notes from the field

No. 27 - 34,867 Fish

We finished the last trawl station just before sunset and just in time. Our era of good weather has come to an end but we're finished. We've set the trawl 74 times (and only once did it not come back), the nets have brought up 34,867 fish representing 45 species and weighing 24,000 pounds. The litany of measurements and the size of the database compiled from these specimens are impressive. We've also got a continuous record of oceanographic and meteorological conditions and gigabytes of video, photographic and acoustic imagery -- this I hope to get even more of before we have to leave the area.

How much depends on how long it takes for the low to pass by us. The wind cranked up knot by knot all afternoon and threatened the last station. If we hadn't 73 already under our belt we wouldn't have tried it, or if we had, it would've likely turned into a mess. But we slipped it in and out before the gods realized that we were teasing them and headed for cover. Tonight we'll work our way to the south side of the islands, into the broad Bransfield Strait separating the South Shetland archipelago from the Antarctic Peninsula. We'll wash the net out tomorrow in the lee of King George Island and then head into Admiralty Bay (a place you may remember me writing about early in the field season) and wait out the storm. We'll do this with the wisdom of a month at sea and not the impatient enthusiasm of the first week.


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