In the end, we never reached the pack ice. Despite sailing all the way to 63 degrees South. So, the differnt science teams on board decided that pancakes are just as fascinating and hectic pancake research began. First, the wave team (those studying wave occurrence, height and frequency, e.g. to find rogue waves or to support predictions for platforms), dropped trackers onto a couple of pancakes. Those little devices report back home their position and altitude, which along with ship board and satellite data allows calculating the wave height at specific positions of the ice.
Afterwards, researchers from UCT Cape Town used a handheld Niskin bottle (similar to our GoFlo bottles) to collect water from the pancake covered ocean. For that purpose they hang in a crate over the icy sea and while it was snowing and lowered the water collecting bottle into the water again and again until they had collected around 35 litres. They shared this water with the trace metal, biogeochemistry and ecosystem structure teams on board.
I hope that those images give you an idea under which conditions some scientific data are gathered and why we sometimes still lack data from certain regions or seasons of the ocean.