Thursday, 4th February 2016
The third day on the HMNZS Otago started with the new experience of wakey wakey, where they play a tune on the ship’s whistle and broadcast it across the ship. With the weather still being kind and the swell still quite small we ripped through breakfast with great alacrity. We then proceeded with our first bird count of the voyage, where we record all the birds we see for ten mintues from the bridge. We intend to continue this throughout the voyage to and from the Auckland Islands, and we will see if we can observe any interesting features of the data set.
The first day’s activity was learing about the five scientific and repair programmes which we are going to undertake on the Auckland Islands. The first one explained was intertidal zone survey where we will collect a variety of samples and record information such as the frequncy of seaweed to build a baseline for future research. No such work has previously been done on the east coast of the Auckland Islands. The next programme we learnt about was how we will use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to explore the sea floor of the harbours and fiords of the Auckland Islands from Polaris II the Otago University research vessel which is acompaning us on this voyage. The final three are Plankton collection, repairing a weather station in Smith Harbour, and collection bacteria samples. Craig Cary explained that from the samples we are are likely to find new baterica and help scientists to build a picture of microbiology, a world which we know very little about.
However the day was not all work and no play. We then proceeded with a naval classic “bucket ball” which is a version of netball with the only differences being that instead of a net, a bucket is held of a person’s head and the ball is made of taped up rags. After been divided in teams of 6, we went into battle with all six teams fighting hard, warwounds and all, with a massive collsion between myself and Jacob and another team member nearly seeing two of us overboard! Lucky we’ve already practiced man overboard drills! After a round robin we stettled it with a game of dodge ball in the hangar, which included much banter between us and the ships company and Shahin emerging victorious.
After an iceblock, a yarn and a few more vists to the bridge were we did another sucessful bird count.After dinner it was time to hear about Gary the expedtion leader’s time in Antarctica and some history of the great continent. Overall it was a very sucessful day with everyone getting there sealegs (for this weather at least) and as we steam past christchuch we inch ever closer to the great southern ocean.