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>Seas: < 1-2 feet
>Winds 18 knots
>Temp -1.1 C ; w/ wind chill –13 C
>Location: Latitude 63 degrees 02.31’ S; Longitude 60 degrees 28.01 W

Above, Who caught whom? Thomas Dahlgren, one of the researchers, and a friend — a sea spider.
Click on each image for larger view.

8 December 2004

Hello to all –

Today was a work/play day aboard the LMG. We sailed into the central bay of Deception Island at 6:00 this morning. Deception Island is an ancient and occasionally active volcano (small subsidiary cones) — the most recent eruption was in ca. 1970. There is sufficient geothermal activity on this island that one can dig down at certain beaches and have a rather warm bath.

The island is roughly shaped like a "c" and the central caldera is open to the sea by a rather narrow passage. There are several structures visible on the shore. One is the remnant of an abandoned whaling station (whaling activities ceased in the 1920s) and the other intact set of structures is the former research station of the British Antarctic Survey.

We were able to leave the ship and visit the whaling station today. (It was nice to get off the ship for an hour or two.) Apparently, Deception Island was once a major processing station for harvested whales. I was told that as many as 30,000 whales of various species were annually handled at this facility. On the beach we saw many assorted whalebones and the sea floor just off the beach is also littered with the remnants of this fishery. Fortunately those days are past.

We did, however, see some living organisms. Two species of penguins (Gentoo and Chinstrap) sleeping on the beach, and Storm Petrals were nesting in the nearby cliffs. This is a beautiful, but desolate, place. I cannot imagine the living conditions here at the turn of the last century. Alas, this will be our last "landing" until we arrive at Palmer Station on 17 December.

As you might imagine the sea floor is composed of a fine volcanic ash (read as mud). In the morning we spent several hours sifting and sorting through mud to collect a variety of worms and in the afternoon our trawl netted a variety of echinoderms (sea star, sea urchins and brittle stars) plus 10 specimens of a simply amazing ribbon worm – Parborlasia corrugatus. While most ribbon worms reflect their common name and are somewhat small and threadlike, Parborlasia corrugatus is an enormous organism. It can attain a length of 1-2 meters and is up to 2 cm in diameter! [Erin A. would have loved this trawl.].

To round out the "easy" day, we evaluated two plankton tows. Interesting the numerically dominant larval form present in these samples were pilidium larvae (the larvae of ribbon worms). We will determine whether these are larvae of Parborlasia.

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