Southern Ocean GasEx Blog

Dispatches from the Southern Ocean Gas Exchange Experiment

This is for the birds…

Posted by sogasex on March 12, 2008

By Richard Miller, NASA, Stennis Space Center

I have sailed over a lot of water. I enjoy standing on the back deck during the early morning with my large blue mug of coffee to wake up or lingering until the last glowing rays of Sun fade to black. While enjoying this time I see a lot of …., well I see a lot of water. In many ways the water looks the same everywhere, at least it does to me. Fortunately, I always remember my days at sea by the ‘visitors’ (or are we visiting them?) that come to the ship. In my mind’s eye I always have a vivid image of the creatures that I saw during a cruise and the water is not just water any more. There were the thousand squids in the Yellow Sea, the massive Red Tides in the Gulf of Oman, the countless Gulls in the Gulf of Mexico, and the mat of jellyfish in the Gulf of Thailand.

Although we have just under a month (thanks Scott) to go on this cruise, I’ve developed a lasting image of this trip. This cruise is for the birds! There are the legendary Albatross and the “cute” Penguins. There are several others that I do not know but enjoy watching as they swoop down between the waves and then rise with the wind like a sailing kite. I enjoy watching and photographing the birds for as long as I can – remember, it is very cold on deck and I have CDOM samples to process. But no worries, I’ve now developed a vivid image of the birds that I will invariably describe countless times to my ship mates on future cruises.


The lengendary Albatross flying in the cold grey skies of the Southern Ocean. Where’s my copy of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner?


King Penguins visit the Ronald H. Brown. The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is the second largest species of penguin.


A gallery of birds float on the water observing our operations.


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