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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

RV Celtic Explorer Newfoundland & Labrador Fishery Survey: DAY 16

Date 14/02/2011 Time: 20:00 hrs (UTC)

Position: 53 deg 06.78 N 54 deg 08.09 W, Speed 0-3 Knots, ‘jogging’ in the ice
Wind 40 Knots, with gusts up to 65 knots

Happy but windy Valentines Day! Seas today were fit only for ‘jogging’ (holding place or slightly moving against rough seas), but they did provide a good time for in-depth discussion about our research projects while we wait for the winds to abate and the seas to calm. 

Research discussions among the Day Watch in the dry lab. Left to Right: Chief Scientist Dr. George Rose, graduate students Kyle Krumsick, Craig Knickle, and Gen D’Avignon, & sea technician Ed Stern (Photo: Kate Barley).

There was also time for some additional charting of the ‘Hawke Channel Closed Area’, a large 50 by 50 nautical mile area closed to trawling and gill netting for almost 10 years. This area is under study by Kate Barley as part of her PhD thesis.

Kate & Ed chart plotting the Hawke Channel Closed Area (Photo Craig Knickle)

Meanwhile, the winds and seas raged to conditions unfit for any scientific surveying – we just have to wait this one out. Today we had winds gusting to over 65 knots, which is hurricane force 12 according to the Beaufort Wind Force Scale, invented by Irish born, Rear Admiral, Sir Francis Beaufort in 1805.

Unfortunately, worse conditions are forecast after a predicted break in the weather tomorrow. As should be evident, winter research on the North Atlantic is all about the weather. We must work with it, and never against.

The raging winter seas off Labrador (variously known locally as the Big Land, but also as the land God gave to Cain), view from the bridge (photo: Laura Wheeland).

These waters formerly held one of the greatest cod stocks in the North Atlantic – rebuilding has been slow over the past 20 years.

For a detailed account of the history of this fishery and its demise, see ‘Cod: the ecological history of the North Atlantic fishery’, authored by our Chief Scientist, Dr. George Rose, and published by Breakwater Books, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, in 2007.

In the ice, if the winds are right, the seas are tamed somewhat – it’s a good place to be! This is soft first year land ice, and no danger to the vessel. Old multi-year hard ice would be a different matter, as would be much older iceberg ice (photo: Ed Stern)

Until next time…

Blog by Kate Barley & Dr. George Rose


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