15 February 2021: the KERFIX station

One of the stations of the SWINGS cruise bears the funny name of KERFIX (50°42 S-68°30 E). It is not a base of the indomitable Gauls, even if it was the favourite joke of our international colleagues between 1991 and 1995, duration of the time series ” KERguelen point FIX “. Indeed, this station was visited more or less every month during 5 years, to measure hydrological parameters, nutrients, plankton (phyto and zoo: so many copepods!) … they took samples with Niskin bottles deployed fixed one after the other on a cable, activated by a weight (called a messenger) sent from the edge, sliding along the cable and hitting a piston activating the closing of the bottle and freeing the next messenger for the next bottle, etc…. The operations were carried out by two volunteer technical assistants from the oceanographic research vessel “La Curieuse”, a solid and proud little boat of about thirty metres, which in the roaring forties quickly earned the nickname “Kervomit” by the bearded wintering people of Kerguelen. More seriously, the weather conditions didn’t contribute to the quality of the data acquired: most of the bottles ended broken and had to be repaired on the way back to the base with strong glue. No question of sampling for trace elements in such circumstances! A great moment of emotion was the on-site meeting with the Marion Dufresne in 1994 for an intercalibration exercise (not so bad by the way).

In spite of these hazards, more than ten articles* were published on these somewhat chaotic temporal data, but above all, Kerfix became a reference station for the OISO (Océan Indien Service d’Observation) programme.

*For the curious…. a kind of synthesis (contact Catherine Jeandel for more information):

Jeandel C., Ruiz Pino D., Gjata E., Brunet C., Charriaud E., Dehairs F., Delille D.,Fiala M., Fravalo C., Miquel J-C., Poisson A., Quéguiner P., Razouls S., Shauer B., Thomas S. and Tréguer P. KERFIX: a Time Series station in the Austral Ocean, a presentation. Journal of Marine Syst, 17, 555-570, 1998.

Sunset on board RV Marion Dufresne @Catherine Jeandel
Niskin bottles deployed fixed one after the other on a cable @ Martin Boudoux

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