Eltanin Cruises with Mary Alice McWhinnie

Mary Alice McWhinnie looking at a fish
A later photo of Mary Alice McWhinnie in the plaid shirt, examining a catch aboard Eltanin on
Cruise 11 (December 1963-February 1964).

Cruise logs from the Antarctic Journal:

Cruise 6

Eltanin left Valparaiso, Chile, on November 24, 1962, to begin Cruise 6. The first part of this cruise was conducted in the northern part of Drake Passage and its main portion, between 56W. and 59W. Considerable work was done in Bransfield Strait and stops were made at Deception Island. The farthest south position reached was near 6416'S-6259'W. The cruise ended at Punta Arenas on January 23, 1963.

One interesting aspect of Cruise 6 was that, for the first time, women scientists were accommodated aboard. The pioneers were two marine biologists from DePaul University, who stayed on for Cruise 7, at which time they were joined by two women colleagues from the University of Chile. Once the precedent had been established, female investigators aboard Eltanin were to become the rule rather than the exception.

The number of specimens collected is indicated by the 126 sample collections of the University of Southern California's marine biological project that were preserved for shipment to the United States. Representing 400 gallons of material, these collections included, among other organisms, 1,000 specimens of bottom fishes.

Cruise 7

Cruise 7 took place between February 4 and March 19, 1963. Twenty-six major scientific stations were occupied, including two near the Antarctic Circle in the Weddell Sea. Searches made south of the South Orkney Islands for the Barth and Tretten Banks, were unsuccessful, but an excellent sediment profile was obtained on the southern flank of the Scotia Ridge. At the end of the cruise, the ship docked at Montevideo, Uruguay, for resupply. On invitation and as part of a bilateral exchange program, a U.S.S.R. oceanographer, N. F. Kudriavtsev, participated in Cruises 7 and 8. His specific research project was a study of the conditions under which water layers of different densities form, as related to the vertical structure of the current patterns.

Below, an undated photo of the USNS Eltanin in Washington D.C. prior to a shakedown cruise and departure for Antarctica (NSF photo from the May/June 1973 Antarctic Journal).

the USNS Eltanin


The photo of Mary Alice McWhinnie at the top of the page is by George Llano courtesy John Colson. The cruise descriptions above are from the Antarctic Journal, July/August 1966. Note that the cruise descriptions do not mention the names of the woman investigators--Mary Alice McWhinnie and Phyllis Marciniak were the Americans present on both cruises, and Drs. E. Figetti and D. Frelen were the woman Chilean researchers on Cruise 7.