R/V Hero 1979-80

Photos from Joe Gill

The HERO at sea in 1979-80
In happier days for this vessel, Joe Gill served on the Hero in 1979-80 as ship's cook and agreed to share these photos here.
a view of mountains in front of the ship at dawn
Another view of mountains in front of the bow...probably at the break of dawn.
moving closer to the mountains
Moving closer to the narrow ice-filled strait.
Joe Gill in the galley
Here's Joe at his station in the galley. I'm sure the photographer is trying to hold the camera level...
the HERO's mess deck
And here is the mess deck.
glaciers and mountains in the channel
A view of the mountains and glaciers.
early morning sunrise lighting up the mountains
The early morning sun puts a pink glow on the mountains to the west. I frequently saw this happen from the glacier behind Palmer Station on the icebergs as the sun started to come up.
small hills at dawn
Another early dawn (or perhaps late evening) view of the colorful skies over some low hills.
Almirante Brown winterovers
A welcoming sight...Hero was the first visit to these folks at the Argentinian station Almirante Brown at the end of their 1979 winter.
HERO against an ice floe

Hero tied up
to an ice shelf...
HERO against an ice floe
...with mountains in the background. The person in front of the bow is the oiler...unidentified at the moment.
a major ice cliff
Up close and personal with a major ice cliff.
scientists on an ice floe
A small ice floe, with scientists doing...what?
scientists studying leopard seals
Studying leopard seals, of course. The team, consisting of Donald Siniff, Sheridan Stone, Richard Reichle, and Thomas Smith, were, among other things, collecting female and male leopard seals for preservation of reproductive tracts, stomach contents, toenails, and tissue and skeletal material. Sixteen adult leopard seals (of which this is one) were collected, weighed, and sampled. They also counted seals of various species, located and studied female leopard seals with pups, and documented the seals' diurnal activity patterns, social behavior, and underwater vocal sounds. This particular cruise covered pack ice areas from King George Island south to Anvers Island...but members of this group have been studying seals in the Antarctic and elsewhere since 1973. Their cruise activities are documented in this October 1980 Antarctic Journal article.

This scientific endeavor was officially Hero cruise 79-7, between 6 and 29 November 1979. It ended after Hero departed Palmer Station and crashed into an immovable chunk of ice, punching a hole in the bow. Hero headed straight back to Ushuaia for temporary repairs, and then proceeded to drydock in Buenos Aires for a more permanent fix. Official Antarctic Journal reports indicated that a teredo infestation was the reason for the emergency drydocking. As it looked like repairs could take the rest of the season, Joe Gill left the ship at that point to return to his day job. The next Hero cruise did not begin from Ushuaia until 23 January 1980...and at the end of the season Hero headed for Long Beach, California for an extended overhaul.

Ushuaia, Argentina
Ushuaia, Argentina...end of the cruise. This place looked completely different
when I was there in November 2016.

Next...The 1980 Long Beach overhaul.