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16 April: Epic battles at sea (Scotia Arc Expedition 2013)

By: Dr Nerida Wilson, Category: Science, Date: 23 Apr 2013

Finally this morning we arrived at South Georgia and began fishing in earnest.

16 April: Epic battles at sea (Scotia Arc Expedition 2013) #1

Nerida Wilson & Greg Rouse © Australian Museum

Not that you could tell where we were - thick sea fog surrounded us, and I’m not sure if anyone got a glimpse of the island at all. The radio let us know that there were a few other fishing boats near us, but none of us could see each other.

The trawls have been producing great animals, and we have been pretty busy all day. I’m writing this at 10pm, and we still have one more trawl to come aboard. Most trawls today were filled with hexactinellids, or glass sponges, which have wickedly sharp spicules to protect them from predators, including scientists! So we have been pulling out these needle-like spines all day.

Another epic battle has been going one too, with one of our team (Mitch) reading Moby Dick. What a great place to read such a book!

And the greatest battle of the trip is unfolding too. Yesterday we started a traditional ping pong tournament on board. Everyone joins in, and it can get pretty serious. Being able to antiipate the movement of the ship is the skill needed to win. And sometimes play stops for a long while when the ball goes missing. So far its all smiles, but it wont stay that way!