August 15, 2007
Today has been a memorable day out of all the rest, as it is mi cumpleaños (birthday!). Everyone has been incredibly sweet to not only remember, but sing me "Happy Birthday" in many different languages! It even started in my 4 am shift when my crew remembered - I think that these are all "firsts" for my birthday - first time to be on board a ship during my birthday, have songs and salutations in different languages and be up at 4 am to work on my birthday! (The earliest I was ever up before was when I worked a summer in Dallas, Texas as a breakfast hostess and had to be there at 6:00 am everyday!) This definitely topped them all - How incredible!
At about 9 am, coring started. Angelo wanted to collect a sample with the trigger core (3 m) in this area, as we could no longer use the entire corer. They collected 176 cm from it at 76°50.27'N and 18°23.26'E with a depth of 300 m. The air temperature was the coldest that it has been this morning when I started my 4 am shift at 2.7°C - Brrrrr! Fortunately, the fog lifted later and it warmed to 7°C. Toñin from the film crew also filmed Jaume storing the cores in the cooler downstairs. I took some pictures of this and was impressed with Toñin's filming/directing abilities! He has been all over the world filming for a program called El Filo del Imposible (literally "at the edge of the impossible", which highlights extreme sports in places like Antarctica, Patagonia, the Arctic, etc. I have been able to see one of the videos while I have been onboard and hope to see more of them in the future. Elena and Paco also gave me a sample of the material from the core that I will share with my classes when I return - a little piece of the Arctic from the bottom of the ocean! Very cool. These samples will be shipped on the boat back to Spain where they will end up at their lab at the University of Salamanca for them to study under microscopes in detail.
At 16:00, we started our calibration of the Multibeam systems EM120 and EM1002. This involved running the ship at a slow speed in one direction along a line and then turning and running the same line in the opposite direction. This way, they can match up the signals and reset them if needed. Because we are in shallow water conducting this, we got a glimpse of land in the distance! Very exciting! Of course, we were all snapping pictures - so now I have some pictures of land to add to my pictures of the ocean! The fog also lifted so we could snap the pictures. It has been coming and going all day today.
This evening, Caroline and Angelo, gave presentations of their past expeditions to the Arctic. Caroline is involved with a program in Canada, which is her home, studying the Arctic. Angelo was involved in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) that organized an expedition to the actual North Pole to drill the Lomonosov Ridge in the summer of 2003. This expedition was a massive ordeal that took three ships and many different countries cooperating. The ship that could drill as deeply as needed was not able to break through the ice, so they actually took an "armada" of ships. This included a Swedish, scientific, ice breaker, the Oden, a Russian nuclear icebreaker, the Sovietsky Soyuz and an offshore drilling vessel, the Vidar Viking. A former ARMADA Project teacher, Kathy Couchon, was a part of this expedition on the Oden. Kate Moran from the University of Rhode Island, that sponsors the ARMADA Project, was co-chief scientist of the expedition. The cooperation for science is incredible.
The day ended with a FANTASTIC fiesta for my birthday! They had a cake and many gifts, which were unexpected and much appreciated. From the naval crew, I received a belt that has pictures of the ship (B.I.O. Hesperides) and a coffee mug. The belt just fits and the mug will get a lot of use for my coffee in the morning when I return. From the scientists, I received an incredible collage of pictures with everyone and their names superimposed on a picture of Svalbard. They obviously took a great deal of effort to cut and paste headshots of everyone and it is SO professional looking! As I am the yearbook sponsor at school, I can appreciate the work involved! - I cannot wait to frame it and hang it in my classroom at school - this was such a great idea. They also made a copy of the picture on a cd that they made a logo on for the polar expedition and it has a picture of me in the middle of it! It is hilarious! I love it. Then Toñin and Fernando presented me with a collector's copy of Spanish postage stamps that were made in Spain for their program, El Filo del Imposible. They are beautiful. I am elated with all of the presents and will cherish this as a most memorable birthday! Thanks to all of them!