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The much anticipated research cruise with “G.O. Sars” to Antarctic waters has finally started.

The distance from Montevideo, Uruguay, to the Falkland Islands is 1000 nautical miles. The vessel has kept a steady pace at 11.5 knots since we started Friday afternoon. With this speed we should reach the Falkland Islands Tuesday morning. There we will refill our freshwater and also refuel.

A passenger boat brings late luggage and the remaining cruise participants.

Departure from Montevideo was delayed one day due to some cruise participants missing their flight connections on their way south. Early evening on Friday January 4th we finally raised the anchor and set course due south. Early Sunday morning at about 3:30 it was time for this research cruise’s first research activity. Two Argo floats were deployed just off the Argentinian continental shelf. The floats will collect data on salinity, conductivity and temperature for up to five years while they drift with the currents in the Atlantic Ocean.

Henrik Søiland (right) and Karl Johan Nilsson deploy an Argo float early Sunday morning.

The floats are programmed first to sink to 650 meters where they drift with the currents. Then they dip down to 1000 meters before starting their ascent to the surface. Data collection takes place during the ascent. Collected data is transmitted from the floats via satellite before the floats start on another submersion, each cycle lasting ten days. Where the floats eventually will end up is unknown. There are about 3000 Argo floats roaming the oceans, helping us better understand variations in ocean currents.

Atle Totland, Georg Skaret and Terje Torkelsen (left to right) are busy preparing research equipment.

While waiting for the various research projects to start, the cruise participants are busy checking and calibrating various instruments and building different platforms on which various research equipment will be mounted. Several meetings are also held to inform the participants about the different research projects that will take place on this cruise.
But it’s not just all work and no play. Sunshine and 26 degrees centigrade have given several people opportunity to work on their tan. Over the weekend, the temperature has dropped and the size of the waves has increased. Nobody has been sick ... yet!

We have observed whales, seals and this moonfish. Photographer: Einar Kristen Loshamn.