17 Jan – East Scotia Ridge expedition blog

Jez Evans in action

My job is to make things happen.

Day 3 – Monday 17 January 2011 – Crossing Drake Passage

Monday and we are out in the Drake Passage: a strong head wind slowing us slightly. Drake Passage, between Cape Horn at the tip of Chile and the Antarctica Peninsular, is a choke point for the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that travels around the continent of Antarctica.

With no land to interrupt it, the ACC is the strongest current on the globe, transporting more water than any other current. Driven by westerly winds it flows at a rate of around 140 Sverdrups as it goes through the Drake Passage. A Sverdrup is the measurement oceanographers use to measure the vast volume and speed of ocean currents: one Sverdrup is a million tonnes of water a second. We are heading eastward, with the current, which is a lot easier.

The long passage leg allows us to get all the kit set up and tested and make sure that the Remotely Operated Vehicle Isis is ready for the first dive.

Jez Evans co-ordinates the team of ten National Marine Facilities technicians and engineers who are aboard on this expedition. “My job is to make things happen and to get through in one piece without screwing up” says Jez. He is essential to the success of this expedition, which requires precision planning of equipment deployments in difficult conditions.

Jez has worked for NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council) since 1987 when he joined the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences in Surrey. He has worked all over the world mobilizing hundreds of expeditions; working with the UK and international seagoing marine science community. Jez will manage 17 cruises for NERC in 2011, overseeing the logistics and planning, and mobilizing many of them as well.

For more details on our voyage and links for Schools see www.thesearethevoyages.net/jc55.

Find out more details about research undertaken at Drake Passage.