepare the next float and maybe have a nap before the next action. Till the next time, Ciaoooooo!!!

ps: we are taking drawing classes with Annalise and both the ship crew and the scientists got very excited. I think we all have an hidden talent.. somewhere.. I hope I'll find mine by the end of the cruise ;-)

First drawing class creation.. I'm not really sure where I left my talent.. maybe I sent it away with the first float.. ha! ;-)

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