We started yesterday only about an hour away from our first site, the shelf site designated WLSHE-09B (WL stands for Wilkes Land and SHE stands for shelf site). It is at this site in which we had predicted to recover sediments deposited during the Greenhouse World. However, this was also the day that we sailed past a flotilla of icebergs, with some of them being miles long.
After I had finished my shift and had gone to bed, the waters near the site became even more filled with ice, mainly small chunks of ice as well as the occasional large iceberg, so the Captain made the decision to turn around and go to our more distal site from Antarctica. This site was completely clear of ice and was only about 12 hours away.
Once we had started our transit, I woke up and realized that we still moving and so jumped out of bed and checked my email only to find out what had transpired while I slept.
So I went back to sleep, slightly disappointed. Meanwile, we high tailed it to Site WLRIS-06A (RIS stands for rise location) and up on arrival began the long chore of extending the pipe through over 3600 meters of water to reach the bottom.
Hopes were lifted that we would see our first core by 6 am our time (2 pm EST the day before), which is in the middle of my shift. However, the Antarctic gods decided to tease us and when we tried to drill into the sea bottom, the drill bit broke and we had to bring it back up and replace it. On the second try to drill, the drill bit apparently hit on some hard ground, which ended up bending the drilling pipe. So, it was decided to pull up the entire drill pipe and put on the heavy-duty drill bits call RCB (rotary core barrel). The drill pipe is now being extended back down again and hopefully we will have some core in the next couple of hours.