PS113 - Weekly report No. 1 | 7 – 13 May 2018
Leaving Punta Arenas
On our arrival on 5th and 6th May the weather in Punta Arenas in Chile showed an unexpectedly pleasant side with scattered clouds, temperature just under 10°C and hardly any wind – unexpected, because here in the Southern Hemisphere it is now autumn and the climate at the southern extremity of Chile is harsh anyway. On 7th May the cruise participants were brought on board the Polarstern at anchor offshore by a harbour launch.
By 10 o’clock, all were safely aboard. For those setting foot aboard Polarstern for the first time this was an exciting and moving moment, while, for those who had often sailed before, it was combined with a happy reunion with old acquaintances amongst the crew and scientists. The 25 scientists on board represent six nations from three continents.
By the time we scientists came on board the crew had already extracted our equipment from the freight containers and put it where we could easily find it. All the larger pieces of equipment such as winches, measurement systems for deployment at sea and laboratory containers were to be found at the places previously agreed with the AWI logistics department before the cruise. We were therefore able to start straight away with assembling our measurement systems and setting up our laboratories.
The departure planned for the evening of the 7th May was unfortunately delayed because of the difficult arrangements in the harbour of Punta Arenas. Firstly, Polarstern had to steam to the bunkering pier to take fuel on board. After that, she was able to dock at the harbour pier, which was not free on 6th and 7th, in order to take back on board the freight from the previous cruise and from Neumayer Station, which had been temporarily put ashore to allow ours to be made available. At 6 o’clock in the evening on the 8th we finally set sail, with a day’s delay. In view of the fact that the time available for scientific work during the Atlantic transit with slow steaming speeds or with the vessel stationary was already only reckoned to be three days, this represented a serious loss. Strong tail winds and a strong tidal current flowing towards the Atlantic in the Straights of Magellan helped us to recover a couple of hours of this lost time.
On the 10th, after we had left the Exclusive Economic Zones of both Argentina and the United Kingdom around the Falkland Islands, we were immediately able to commence our programme of measurements. The details of these will form the theme of future Weekly Reports
The first, and hopefully only, storm with Force 10 winds is already safely behind us thanks to Polarstern’s stability and her experienced nautical leadership. In the meantime, we have left the temperate zone of the Southern Hemisphere and are steaming through the southern subtropical region.
All cruise participants are well and send with me hearty greetings to those at home.