Step by step - Weekly Report No. 3 - O.Flegontova on the board
We are now almost within sight of A68 and a survey to measure the thickness of the sea ice has already crossed A68. Unfortunately, heavy ice conditions made our progress quite cumbersome. During the past week, we literally nudged our way metre by metre through the ice. At times, our progress was so small that it did not even compensate for the displacement of the ice-drift.
4 – 10 March 2019
The past week started with us being southeast of Snowhill Island. We were sailing in open water with only 40 m water depth surrounded by icebergs. A chain of icebergs had formed as they grounded in the shallows, blocking the drift of sea ice from the south. Therefore, to the north of the icebergs an area of open water (a polynya) had formed, which lead in our direction. To continue our journey, we had to find a way through the chain of icebergs. During a sea ice reconnaissance, a gap in the chain was discovered and we travelled southward through almost fully sea ice-covered waters.
Once again, the western Weddell Sea has lived up to its reputation of being one of the hardest areas to get to and hence least explored areas of the world. We would have very much liked to unlock some of its secrets but we did not get the chance…
Now, we first have to get through this disappointment. On the other hand, preparations for the first benthic sampling stations have started and I am confident that the first seafloor samples on deck will revive our initial enthusiasm. At this point, I am once again very grateful to everybody for keeping spirits up and enthusiastically working towards the success of this expedition.
Boris Dorschel on behalf of all PS118 expedition participants