LMG02-1A Weekly Cruise Report - February 24, 2002


The RV Laurence M. Gould (LMG) arrived at the new WHOI mooring site C1 around 1400 Monday (February 18). A bathymetric survey was first conducted to find a site with a relatively flat bottom at 450 m.  The C1 mooring was then deployed and the ship headed SW to the proposed new C2 mooring site. Several drifters and floats were deployed along the way.  As we approached C2, it became clear that the edge of the pack ice was located several miles north of C2, so deploying a mooring there was not possible.  We then moved north along the eastern side of George VI channel and found a suitable site in 850 m of water for the C2 mooring. After a detailed bathymetric survey, C2 was deployed and we headed for C3, the third mooring deployment site.  The weather worsened rapidly and by the time we reached C3, it was too rough for mooring operations, and we headed NE towards the shelter of Adelaide Island, arriving about 1700 and starting marine mammal (MM) survey work.


The ship spent the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday in mostly poor conditions doing MM survey work from south of Rothera north through Tickle Pass, but finding relatively few humpback, minke, and killer whales.  The weather improved over Wednesday night, and on Thursday morning, the ship headed SW for the C3 mooring site. Late that afternoon, mooring C3 was deployed, and the ship steamed to B1 where we spent Friday morning dragging for the missing B1 mooring with no success. With excellent conditions for visual MM work, the ship then steamed south to find the ice edge, then zig-zagged eastward along the edge for the rest of the day.  Many whales were observed near the ice edge, and the zodiac was launched to photograph the whales and take biopsies from five humpback whales.


By Saturday morning, winds had increased to 20-30 kts and worsening conditions prevented MM survey work. About 1300, the LMG steamed north to deploy the SIO mooring S9 in Rothera Channel, then started west around Adelaide Island, heading for Matha Strait. Ice and bad weather prevented the ship from entering Matha Strait, so today the ship continued NE up the shelf and entered Pendleton Strait and up Mudge Passage towards Larrouy Island, where heavy ice forced the ship to reverse course back to Pendleton Strait the open shelf. Several large groups of seals and some penguins were observed on the ice south of Larrouy Island, but only a few whales were seen in Pendleton Strait.


Tomorrow, we plan to continue with the MM survey work weather permitting and deploy S7, before steaming to Palmer Station to arrive at 0800 Tuesday.


Bob Beardsley

Chief Scientist