It feels good to be in the swing of things. The first couple of stations went well, but slow. Even with the practice casts, deploying the sampling equipment takes a bit longer than the GEOTRACES crew would like. Most of the stations thus far have been on the continental shelf and therefore have been relatively shallow, with a maximum depth of 50 meters.
As soon as we arrive the station, there’s a flurry of activity. Regardless of the time, we roll out of bed and being sampling and analyzing. There have been nights where I’ve woken up at 1 or 3 am to begin analysis. It’s a bit different schedule than I’m used to on land, but its easier to be awake in the early morning when there are other people awake and working.
At each station a variety of sampling occurs. There’s the GEOTRACES rosette, which collects trace metal clean water. The ODF rosette (Ocean Data Factory, a Scripps program) collects water for nutrient, pigment and radionuclide analysis. The particle pumps filter water to collect floating matter of various sizes at different depths. A small boat deployment collects surface water away from the ship to prevent sample contamination from the ship. Intermittently, sediment coring and large volume water pumping for specific elements occurs at various stations.
Yesterday we officially crossed the Arctic Circle. Crossing geographic markers aboard a ship is a big deal, and there’s usually a ceremony involved with such events, however we’re not participating because of the jam packed science schedule. I’m a bit bummed we’re skipping the event, because crossing these markers is kind of like a club amongst sea goers. Hopefully we won’t skip the one when we get to the North Pole.
We have entered the Chukchi Sea, and the waves have been noticeably bigger. We’re a bit behind schedule for station 7 because of the weather. We may even be skipping the station, due to the inability to deploy some of the equipment. Many people have resumed their sea sickness medications, but I’m feeling pretty good.